• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

The role of education in today's society.

Extracts from this document...


Rose Szarowicz 3rd Jan 2004 The role of education in today's society The role of education can be seen to provide pupils with the curriculum and hidden curriculum; teaching skills that will prepare them physically, mentally and socially for the world of work in later life. There are two main views on the role of education; the Marxist and Functionalists who take different approaches to this area. Interactionists have a view on this topic, but not an extremely controversial one, with large grounds for debate. As an overview, Marxists see education as an unequal and corrupt system which recreates class inequality, whereas Functionalists take more positive views, arguing it prepares children for the world of work and helps them to develop their personal talents, discover who they are, and where they would best fit into societies workforce. Functionalists see three main functions of education; role allocation, providing skills, and socialisation. There have been two influential functionalist sociologists who have created and developed the functionalists view and its ideologies; Emile Durkheim and Talcott Parsons. Durkheim, writing in the 1900's, saw social solidarity as vital for the well-being of society. ...read more.


With Labour governments push on improving education, many new courses and opportunities for young people have been made available, making the above statement evermore true. For example letting more and more people appeal back into sixth form with lower grades, introducing vocational qualifications at GCSE and A level, and creating a wider variety of courses available at college, making it easier for more people to achieve social mobility and move to a higher class. According to Durkheim, this creates jobs for a more specialised workforce. Although Marxists would argue this point by bringing up figures to prove certain groups underachieve such as ethnic minorities and the working class. This would show that the education system, does not have equal opportunity, that talents are not properly assessed, and that role allocation is not successful. Parsons developed the idea that schools provide a secondary socialisation, enforcing shared values, and as Durkheim points out, develops the similarities to bind people, creating social solidarity. Here the hidden curriculum takes place, where children learn to interact with other people, to learn to respect authority, to work hard, and to make friends. Developing social skills is as vital as being educated in later life, as employers will want people who can communicate well to customers, and work well as a member of a team. ...read more.


These characteristics are rewarded in school because they are required in the workplace. If social equality were to be questioned, it would threaten social stability. This is then avoided by promoting the injustice as product of the high qualifications the agents of exploitation received through the education system, which makes it legitimate. Bowles and Gintis reject the functionalist view of role allocation. They argue that students who receive high qualifications do so because of hard work and a conformist attitude. Those who reject the ruling class ideology, and the prospect of authority, don't do so well and find it difficult to go far in the world of work. The two views of Functionalists and Marxists represent to extreme views of conflicting opposites, Functionalists creating a very positive light, claiming that all is well with the education system and society, where as Marxists have the negative view that it is all unequal and corrupt. What these views both fail to recognise is the Interactionists approach and that we do live in a meritocracy, and if you work hard you can achieve, as they focus so hard on macro issues, they don't see people as individuals with individual choices, and so cannot claim to have a 'blanket explanation' for the worlds problems. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Work & Leisure section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Work & Leisure essays

  1. Compare and contrast the Marxist and Functionalist views on the role of education in ...

    They believe that class background is the most important factor influencing levels of attainment. They also believe that the children with the wealthy families will do much better and will get better qualifications than those children whose families aren't that well off.

  2. 'The function of education is to reproduce and legitimate social inequality. Discuss.'

    The first being that the education system develops human resources for an industrial nation. In pre-industrialised society there was no need for education as jobs were simple and often manual. Education provides the basic skills for the future labour force.

  1. 'Education is a tool of the ruling class'- Discuss.

    The way in which schools are organised was also looked at; everyday rules and routines were concluded as a way in which to transmit different messages to middle and working class kids. Streaming and exams were said to be there to convince working class kids that their knowledge and experiences

  2. Using material from Item A and elsewhere assess the contribution of functionalist sociology to ...

    They felt superior to teachers and to conforming pupils and had no interest in gaining qualifications. The lads counter-culture was racist and sexiest and they valued masculinity. This made them suitable to semi-skilled or manual work they wanted to do.

  1. According to Marxist, the main aim of the education system is to provide capitalist ...

    As a result of this girls tend to opt for subjects (despite their inclination) that do not challenge their feminine self concept. In most cases girls do not have the confidence to attempt to break stereotypical borders, by taking on non traditional subjects.

  2. Education is a means of brainwashing a society and reinforcing prejudice. Do you agree?

    With doing that she on one hand improves her social conditions as well as her chances for the future, but also makes herself dependent on the good will of Prof.

  1. A comparison of the Marxists and Functionalists Approaches to Education

    They think that "having your head screwed on" and "knowing a bit about the world" is more important than qualifications. Willis helped overcome the simplification of the role of the education system in society. But some people say his sample is too inadequate for the generalising the role of school in our society.

  2. Examination of the Functionalist view that schools serve the interests of both society and ...

    They argue that it is necessary to instil this subservience in order to create a docile workforce, which ensures false consciousness and avoids revolution. Secondly they argue that the education system produces the acceptance of hierarchy, there is a clear hierarchy in schools, i.e.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work