Major Functions of Education:Functionalist Perspective
Education acts as an agent of secondary socialisation. Durkheim noted the importance of education in preventing anomie (in societies or individuals, a condition of instability resulting from a breakdown of standards and values or from a lack or purpose or ideals). It transmits the norms and values of society and without these similarities and social solidarity (society working as one co-operative unit), social life would be impossible. Education renforces the norms and values we learn within the family through primary socialisation.
It teaches children to interact outside their families. In other words, develop instrumental relationships (relationships that involve co-operation and commitment and have to be earnt) instead of affective relationships which are what families are based upon.
Parsons argues that education instils values of competition, equality and individualisation which are crucial to the functions of society. According to him, education teaches children to value achieved status instead of ascribed status given to them by the family.
Education helps the economy. Durkheim argues that education teaches individual skills which are necessary for future careers. Parsons argues that school acts as a bridge between the family and the world of work. School acts as a miniature society based on meritocratic principles (what you put in, you get out). School is a major mechanism for role allocation (Davis and Moore).
School acts as a form of social control.