Khursheed Nabi

Education: An Agent of Social Change

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Education plays an important role in molding the structure of a society. The role of education as an agent of social change is widely recognized. The socialization of the young generation and maintenance of proper social order is among one of the main functions of education. It not only acts as a mean to bring about social changes in a society, but also to excel the rate of such changes.

Change is the law of nature. The rapid growth of industrialization and urbanization results in change in social setups, social institutions as well as social patterns of human life. As such the existing social standards, social institutions and social norms fail to meet human needs. Therefore there arises a need for change in such social elements. Such change will encourage growth and development in the society. The ancient Greek philosopher Harecletes has said that we cant dive in the same water of the river twice , because by the time we come out of the river after diving the water would have moved forward with its flow. We can’t predict ,what will happen in the next moment . So, there is no reason to escape from change, rather we have to prepare ourselves to survive in the changing scenario. Social change may take place in different forms viz, economic change, political change, religious change, scientific and technological change, legal change, moral change etc. It is a continuous process, where one change is followed by the another. It is also temporary in nature as it denotes innovation of new things and modification and renovation of existing things.

Education is considered as a major agency of socialization. No social change can take place without education. It initiates social change by bringing about a change in the outlook and attitude and patterns of social relationships of an individual.

That is why David Emile Durkhrim- A French sociologist, conceives of education as,”The socialization of younger generation”

The above words of Durkhim clearly indicate that education is an important factor of socialization i.e, social change. Education plays that role by imparting knowledge about science & Technology, new social patterns , social institutions, modernization and other specialized branches of knowledge. Remarkable changes are brought by education in the different aspects of an individual’s life and an individual is prepared to participate in different social works and activities; so as to make his contribution for the progress and development of the society. The relationship between education and society is thus mutual i.e, either education influences changes in society or society in education. But in both the cases education has a role to play. We may say education is a creation of social change and it influences social change.

In the words of Francis j Brown,”Education is a process which brings about changes in the behavior of the society.”

It clearly shows the relationship between education and social changes; also indicates that the end result of education process  is social change. Apart from his its an instrument and a condition of social change. Education acts as a medium through which the knowledge pertaining to various social changes is imparted. It also creates awareness among the masses regarding the cause and effect of various social changes from time to time. Which helps to build a positive attitude among the people towards a change and to finally assist them to adopt the change. That is why many sociologists have termed education as an instrument of social reconstruction and modernization , which plays a vital role in social change through transformation of knowledge, attitudes & values of the people and will bring about standard changes in the society.

Education plays an important role in analyzing a change that takes place in the society. As it provides knowledge to the people regarding the nature and form of change, the society can therefore decide about the adaptation of a change. In the absence of education they may not be able to know about what is good or bad pertaining to a change and will adopt without analyzing pros and corns of each change. During British period people opposed English literature and English Language , it is education that makes these people conscious towards such positive changes and make them realize them that English language is the gateway of development  and a key to external world.

Education is such a powerful;  weapon which helps in the development of modern thoughts. It modernizes the attitudes , aspirations and outlook of individuals to a great extend and helps in eradication of social evils like caste system, untouchability, dowry system etc. In this way the social patterns of the people changes. There is no discrimination of caste, colour or creed when we travel in a passernger bus. By bringing such changes in the society , education helps in promotion of equality and integration. In other words education removes social evils and stabilizes democratic values like equality, integrity, freedom etc.

Education brings about the changes in the customs, traditions, social & political institutions. It makes these institutions capable of addressing the current needs of the society. The obsolete customs and blind traditions are replaced by modern thoughts. Social evils like female infanticide are eradicated from the society by educating people though public awareness programs with the help of electronic and print media. As a result there is a remarkable decline in such cases.

Nelson Mandela , a South African anti-apartheid revolutionary, political leader and a philanthropist , who served as president of South Africa; During an address at the Planetarium Johannesburg , South Africa said,” Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

Education thus plays a predominant role in bringing about social changes. We may say it is a passport to social change. Without education the knowledge of social changes can’t be gathered and will thus hamper the process of social change. That means changes are always initiated through education by one way or the other.

The writer is a student of M.Ed at IASE Srinagar and can be mailed at [email protected]

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