Role and function of education in society

  • Created by: birds
  • Created on: 27-09-15 19:06


Functionalist writers argue that education has a positive force in todays society, and that it benefits both individuals and society. They state this because they believe that all social structures in society must make a positive contribution to the other parts of the social system. They believe that invidividuals are relatively powerless against the pressures that society places on them.

Durkhiem argued that education had a key role to play, which developed from traditional society, whereby instituitions such as religion and family were responsible for trasnmitting norms and values to maintain social order, however people began to become geographically mobile, thus such instituitions no longer place pressures on invidividuals. Therefore it's the role of education to pass on shared norms and value, which is known as cultural homogeniety. Its vital that society has shared norms and values, otherwise social breakdown would occur. Dukhiem therefore saw education as an important instituition that delivered secondary socialisation. In essence, the function of education is to create social harmony.

Durkhiem believed that the most important subject taught in schools is History as it gives individuals a sense of shared interests and belongingness. It gives them a common identity and makes them feel part of a community, this as a result creates social solidarity.

Durkhiem also believes that schools act as social microcosm. The education system reflects wider society, as in education we are taught vital skills such as communication and socialised into certain norms and values that are used and accepted by wider society.

Another role of education, for Durkhiem is the creation of skilled workforce. In the pre-industrial society, the economy did not require skillfull workers, thus no…


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