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
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An example of this is in
American schools where pupils sing the national anthem and pledge
their allegiance to the flag everyday by making tem feel part of the
American society.

According to functionalists, school is society in miniature, where
pupils have to get on with strangers and where they learn that status
is to be achieved not ascribed as in the family. Parsons argues that
the school acts as a bridge between the family and wider society, that
is between childhood and adulthood, where children stop being judged
by the particularistic norms of their families and are judged instead
universalistic norms of society. Parsons also believe that the role of
education is also to promoter these universalistic values such as
achievement, individualism, competition and equality of opportunity.

Davis and Moore argue that education plays a selection/ allocation
function, selecting individuals for the role that their abilities best
suit them for and slotting the most talented in to the most
functionally most important jobs in society, differentiating between
pupils. Educational mechanisms such as grades, examinations,
references and qualifications are used to sort individuals. Society is
this a meritocracy in which people are rewarded for intelligence,
ability and effort. Functional importance is decided by length and…

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