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The Definition of Education

Question:

Discuss about the Importance Of Education To The Sociological Perspective.

The age old definition of education connotes that education is a procedure which facilitates learning and gaining knowledge about a particular subject or theme. Education can be imparted either in a formal environment such as schools or in an informal environment such as story telling sessions etc. But unfortunately the whole concept and motive behind gaining education has undergone a drastic change. Earlier people used to get educated so that they are able to get a good job and lead a successful life. But the present day scenario has made the entire educational system a place of commercialisation than worship. Education is now a parameter to judge whether a person is fit to be a part of a particular society along with the fact that from where a person is gaining education. The schools, colleges all have a great role to play from the sociological perspective. Earlier education meant learning something new every day but now the same is no more present. Education today means to get an admission in school which is well known in the society as a person’s financial position is judged basis that.

In countries which are technologically advanced, the status nuance is determined basis the occupation a person does along with the level of education a person has acquired during his lifetime. Thereby there exists a close link between education and occupation and occupation being a crucial part as it helps a person earn money and live a good life. Hence it can be rightly said that education has gained an important place as a determinant of social position and social stratification (Dua, 2016). The said essay describes the importance of education from the perspective of the society along with the main determinants of the educational triumph and the main patterns found within the society that has a long lasting implication on the method education is experienced

Previously, American edification catered to both opinionated and financial requirements, which spoke about the function of education. However, in the present day, sociologists and educators argue with regards the function of education. Three main theories represent their views : the functionalist theory, the conflict theory and the symbolic interactionist theory.

The functionalist theory concentrates upon the methods, that education at all places help to cater to the requirements of the community. The people who are the followers of the said theory look at education in its obvious character i.e. imparting of fundamental knowledge and the skill set to the upcoming generation. The founder of the said theory, Durkheim, found out that the present role of education is that of socialising the individuals within the mainstream of the society. This is known as “moral education” which basically lent a hand towards the formation of a more strong and well bonded social culture which helped bringing together individuals belonging to the diverse backgrounds. The functionalists connote to the next role of education which calls for communication of basic values and control socially. They look towards performing a dual role of education wherein they preserve the culture as well as bring about various alterations. Thereby even thought eh main role of education is to impart basic knowledge and skills, at the same time it also helps people to change them. Last but not the least, the most argumentative function of education as is perceived in the latter half of the 20th century is substitution of the family. Those parents who do not agree to this part of education, often prefer to not to send their kids to school or put them in such private institutions which teaches them the values they want to inculcate within their child.

The Role of Education from a Sociological Perspective


The second theory i.e. the conflict theory, looks upon education as a medium to maintain the social inequality thereby safeguarding the authority of those who have a hold over the society. The functions of education followed by them is similar to the functionalists. The latter looks upon education as an advantageous involvement to a controlled society, whereas the former views the educational system as a status quo by forcing the lower class to become their slaves. While the functionalist are of the view that sorting with regards education is done basis the merit of a student but the conflict theory has a negative approach which thinks that schools are a way of sorting class and ethnicity. Thus as per the conflict theory, education is not a social advantage or gain, instead a strong weapon with the help of which power structures can be kept intact, thereby forming a passive labour force for entrepreneurship (Harcourt, 2016).

The last theory is restricted to only education wherein the events of the classroom are noticed. This theory talks about how the level of interaction a student has with his teacher impacts his performance academically. Thus the said theory nothing has to do directly with the community in which a person lives but has a great implication upon the society within which a kid thrives when in school. Thus more a person is interactive by nature, better he is to perform academically as well (Considine, & Zappala, 2001).

Education gained by a student is construed as successful only when the student is being able to perform academically as well as in his future life. The life of a child as a student is basically a web of interconnected actions and the experiences one gains during his or her lifetime. The finding make it clear that student centeredness wherein the students and their future are the sole thing for an educational institution and how effective and impactful is the person imparting education are the basic determinants for the success of education for any kid (Salgado, 2016). Satisfaction of student is not only with regards the curriculum being followed but it is more centred towards the kind of teachers teaching, the values being imparted and how the curriculum is being taught to them i.e. whether in a monotonous manner or in an interesting manner wherein the student participation is encouraged while imparting education to them.

