In Jane Eyre, education provides the only route for someone who isn’t independently wealthy to improve their character and prospects – it allows social mobility. The "education" we’re talking about in this novel, however, is mostly aesthetic; characters learn basic music performance, basic artistic skills, and a little bit of foreign language. It’s enough to make them seem cultured, but not to make them actually useful for anything except teaching music, art, and foreign language. Education is also a safe haven, something that provides emotional satisfaction in a protected space separate from the hardships of the world.
In Jane’s childhood, education takes the place of every single one of her emotional and physical needs – food, shelter, family, and friendship.
Because Jane initially learns to understand the world in terms of a teacher-student relationship, all her friendships have some master-pupil tinge to them.