Dr. Tasaduk Hussain Itoo


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Education takes place in a (any) society constituted of individuals. It is a social process and has a social function as well as relevance. A school is created by the society and the society is shaped and moulded by the school. Thus, education is both a cause and product of society. It originates in the society and it must fulfil the needs and aspirations of the society. There is thus an intimate relationship between education and society and modern education has two-fold functions- It must help in individual development as well as social progress. An individual can only develop in the right direction in a social environment when substantiated by education as it helps to solve the multifarious social problems.

Sociology has come from two words Societas and Logos meaning “society” and “science” respectively. Hence scientific study of society is commonly known as sociology. Society is more than a mere assemblage of individuals. It involves interaction and interrelation between individuals and groups. In fact, society exists only in the articulate consciousness of human beings. On the other hand, the individual depends upon the society for his existence and self-development. It is society that acts as the selective agent and determines which of the possibilities will be allowed to develop through interaction with social groups and situations the original tendencies are modified, coordinated and shaped into individual is influenced by social direction. Sociology aims at explaining the inter-personal and group relationships. It explains occupational,

religious or social groups, the nation or the state. It studies various social changes that are taking place within group life and analyses such processes of interaction as competition, conflict, co-operation, accommodation and assimilation. It examines social change and social control, analyses the concepts of civilization and culture and deals with such social problems as crime juvenile delinquency, poverty and other social evils with a view to their solution.


Emile Durkheim, the French sociologist, for the first time felt the need of sociological approach to Education. He considered education “to be something essentially social in character, in its origin and its functions.” He emphasized that education is not a static phenomenon but a dynamic and ever-changing process. Every society with its own changing socio-cultural needs will require an education to meet those needs. Since needs, change continuously therefore education must also change. The needs of different societies differ therefore education should be dynamic. Thus, Educational sociology is a branch of sociology, which is confronted with the problems of relationship between society and education. It makes an effort to achieve the aims of sociology through educational process, which is nothing but an interaction between the individual and the society. The knowledge of social interaction is one of the most important elements for social progress. Thus the development of the individuality is dependent on the reaction of the individual to his social environment. Hence we can say “by educational sociology we mean the science which describes and explains institutions, social groups and social processes, and social relationships in which or through which the individual gains and organizes his experiences.” John Dewey emphasized the importance of the socialization of the individual for education. He considered that through the participation of the individual in social process the complete development of education takes place. The school is a social institution, which purifies the society, progress it and makes the individual conversant with the society.


The scope of educational sociology is very vast. It takes into account the various social forces and agencies like the school, the home, the religious organization, the play groups. It also studies the different processes of social interaction such as conflict, cooperation, competition etc. It also induces such topics as the role of the press, the T.V., the radio and the cinema as aids to social interaction. The other themes include social change and social control. It deals with the impact of sociology on the aims of education, the curricula, the school organization and the mythology of teaching. However, for the central personality development of the learner some specific social problems are also included in the scope of educational sociology. These are: the importance of teacher in the society, the relationship between the teacher and the taught, the behaviour of a student in a group, the influence of social life on the school, the teacher and the student, the relationship between the school and other social agencies, the relationship between the society and the curriculum.


Educational sociology plays a vital role on the modern educational theories and practices, the aims of education, the principles of curriculum construction, the methods of teaching, the school organization and administration.


Education is not mere schooling or instruction imposed by the elders on the younger ones. It is equivalent to the development of character or personality by means of the social life of education institutions. The social life includes all kinds of out-of-class activities. Man acquires experience throughout his life. This acquisition of experience is education. This process of acquiring experience is a social process and it is related to and influenced by social factors. Education is thus a social process and its function is not only to preserve the social heritage but also to enrich it. Learning is the result of social interaction and social motivation. Education helps to develop this social self so that an individual may become an effective and useful member of the society. Education is a process of directed learning. Education sociology focuses upon the social forces through which the individual gains experience.


