Marxist Functions on Education

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Assess the Marxist view that the function of the education system is to pass on ideology and reproduce the existing class structure. Claire Jones Education is a vital system in most societies, and is compulsory for all children up to the age of 16 in Britain. There are many different ideas as to why education is so important and the functions it fulfills within society, some more positive than others. Although some people say that education is only intended to teach the individual enough knowledge to pass exams and start a career, most sociologists believe it has functions which go beyond this surface view and in some way affect or serve society as a whole as well as the individual. An ideology is false view of society which…show more content…
It displays itself as meritocratic, based on the idea that everyone is rewarded according to their personal attainment. The result of this is that people who achieve a high qualification have done so entirely from their own efforts and so deserve the rewards it brings. As these qualifications lead to a privileged lifestyle, top jobs and positions of power, the implication is that all those in high positions within society deserve to be there, and society is just. Similarly, as everyone begins with an equal chance to succeed in education, those who end up with poor qualifications do so through their own fault, and deserve the life of poverty and oppression which often results. This myth has clearly been transmitted effectively, as the functionalist perspective of education is built on the principle that it is a meritocratic system. By promoting this view, education shows capitalism to be a just system and teaches that there is no reason to challenge it. However, Marxists claim the reality is very different from the ideology. Far from being meritocratic, the education system is designed to reproduce the existing class system in society. It provides academic rewards to those of a higher class, ensuring that they will gain a privileged lifestyle and ultimately, positions of power from which they can protect capitalist society and rule over the subject class. The lack of educational rewards for the lower classes is intended to make them
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