A society can be described as a system of social relationships of people sharing the same geographical or social territory and having a sense of belonging to the same kind of group. There is a strong relationship between schools and the society. In fact, an education institution is one of the five major complexes identified in every society, along with family, religious, economic and political institutions. Education forms a sub-system of the society that helps the community achieve its overall functional goal, (Wiles, 2008). This essay will explore the role of the school systems in the society.
As a sub-system of the society, education has a major function of transmitting the norms and cultural values of the society, (Apple, 2013). Usually, society is kept intact by the homogeneity that exists among its members. The school system reinforces this homogeneity by instilling into the children these universal values from the beginning of their school curriculum and throughout their stay in school. Children can, therefore, practice these values, and they understand and appreciate their importance in the larger society. These values and norms form the basis for the social solidarity which is the vital task of every community.
Schools and the education system provide a link between the individual and the society. When the history of the people is taught in classes, children can trace the commonality in their origin and culture. The child will come to the realization that he is part of something larger than himself. Through this understanding, the child will develop a sense of belonging and commitment to the social group. Additionally, parents and other members of the society maintain an educative function throughout the early and formative years of a child, outside the school setting. This shows that education and society are integrated.
A school is a form of a miniature society where interactions are fostered. Society requires that members learn to cooperate with each other regardless of whether they share kinship or friendship ties. It is in schools that these skills are instilled in children from an early age. A child in school has to interact with other kids who are neither their kin nor their friends under a fixed set of rules. These skills they carry with them as they grow up and widen their interactions with other members of the society and outside.
Schools also prepare children for their adult roles in the society. The skills taught in schools, the societal values, the tests and evaluations conducted on these children serves to equip them for future allocation of roles in the society. In schools and the society, status is achieved by merit, (Wiles, 2008). This can be seen as a mechanism for social stratification whereby the most talented and able members of the society are allocated positions that perform the most important functions in the society. Therefore, the school is seen as the primary mechanism for role allocation in the society.
The roles and purpose of schools in the society have changed over time. Traditionally, the core function of education was to transfer knowledge to children and prepare the young people to participate in the democratic society of America. Today, this purpose has taken a slightly different angle with education being used as a tool for enhancing competition globally, (Altbach, Reisberg, and Rumbley, 2009). Focus has shifted from the society level to global scale. Less emphasis is laid in the transmission of social values and more attention is on technological advancement and acquiring the 21st century skills. Multicultural diversity has been on the rise, posing a challenge on lessons that teach on the social history of particular social groups.
This section will compare the curriculum of schools in Puerto Rico with those in the mainland United States. Despite Puerto Rico being a part of the USA, there exist differences in the education system of these two countries. To start with, the United States is by far more economically empowered than Puerto Rico, and this makes their education system more advanced regarding technology and other resources required for learning, (Apple, 2013). Most students in the USA have access to computers and modern equipped laboratories while schools in Puerto Rico, especially the public schools experience shortages in these resources. The language commonly used in Puerto Rico schools is Spanish especially in the lower levels of education, while United States schools use English as the language of learning throughout the levels of education. Public schools in Puerto Rico experience challenges offering quality education as compared to the high quality of education provided in the public schools in the United States which come close to that offered in private schools in Puerto Rico. Other differences are evident in the general structure of the schools in these two countries.
This situation is a representation of the differences in the curriculum of different countries across the world. Education systems are erected depending on the capabilities of the society surrounding them. Developed countries tend to have a more stable and advanced education curriculum in comparison with their developing counterparts. Therefore, an education system is a representation of the society around it.
Apple, M. W. (2013). Education and power. routledge.
Apple, M. W. (2013).). Trends in global higher education: Tracking an academic revolution.
Wiles, J. (2008). Leading curriculum development. Corwin Press.
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