Essay on Assessing the Role of Education From the Functionalist Perspective

Essay on Assessing the Role of Education From the Functionalist Perspective

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Assessing the Role of Education From the Functionalist Perspective


Functionalists believe that education performs very important roles
for individuals, the economy and the wider social structure. It
provides secondary socialisation, passing on shared culture enables
individuals to develop their potential and regulates their behaviour.
Functionalists argue that education has three broad; socialisation
where education helps to maintain society by socialising young people
in to key cultural values, such as achievement, individualism,
equality of opportunity, social solidarity and democracy.

The second one is skills provision in which education teaches the
skills required by a modern industrial society. These may be general
skills that everyone needs such as literacy and numeracy or the
specific skills needed for particular occupations. And the final
function is role allocation, where education allocates people to the
most appropriate jobs for their talents using examination and
qualifications. This is seen to be fair because there is equality of
opportunity, everyone has the chance to achieve success in society on
the basis of their ability.

Emile Durkheim claims that schools perform two central functions,
relating to social cohesion and the division of labour

In order to exist, societal members must share common beliefs and
values, these are only partially taught by the family, he emphasized
the moral force of education, the way in which the school continues
this process and the way in which children internalise the values and
belief of society to became ‘social beings’. According to him the main
functions of educa...


... middle of paper ...


...ng things not relevant for work. Others argue that education
really only has a baby-sitting or control function. It’s a way of
controlling young people and of allowing parents to go out and work.

Functionalists are useful in drawing attention to the many functions
education can perform but they are probably wrong to see them as
well-being for the goods of individuals and society as a whole. For
example it may be only the ruling class who benefit from education
producing a docile workforce. From another perspective,
interactionists would argue that they have an over socialised view of
individuals and that we cant see education in terms of ‘functions’
anyway we should look instead at how individuals interact with schools
rather than seeing education as a thing which shape the individuals in
societies interests.

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