Why do we educate children?


Topic 1: Why do we educate children?

Why do we educate children?

Education is the process by which all collected knowledge of a culture is passed on to people, usually children. In the UK, all children between the age of 5 and 18, must receive an education, whether that be at home or in a school.

Informal education- all societies educate children; in the past, this would have been done by parents in the home, or through normal daily activity.  

Formal education- modern societies have highly developed education systems with professional educators working in complex institutions and often preparing pupils for public examinations. 

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Topic 1: Why do we educate children?

There are several historical and social reasons why we have an education system and why governments fund schools and colleges: 

Child labour- if children are in school then they are protected from exploitation by employers of child labour.

Vocationalism- children can be trained for work and the needs of employers.

Public health- children from poorer families can be offered basic nutrition and encouraged to maintain a healthy lifestyle. 

Economic trade- British manufacturing and business requires a trained workforce if it is to maintain its position in the world of trade. 

Training in cultural values- the requirement of schools to promote the well-being and culture of children is explicit in most educational legislation. 

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Topic 1: Why do we educate children?

Functionalism- isn’t critical of the education system. It sees education as a tool by which society sorts out children so that the most able will take on the best jobs. It sees education as meritocratic in that it provides a ladder of opportunity for the best students to achieve well.

Marxism- views education as a source of social inequality and a tool of an unequal social system. The inequality in educational opportunity socialises people into accepting that some people have more access to power and wealth than others.

Feminsim- views the education system as oppressing women and suggest that it exists to socialise children into traditional gender patterns which perpetuate gender inequality.

Interactionism-  looks at the relationship between teachers and pupils. Interested in how teachers label pupils as being successful and the impact that this labelling has on the self- identity and self- esteem of pupils.

Post- modernists- focus on what happens within schools. See teachers and pupils as ‘constructors’ of knowledge. This means that in schools’ realities are constructed for pupils and this is how values are passed on.

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Topic 1: Why do we educate children?

How may education systems vary from British education?

The education system in Finland is viewed as being the best in the world. The cores, in reading, maths and sciences, are often the highest beating schools in the UK and USA.

The underlying principle of the Finnish education system is that all citizens should have access to high quality education. Education is free; all children have the right to educational support if required and the same opportunities should be available regardless of wealth, ethnicity or age.

Financial support is offered to all pupils if they require it and many children have access to free meals and transport to school. Children attend schools that are closest to their home.

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