Educational sociology has its indirect impact on the aims and objectives of education. Educational sociologists think that education is a social process and it should be directed to social welfare. With this view the determination of the objectives of education is highly needed. The sociologists attach equal importance to the individual and social aspects of education. The aim of modern education is individual development as well as social advancement. Education enables an individual to make his life better both as an individual and as a member of his society. Education now emphasizes total development of an individual – intellectual, social, moral, aesthetic, cultural, physical development. Education should bring about a change not only in the amount of knowledge gained but in abilities to do, to acquire habits, skills, interests and attitudes which characterize a person who is society accepted, personally well-adjusted and socially responsible. Thus, educational sociology emphasizes the social aims of education.


According to Payne, from the point of view of educational sociology the functions of education are mainly three (a) transmission of social and cultural heritage, (b) development of new social patterns, and (c) creative and constructive role. Education is to help in transmitting the cultural heritage with the help of such agencies as the school, the home, the religious organization, the radio, the T. V., the cinema, the press and the playgroup. But education is not only to transmit the past cultural heritage but also to develop new social patterns in such areas as health, leisure, vocation, home-life etc. Thus from the sociological point of view, education be regarded as a conservative force, a creative force and a critical force.


The impact of educational sociology on the principles of curriculum construction

cannot be ignored. In ancient age the child was regarded as an adult. The adults used to frame the curriculum and imposed it on the young learners. This curriculum was obviously the brainchild of the adults. The child, his interests and inclinations were not taken into consideration. But in the modern age all these traditional views of curriculum construction have been totally rejected as unscientific. The curriculum is now in conformity with the general aims of education and it must help in the total development of the child. In the modern sense the curriculum is not mere a bundle of subjects but includes all types of activities in the school, which provide diverse experiences to the child. It is now the sum total of the experiences gathered by the child through social interactions in the school. Modern curriculum thus emphasizes the social need of education.


Nothing can be taught, everything is to be learnt is the main idea of present-day education. The children are no longer passive recipients of knowledge they are now active participants in the learning process. This means that every useful productive work has learning value. Thus work-based education helps in the social development of the child. It prepares an individual to face the social reality. It helps in the process of socialization of the child and bringing social cohesion and solidarity.


In modern education the school is regarded as a society in miniature. The students learn through constant social interactions in the school. John Dewey says: “School is a purified, simplified and better balanced society.” The school is an effective vehicle for socialization of the child. Thus schools are an important social agency or institution, which performs various social functions and responsibilities.


The school administration has now been democratized. The students are now allowed to participate in school administration and shoulder various administrative responsibilities. The school self-government is now an accepted educational principle and practice. This is no doubt the result of sociological principle in education.


In modern education the teacher is regarded as a friend, philosopher and guide. He must prepare himself for this noble work. To fulfill this responsibility the teacher must possess suitable personality.


Education thinks that the work of education cannot be carried on properly without reference to human relations. Human relations are also developed among students in the school society. These human relations determine the course of education. For this purpose now sociometric technique is applied in education. With the help of sociometric technique the group dynamics in school can be ascertained.


The methods of teaching are also influenced by educational sociology. The teacher has to adopt some method or technique to establish relationship between the objectives and the materials of instruction. The educational sociologist, according to Payne, judges the effectiveness of teaching method and technique in the light of three principles:

  • The method of teaching is effective only in so far as the skills and knowledge acquired in the classroom are actually made by the individual in his adjustment to social situations.
  • The method of teaching must place primary emphasis on social behaviour outside the classroom.
  • The method of teaching must seek to utilize the social forces operative in the social life in order to develop capacity for social adjustment.


Thus it is evident that every aspect of education such as aims, functions, materials of instructions, methods of teaching is greatly influenced by social factors. Modern education aims at total development. Here lies the need of sociological foundation of education.

The writer is Medical Practioner at Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Narayana Super Speciality Hospital, Jammu. He is a social Activist, columnist and also top Educator Awardee.

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