There based on consensus, agreement about the goals and

There are many different
perspectives which look at education such as: Functionalists, Marxist,
interactionist or feminist. All of them revolve around the question of
differential achievement. According to functionalists the aim of education is
to maintain social stability, to keep society together and resolve conflicts.
Functionalists believed that is based on consensus, agreement about the goals
and values of the social structure (Barnard et al, 2004, p.144,145). One of
famous functionalist was Durkheim. He saw society as built up and working like
a human body, made up of interrelated parts, which works together and education
as important role in the socialisation of children. He also argued that school
enable children to internalize the social rules (especially moral guidelines
and respect to authority). Durkheim argued that education serves the needs of
an industrial society and prepares to specialized occupations (division of
labour) (Giddens, 2009).  In this view
social institution like family, work and education are connected and function
in relation to each other for the benefit of society (Browne, 2002,p.12). The
functionalists argued that educational system is meritocratic, and success or
failure depends on individual achievements. Meritocracy is idea that the system
with duties and responsibilities is based on equality of opportunity (is fair).
They also saw a society as meritocratic; if you work hard you will be rewarded
on that basis. Therefore education justifies and explains social inequalities,
because roles are allocated according to meritocratic criteria (qualifications). According to Parsons school is like
‘microsystem’ of society and provide a bridge between family and work.  He argued that central function of education
is to teach a value of individual achievement. In family child’s status is
fixed, but at school is largely achieved. (Giddens, p.834). He considered
education as another subsystem within a social system and as an agency of
socialisation which prepares to the adult roles –jobs. (Barnard et al,
2004,p.145,146). 

Slightly different approach
to functionalist represented by Durkheim and Parson had Marx. According to him
education serves the needs of capitalistic society divided into social classes.
Therefore education contributes to inequalities between generations and does
not provide social mobility for most people. Marxist saw education as a tool in
hands of capitalism, where ruling class norms and values lead to obedient
workforce. Both functionalists and Marxist approaches emphasis to much on role
of education in forming student’s identity discrediting role of socialisation
(family, mass media, work). Also both perspectives seem to exaggerate link
between education and the economy (Browne, 2002).

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With all respect for teachers and parents of children
undergone education in Britain (and students themselves) and constant efforts
to make system meritocratic it is still long way to achieve it. Educational inequalities
involve gender, ethnicity and social class too. Good examples are British
public schools, which play exclusive and important role within British society
for generations. From prestigious Eton, Rugby or Charterhouse and less known,
which provide the best teachers for their privilege students. A 30.000 £ fee a
year can guarantee that your offspring will get top job position in a country
as: judge (84 per cent), bank director (70 per cent) or top civil servant
(based on Reid et al 1999). If private education (including public colleges and
universities fees) only accessible to the financial elites (and role it plays
in British society) will remain untouched- educational system will stay far
from being meritocratic.

 

 

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