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Education and Value Consensus in Society

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“The main function of education is to maintain a value consensus in society”

According to Item “A” functionalists believe that a Value Consensus is essential for the well-being of society. A Value Consensus is an agreement among society’s members about what social values (such as getting qualifications, learning job skills, etc.) are important. Item “A” also stats that functionalists believe that school is vital because it socialises (this is known as secondary socialisation, this is where children are taught social norms and values such as respect and obeying orders through school) young people. Functionalists also believe that schools operate on a meritocratic principle and they see education as “sifting and sorting” young students (this is another term for Role Allocation which is where students are matched to work roles that suit their abilities). On the other hand according to Item “A” Marxists believe that education doesn’t transmit values about society as a whole but values that benefit the ruling class (those who own the means of production are called the ruling class or the Bourgeoisie these are a minority in society).

Functionalist Durkheim identified the two main functions of education were, creating social solidarity and teaching specialist skills. Durkheim argues that society needs a sense of solidarity, without social solidarity, social life and cooperation would be impossible because each individual would pursue their own selfish desires; the role of education is to produce social solidarity. School also acts as a ‘society in miniature’, preparing us for life in wider society, school serves a function that cannot be provided the family or peer groups and that individuals must learn to cooperate with those who are neither family nor friends, he says the school is a place where these skills can be learned. Modern industrial economies have a...

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