Definition of Education, Sociology and the Relationship Between Education and Society


Definition of Education, Sociology and the Relationship Between Education and Society

Education and sociology are issues used to classify and establish the inter-relatedness between education and the society. The terms educational sociology and sociology of education are used in the discipline as approaches to the two extremes. The usage of the two terms rests on the preference of the expert. However, in the contemporary world, sociology of education is commonly in use. This is because educational sociology would imply an emphasis upon educational and social questions while sociology of education emphasizes sociological problems in the realm of education which is the concern of sociologists.

In blending the two concepts to become either educational sociology or sociology of education, the concern and focus is still on the society.

Educational sociology is the application of general principles and findings of sociology to the administration and processes of education. The approach means the application of sociology to the institution of education as a separate societal unit. In the same vein sociology of education depicts an analysis of the sociological processes involved in the educational institution. It emphasizes the study within the institution of education. There is cross-fertilization of ideas, concepts, terms and theories between educationists in closing the gap between the two fields.

As a matter of fact, experts in sociology of education are regarded as sociologists because of their contribution to the existing knowledge in sociology. The experts in pure sociology have also contributed immeasurably to the field of education which further strengthens the relationship between the two fields.

In the study of the various relations between education and society, the sociology of education is concerned with such general concepts as society itself, culture, community, class, environment, socialization, internalization, accommodation, assimilation, cultural lag, sub-culture, status, role and so forth. It further involves in cases of education and social class, state, social force, cultural change, various problems of role structure, role analysis in relation to the total social system and the micro society of the school such as authority, selection, and the organization of learning, streaming, curriculum and so forth. All these are the concern of education and sociology as inseparable discipline focusing on the problems of the society.


Education and Society

The word education originated from the Latin word EDUCERE meaning to draw out or to lead out “This shows that man is endowed with some basic qualities or potentialities which are embedded in him.

However, for such qualities to be useful to the individual and the society at large there is the need for the members of the society to be led out of ignorance, predicament, confusion and misconception about the world around them. Education can further be explained as the nourishment of an individual to attain the natural capacity in life. This could be done through the training, rearing and upbringing of such individuals in the traditional and modern ways to become acceptable members of the society in which they live.

The responsibility of training individuals in the society is primarily vested on the parents at home and the teachers in schools. The beneficiaries are nurtured to acquire requisite skills and knowledge to live successfully in the society. In the modern times, school has assumed very great importance in the training of individuals because of the complexities of life in the modern times. These complexities of life as seen in a highly industrialized and computerized global village has forced upon the adult members of the society the deliberate transmission of the cultural values and modern technology to the younger members of the society in an efficient and systematic manner.

The child has to be given complete knowledge about communication technology (GSM), cyber-netic ideas, computer literacy, international relations, vocational training for self-reliance, moral education to curb anti-social behaviours like cultism, examination malpractices, drug addiction and alcoholism to mention but just a few. The school is a place where the child develops socially desirable behaviours that assist him to make progress in the society in an acceptable manner. In other words, the school gives much to the society by training the young members of the society to acquire necessary skills and knowledge which enable them to contribute their quota to the overall development of the society.

Owing to the constant changes in the society, many of the old media of education, such as the home and the Church/mosque had lost the educational function. The child had to be a useful broad-minded citizen confined to the four walls of the home, the child will become a narrow-minded person while the school will prepare him for life, making him liberal minded so the school is the intermediate stage between the child’s domestic life and the larger society. Dewey viewed the school as primarily a social institution. Education being a social process, the school is simply that form of community life in which all agencies are concentrated that will be most effective in bringing the child to share in the inherited resources of the race to use power for social ends.

UNESCO stresses in one of its publications that the function of educational institutions is to help men and women to live happier lives in adjustment with the changing environment. It will also assist them to achieve the social and economic progress which will enable them to take their place in the modern work and to live together in peaceful society.

Society is a system or organization of mutual relations between human beings, implicit in certain communities and institutions. Man as a social animal is not only a member of the family alone, he moves out of the family and shares the experience of the people in the world outside. All laws, traditions, directives, legislation and so on are meant for all the people living in the society. Each society has its aims, traditions, norms, which all members living in that society have to accept. Also, all societies have their cultural heritage which passes from one generation to the other. In order to transmit this heritage, the education of the members is essential. The school and the home help in the transmission of the cultural heritage. But society itself is an effective agency of education. It is an informal agency and it is as effective as the family itself.

As a matter of fact, society is a bigger family where people mix together, talk to one another, share pains and pleasure and try to progress collectively. People come in contact directly or indirectly, personally or through passive agencies e.g. press, radio, cinema, television and so forth. Therefore, social relationships are closely-knit.

A “we-feeling” is created and the “we-feeling” forces everybody in the society to look for his place in it, to find his rights and duties and to learn good manners. The child learns the importance of cooperation, tolerance, selflessness, brotherhood, faith in man, responsibility and so on. It is obvious that the society had influence on the family because whenever any family makes any mistakes the society puts it right.

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