Education Topic One - What is education?


What is Education?

  • Education is the process by which collected knowledge of a culture is passed onto people, usually children.

  • In the Uk all children between the ages of 5 - 16 (18 for those born after September 1997) must receive an education.

  • However, these children do not necessarily have to go to school, they can be educated at home.

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 who work in institutions and often prepare children for public examinations.

  • There is a significant debate about the purpose of education and what essential knowledge should be passed on

  • These debates are influenced by the beliefs of the people who are in power and their beliefs about what children should know.  

Reasons for the development of education systems

  • 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 for 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 as a world leader in trade.

  • Military capacity - Historically, Britain was a military nation engaged in frequent wars. It required soldiers with a basic education and a good standard of health.

  • Training in cultural values - The requirement of schools to promote the well-being and culture of children is explicit in most education legislations.

  • Religious reasons -  It was thought that if children could be taught to read the Bible, it would improve their moral behaviour.

Theoretical debates - structal

  • Structural theory viewpoints look at education in terms of the role it plays in society rather than the mechanics of how it takes place

  • Functionalism:

  • Not critical of the education system

  • Sees


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