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The Role of Education in Society

In: Social Issues

Submitted By Coolemil
Words 493
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Marxist considers education as an important part of the superstructure of society; along with the other institution i.e. Family, Media, Religion etc. It serves the needs of the economic base, which contains everything to do with the production of society. Marxists believe that education performs two main functions in a capitalist society: Reproduces the inequalities and social relations of production of capitalist society, It serves to legitimate there inequalities through meritocracy.
Althusser (neo-marxist) believes that the main function of education is the transmission of common values. He argues that education is an ideological state apparatus (ISA). And that its main function is to maintain, legitimize and reproduce, generation to generation of class inequality, along with the fact that education reproduces the conditions for capitalisms to flourish without having to use force. Althusser believes this is done through the hidden curriculum: ensuring that working class children are encouraged to perform working class, capitalists, jobs.
Bowles and Gintis argue that education serves to reproduce directly the capitalist relations of production, the hierarchy of workers from the boss down,. Bowles and Gintis’s correspondence theory suggests that what goes on in school corresponds directly to the world of work. The higher up the system the individual progresses, the more personal freedom they have to control their own educational or working experiences, and more responsibility they have for their outcomes.
Numerous studies show that many pupils have little regard for the rules of the school and little respect for the teacher. Paul Willis (Learning to Labour) showed that working class ‘lads’ learned to behave at school in ways quite at odds with capitalism wanted. He suggested that schools reproduce the relations of production by demonstrating that the boys in the anti school subculture he observed, shared a similar outlook to the factory workers. Paul Willis’s study also links to item B, and it suggests that by the ‘lads’ is used for the development and shaping of a particular cultural skills devoted to ‘having a laff’, in this context it is used to defeat boredom and fear, to overcome hardship and problems. The idea of ‘having a laff’ links them into the future working lives, as it prepares them for manual jobs, which is what the ‘lads’ aim for.
Whereas, item A suggests that schools should encourage competition, discipline, decency etc, through hard work and higher standards. Tom Howarth, also suggested that the classroom is a place where results are expected; where the teacher gets it across that the second best is not good enough. This links to the functionalist view that the education system benefits both the individual and the society.
However, functionalist theories argue that education selects and allocated the most talented people to the most functionally important roles according to meritocratic criteria like ability, talents and skills as shown by educational qualifications and achievements. Achievement reflects intelligence, and middle class young people are more intelligent and harder working than working class young people.

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