Explain Functionalist Views on the Role of Education in Society

Explain functionalist views on the role of education in society (15)

In this essay I will be discussing functionalist views on the role of education in society. I will be talking about Emile Durkheim, Parsons and Davis and Moore. Functionalists focus on the positive functions performed by the education system. There are four positive functions that education performs, creating social solidarity, teaching skills necessary for work, teaching us core values and Role Allocation and meritocracy.
Emile Durkheim claims that schools perform two central functions, relating to social cohesion and the division of labour. Durkheim saw the main function of education as transmitting society’s norms and values. It’s very important for all societies to create social solidarity which involves an individual’s commitment to society, a sense of belonging and a feeling of that a social unit is more important than the individual. Education, according to Durkheim, provides this link between the individual and society. Durkheim also argues that in complicated industrial societies, the school serves a function, which cannot be provided by family or friends. This taught in school, where the pupils must interact with other pupils in terms of a fixed set of rules. By teaching this it will prepare pupils for interacting with other members of society in terms of the society’s rules. Durkheim also believes that existing school rules should be strictly enforced as it teaches pupils not to act out against the interests of the social group as a whole.
Another functionalist, Talcott Parsons, argued that education acts as the ‘focal socialising agency’ in modern society. School has a big role in the process of secondary socialisation, taking over from primary socialisation. He argued this was necessary because the family and the wider society work in different principles and children need to adapt if they are to cope in the wider world. In the family, children are judged according to what...