The Three Main Theories of Education


The next determinant for an educational success is the fact that there should not be any distinction between the social classes of the students as it has a very long lasting as well as negative implication in the mind of those students who do not belong to a very well to do family (Akareem, & Hossain, 2016). The educational success may be hampered as a student who is bright but due to the distinction in the class and cadre in the society, fails to perform upto the capability and thereby is unable to rise above the normal. Thus the socioeconomic stature has a key role to play in determining the success of an educational system. Further to this, ethnicity background, the kind of housing development a person dwells into and the kind of educational center a student is being sent to (Saleem et.al. 2011). If the school is such which caters to the high class society but the curriculum is not good then the motive of ensuring educational success gets defeated. Thus the above key determinants are some of the most crucial ones which help to define the success in the field of education.

What Are Some Of The Key Sociological Patterns That Impact The Way Education Is Experiences?

As is understood now, there are a variety of sociological patterns that have an implication on the way education is imparted and skilled. Today, educational institutions are a form of a small community in itself. Many groups are seen such as a group of boys and girls, a group of teachers, a group of the other staff members, a group of students who belong to the high income class and also a group of people belonging to the lower income class. All these comprise of the sociological patterns which has both negative as well as positive impact on the way education is experienced.

One of the sociological pattern is that of social inequalities which crops up from the different class, gender, race and ethnicity and which has a barring impact on the educational experiences. The completion of a person’s education is related to the social class one belongs to and it is this pattern which makes a difference in the experience one gains in education. Students who fall under the category of lower socioeconomic status are in most of the cases not awarded similar opportunities as kids who belong to the richer class irrespective of their intelligence or urge to learn and gain knowledge. Thus education is experienced by students basis their socioeconomic conditions.

Determinants of Educational Success


The other very crucial sociological pattern that rules the experience students gain while associating themselves to an educational institution is that of gender inequality or having schools with coeducational facilities. Even today, males are given preferences over and above the females. However, this is one area where there has been a remarkable change and schools give equal importance to both the sex. Last but not the least is the social class discrimination while giving admissions. Students who belong to the African American, Latino or such lower income class are given less preference basis their race.

Conclusion

Thereby, on a summarising note, it is very evident that education does not pertain to its actual meaning anymore. The social complexes have crept into the same and conquered the basic essence behind gaining education. Earlier there used to be no racial or social distinguish done but today societal perspectives have become so crucial, that the social status has a role to play right from the admissions till the completion of the education. It not only creates a bigger gap between the various classes of the society but at the same time discourages an intelligent student from rising up due to the social disadvantage it faces. Although there has been efforts to ensure that such a discrimination is eradicated, yet the schools also have become prone to distinguishing between students and families due to the indirect societal pressures. Lastly, the three contrasting theories very rightly explains the importance of education from the socio-logical viewpoint. The functionalist and conflicting theories are somewhat similar but the former has a positive outlook in comparison to the latter. The last theory details about education in its true sense which does not discriminate with the class a student belongs to and adheres to communicating and interacting with the student. It clearly states that more the interaction a student has with its teachers, the better he or she would perform academically.

References:

Akareem,H.S., & Hossain, S.S., (2016), Determinants of education quality: what makes students’ perception different? Available at https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/23265507.2016.1155167 (Accessed 06th October 2017)

Considine,G., & Zappala,G., (2001), Factors Influencing the Educational performance of Students from Disadvantaged Backgrounds, Available at https://www.sprc.unsw.edu.au/media/SPRCFile/NSPC01_7_Considine_Zappala.pdf (Accessed 06th October 2017)

Dua,P., (2016), Essay on Education as a Social Stratification, Available at https://www.shareyouressays.com/87757/essay-on-education-as-a-social-stratification (Accessed 06th October 2017)

Harcourt,H.M., (2016), Theories of Education, Available at https://www.cliffsnotes.com/study-guides/sociology/education/theories-of-education (Accessed 06th October 2017)

Salgado,J., (2016), The Social Determinants of Education, Available at https://www.adler.edu/blog/the-social-determinants-of-education (Accessed 06th October 2017)

Saleem,F., Naseem,Z., Ibrahim, K., Hussain, A., & Azeem,M., (2011), Determinants of School Effectiveness : A study at Punjab Level, International Journal of Humanities and Social Science, vol. 2, no.14, pp. 242-251, Available at https://www.ijhssnet.com/journals/Vol_2_No_14_Special_Issue_July_2012/28.pdf (Accessed 06th October 2017

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