MUKHTAR AHMAD FAROOQI

Influence of Society on the Process of education!

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Education, as a social institution, plays a vital role in our society and society in turn has a role in the development of the system of Education and its structuring. The term “society” is rooted in Latin word societas which means ‘friend’ or ‘ally’ and is used to describe a relation or interaction amongst a group of people. Educational structure acquires complexity through a process of social change and Education in this respect is a process which helps the members of the society to adapt to the constantly changing aspects of society.

In this context, the function of education is multidimensional within the school system and outside it and may be viewed as a self-contained social system with a unique organisation and unique patterns. It performs the function of socialising the individual for a variety of social roles and development of personality.

One cannot rule out that, either directly or indirectly, there is a prominent influence of society towards the process of education which can be socio-cultural, economic and political in nature.

Socio- cultural influence: The structure of Education of any society has direct correlations with its socio-cultural factors. The process of education evolves along with social structures, social norms and values systems. School is one such creation of human society to transfer the existing cultural content from one generation to another.

In informal setting, socialization is a process through which community transact or educate their members about the norms and values of the society. Traditionally, education was provided by religious institutions like Christian missionaries, Islamic Madrassa, Buddhist monasteries and other religious organizations.

These institutions have the proselytizing feature to change beliefs and they inculcate their religious ideals. These are not limited established religions, each community transmit their norms and values due which society is considered as a subsystem. In this process of education and socialization, we also transmit the biases and differences of our society such as hierarchy, stratification and inherent inequality. The dominance of elite culture, gender disparity and other socio-cultural features are also transmitted to the younger generations thereby harming the very essence of education.

Economic aspects: Equality of opportunity is a core value of democracy and Indian constitutional provision of education. Yet it has become increasingly clear that equalization of opportunity is exceedingly difficult to achieve in present economic condition. The economic process of contemporary times is creating and widening the gap between rich and the poor. According to Apple (2004) certain knowledge has linkages with economic production as some areas of studies have high demand in market situation like engineering and medical science while humanities and arts have less demand in market. Therefore, economy of society is an important factor which has deep rooted implications on educational development and human development in any region. Karl Marx considered economy the basic structure for getting power and dominance in society.

Further educational system also plays an important role in legitimizing control of the dominant section of society. Thus, the control economy can create wealth but educational power can only make it sustainable and provide legitimacy in society.

Political conditions: The nature of state, political parties, its ideology and policy directly inpacts the nature of education system and its policy. Democratic states profess ideals of democratic educational development; however, inherent inequality is the weakness of these states. All democratic societies fail to provide education for all, particularly the deprived and marginalized sections could not have equal access to education owing to differential status. Contrary to this, socialist states claim for common education system but inculcate their own political ideology rather than secular education. Communist regime of USSR and Nazi socialist principle of Germany are two best example of this. In 1933, under Nazi German education system schools were designed to mould children to get them unquestioningly accept Nazi doctrines irrespective of acceptance of masses. Similarly, USSR, after 1917, used education to continue their communist agenda and educational institutions became the place of political socialization rather than search of truth.

Likewise jingoistic/orthodox political authorities in India have made several changes in textbooks to create pseudo belief system and marginalization of society having political motives instead of rationality. Above mentioned factors have deep rooted influence on education system and it development.

Apart from these three factors the historicity of society, geographical context and other complexities indirectly influences the education process and overall development of society. Despite these influences, the differences in ability and family background the children should be equally deserving of respect, equally worth of membership in the school community and equally entitled to develop their unique potential.

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