Education Concerning The Purpose Of Schooling

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There has been much debate in education concerning the purpose of schooling in recent years. Functionalist scholars purport that schools exist for the transmission of knowledge and values in order to create a collective and cohesive social group. Here, students gain knowledge in an organized fashion, as the curriculum mandated by the government or state education board is taught (Sadovnik, Cookson, & Semel, 2013). Taught through the curriculum are the knowledge, skills, character traits, behaviours, and attitudes required to thrive in capitalist economies, Neo-Marxists theorists argue (Sadovnik, Cookson, & Semel, 2013). In these capitalist societies, student assessments and ranking are based on their academic achievement because high…show more content…
Pertinent to this reproduction is the political currency that policy actors’ wield in the construction of a school’s curriculum. The values and principles of these policy actors help shape the philosophical foundation of a country’s education system (Delaney, 2015). Functional theorists “believed that the purpose of schooling was to transmit a common body of knowledge in order to reproduce a common cultural heritage” (Sadovnik, Cookson, & Semel, 2013, p. 282). Conversely, conflict theorists argued that the common body of knowledge the functionalists speak of are the values, beliefs, and behaviours of the elite, which further contributes to the concretization of the status quo. Conflict theory perspectives emphasize the exploitative relationship between the haves and the have- nots in society and maintains that the education system continues to replicate the existing social strata. The functionalist view, regarded as the humanist curriculum, reflected an idealist philosophy of education. Educational scholars challenged the idealist viewpoint and questioned its credence, consequently, this ushered in a new perspective in the early twentieth century (Sadovnik, Cookson, & Semel, 2013).
The development of the social efficiency curriculum was the solution to the issues surrounding the humanist curriculum. Arguably, in most western societies, the social efficiency curriculum thrives in politically democratic environments. Grounded in the work of
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