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The role of education and the part it plays or should play in our society.

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Introduction

Meritocracy is a universalistic viewpoint favoured by many and is widely seen as the ideal way in which society should be founded on. In addition, as the education system is arguably the most important and influential institution in society it is then fair to assume that the education system is solely built to 'produce a meritocracy where individual promise is acknowledged and developed through academic achievement'. This belief will be examined and evaluated from the introduction of state education to present day. State education has been changed & reformed many times since its introduction in 1880 when the government assumed full responsibility over the provision of education. The belief & one of the foundations it was built on (Meritocracy) has remained the same through its many significant transitions. The were a number of reasons the government set up free compulsory education; to create a more skilled workforce, reduce street crime , to re-socialise the aimless, to ward off the threat of a revolution, to provide a 'human right' and so on... ...read more.

Middle

Talcot Parsons an American sociologist outlined what has become the accepted functionalist view of education. He argued firmly that 'within the family, the child is judged & treated largely in terms of particularistic standards and values'. Whereas in the wider society we are treated in terms of universalistic principles which are applied to all members regardless. Further on he stated the child's status is ascribed in the family though in advanced industrial society, status is largely achieved. Parsons felt that the school represents society in miniature and for that reason education helps develop & prepare young people for the huge transition into adult life, moving away from particularistic values and into universalistic as modern society is increasingly based on achievement rather than ascription. He sees the education system as an imperative apparatus in the allocating of individuals for their future role in society. The school is therefore seen as a major mechanism for role allocation. ...read more.

Conclusion

As we have seen there are many hypothesis and suggestions to the role of education and the part it plays or should play in our society. As a result of this, the education system has endured many modifications to 'improve' in equality and meritocracy (if that really is its sole intention). Important and outstanding questions must be answered to, such as why particular class based patterns within educational achievement seem to continue even though the many major changes & why meritocracy has not come any closer to being a reality despite this. All the theories seem to have their pros and cons but my evaluation is that surely an institution as enormous as this has more functions and perhaps there is no single outstanding role of education and really, there are several, essential roles that it plays and until progressive steps & changes are made the cycle will continue. ?? ?? ?? ?? Evaluate the claim that the role of education is to produce a Meritocracy within which individual potential is recognised developed. 1 Adam Banda ...read more.

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