Examine sociological explanations of the relationship between education and the economy

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Examine sociological explanations of the relationship between education and the economy

There seems to be a direct link to what goes on in schools and what takes place at work.

The functionalist approach to education and economy is that through socialisation education helps maintain society by introducing young people into values and beliefs such as achievement. They argue that education teaches what is needed within the world of work like numeracy and literacy skills or specific skills for particular jobs. The education system allocates people to the most appropriate jobs, which suits their abilities using examination results. Through the eyes of the functionalists this is seen to be fair because there is an equal opportunity for everyone, everyone has the chance to succeed in society on the basis of their ability. If they work hard and try hard at school then they will succeed and climb the social ladder obtaining a higher social status. They see education as turning pupils into model citizens that the most able pupils will succeed and obtain the most important jobs.

Durkheim stated that education performs the function of making individuals feel they are members of a social group. This can be done through lessons such as history. He believes that school teaches pupils how to co-operate and work with others. The subjects that are taught in schools are related to skills that are required for work. The education system sifts and sorts the people according to their ability and that those who want to achieve can do so despite social class or background.

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Parsons thinks that the school is the first place where they are taught universal values and rules. School helps introduce a consensus; this is where everyone agrees on the same basic values.  Schools challenge pupil’s abilities and their talents so that they can be issued into specific jobs.

Davis and Moore explained that some people have greater talents than others and to ensure that society functions efficiently the most able individuals are allocated the most efficient jobs. The education system is responsible for this, targeting the people who are most able then training them for important jobs.


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