The role of the Education System

The role of the Education System


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Functionalist Perspective

Functionalists say education has three functions that help society: teaches skills needed in work and by the economy,sifts and sorts people for appropriate jobs and plays a part in secondary education,passing on core values.

Durkheim said that education passes on norms and values in order to integrate individuals into society.Education helps to create a social order based on cohesion and value consensus.

Parsons describes school as a bridge between the family and adult roles of society.schools pass on a universal value of achievement.Education selects children into appropriate roles because it's meritocratic.

Davis and Moore say that every society sorts its members into different positions.They think that there are rules for how education does this: "principle of stratification".They believe that there has to be a system of unequal rewards to motivate people to train for the top positions.

The functionalist perspective says that education id meritocratic.A meritocracy is when social rewards are allocated by talent and effort rather than because of a position someone was born into.

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Marxist perspective

Marxism says education legitimizes inequality through ideology

Education: prepares children for the world of work by giving them skills and values they'll need,justifies inequality and passes on ruling class ideology that supports capitalism.

Neo-Marxist Althusser sees education as part of the "ideological state apparatus".It's a tool of capitalism which is used to pass on the belief that society if fair.Education produces a docile and obedient workforce

Bowles and Gintis say there is a close link between school and work.They say there is a close link between pupil experiences of school and adult work:pupils are taught to accept hierarchy at also has a hierarchy .Pupils are motivated by good grades to do boring work .Workers are rewarded with pay to do boring work.

Bowles and Gintis say that the hidden curriculum,things like being on time for lessons,and doing your homework prepares people for work.They also say that meritocracy is a myth which is used to blame individuals for not succeeding.

Willis(1977) says that education doesn't turn out an obedient workforce.some kids form an anti-school subculture and cope with school and then adult work by mucking about .

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Criticisms of the Functionalist and Marxist view

Evidence of differential achievement in terms of class,gender and ethnicity suggests that education is not meritocratic 

"who you know" is still more important that "what you know" in some parts of the country,so the allocation system is not working properly.

it can be argued that the education system doesn't adequately prepare people for work

Functionalism doesn't look at how education may serve the interest of particular groups in terms of ideology and doesn't explain conflict.

Marxism assumes people are passive victims.It exaggerates how much working class students are socialized into obedience .

Most people are aware of the inequality in education and don't believe that society is fair.

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Similarities between Functionlist and Marxist view

Both Marxists and functionalist look at institutions and the whole structure of society.Thy tend to ignore social interactions .

Both say that education has a huge impact on the individual and that there's a close link with the economy and work.

Marxist say education helps to maintain inequality and make people accept inequality.

Functionalist say education    passes on the value of meritocracy and lets people better themselves. 

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A great summary of the functionalist and Marxist perspective on the role of education in society.This resources is great in order to identify the basic points which can be further developed by identifying the criticisms.

sabah khaliq



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