What Is The Role Of Education From A Marxist Point Of View?

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Introduction

What Is The Role Of Education From A Marxist Point Of View? Marxism bases its view of education much around the notion that an individual is shaped by the education system through ideology. Ideology is the 'body of ideas and beliefs of a group or nation' and is the most subtle and effective way of control. For the control of people's thoughts implicitly affects their actions and behaviour. It is a common belief that intelligence determines the success of a person but Marxism would challenge this in saying that it is purely an ideological belief. Samuel Bowles and Herbert Gintis have written 'Schooling in Capitalist America' (1976), possibly, the most well known Marxist account of the education system, they provide evidence in stating that intelligence is merely a product of success rather than a cause. If success were due to intelligence then it would be expected that people with similar I.Q.

Middle

Karl Marx makes the following observations on the workplace: 'Masses of labourers, crowded into the factory, are organised like soldiers. As privates of the industrial army they are placed under the command of a perfect hierarchy officers and sergeants' (Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx) In schools pupils are punished or rewarded according to their behaviour, this encourages them to conform to the hierarchy. Schools reward and promote punctuality and discourage certain independent reasoning, for example, a pupil will think how they can improve their performance on a certain task but they will not question the merits of the task. This is because it is required in the workplace by many employers. These employers do not want the worker to question authority or to be unpunctual or even how to improve and organise the unfair economic system. Schools are also much alike jobs in the respect that they offer little intrinsic satisfaction to the individual.

Conclusion

In addition to this, inequality is transmitted as inevitable and acceptable social act. The education system claims that it is a meritocratic one but this is purely ideology, as the social class of the parents determines educational qualifications. I have observed some flaws and criticisms in the Marxist view such as the portrayal of people as mere 'creatures' of the education system and the idea that school is so necessarily closely related to work but capitalism survived for a long period of time before compulsory education. Also, teachers are viewed as 'agents' of ideology but many teachers do so because they wish to express their ideas freely. In conclusion I believe that the Marxist view on education is a very critical but valid one. I would like to acknowledge the use of the following resources: * http://www.msherrard.freeserve.co.uk * Sociology in Focus by Paul Taylor et al * 'Schooling in capitalist America' by Samuel Bowles and Herbert Gintis (1976) * 'Communist manifesto' by Karl Marx * * * * By Lee O'Brien

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