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Examine the Marxist view that the role of the education system is to reproduce and justify the existing class structure.

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Examine the Marxist view that the role of the education system is to reproduce and justify the existing class structure. In this essay I am going to examine the Marxist view that the role of the education system is to reproduce and justify the existing class structure. Marxists see the educational system as a mechanism for maintaining class inequalities, for example the reproduction of the capitalist system. The capitalist system is one where by the rich (the bourgeoisie) stay rich and the poor (the proletariat) stay poor. Marxists do not believe in meritocracy, this is where the educational system gives equal opportunities to everyone despite their background. They believe that education is designed to help and benefit the bourgeoisie. They believe that schools and teachers reject working class pupils and so the working class pupils will not perform to their highest capabilities. Bowles and Gintis were two Marxists who did not agree with meritocracy. They believed that your social class determined how you would end up in life, for example if you were middle class the teachers would spend more time with you, thus encouraging you to stay on in further education and receive better qualifications and a better job. ...read more.


In this case it was the pupils obeying the teachers and the teachers giving authority. This ensures authority and control throughout the school. It also prepares students for their later roles in the work place. They believe that children are only motivated by external rewards, for example at school you receive qualifications and at work you receive wages. Pupils gain little enjoyment from studying the actual subjects but learn to put up with it so they can gain the external rewards. This prepares them for work because work in a capitalist society is boring so workers are motivated by an external reward: their wages. Also, schools are structured so that fragmentation of subjects is the norm as pupils move from one subject to another through the day. This also prepares students for work as it is usually structured the same way, as individuals have specific tasks and are denied knowledge of how the overall productive process works. This ensures that the workforce are easier to control. ...read more.


The lads more importantly, attached little or no value to the academic work of the school and had no interest in gaining qualifications. This led to them ending up in working class jobs. Willis argues his students were not like those of Bowles and Gintis as it was evident they were not docile and obedient. Instead, they openly rejected the belief that hard work and striving for individual success can bring worthwhile rewards. Willis also points out however that this rejection of the school values is actually the pupils downfall as it was ultimately reproductive ie. They ended up in manual jobs as a result of having no qualifications. The lads rejection of school makes them the victims of a system where their labour will be exploited in the workplace. Criticisms of the Marxist view are that they are too deterministic. They also ignore the influence of the formal curriculum, and the Marxists place too much blame on the teachers. Also functionalists argue that education performs certain essential functions that no other institute could. They also believe in meritocracy, that the brightest people will get the best jobs and the people who were not so bright ended up in working class jobs. ...read more.

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