The role of education in society is perceived in a variety of different ways
The role of education in society is perceived in a variety of different ways. This is because different sociologists hold different and conflicting views. Functionalists believe that society is based on a shared culture consisting of similar values and norms; therefore as Item A says ‘Schools play a vital role by socialising young people into these basic values.’ Whereas, Marxists who believe that education simply ‘transports values that benefit the ruling class not society as a whole. Therefore it is difficult to see what the main function of education really is.
As functionalists would argue the main function of education is to maintain a value consensus in society. Durkheim recognised that education performs the function of creating social solidarity; this is where individual members in society feel that they are part of a community. The education system has an ethnocentric curriculum which is an attitude or policy that gives priority to the culture and viewpoint of one particular ethnic group while disregarding others.
This prepares us for wider society as we are held together by a shared culture by having the same values. However, even though the ethnocentric curriculum brings social solidarity, it ignores multiculturalism which can result in ethnic minorities becoming disadvantaged and therefore underachieving. This could mean that individuals in society are not simply agreeing to the same values but are forced to commit to help maintain society.