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Public education it can be argued shapes society instils social mores and indoctrinates the impressionable with those philosophies the elites value This essay will focus upon three main areas intrinsic to the education system These are the social reproduction of ideas the life chances created and instilled through education and the socialisation of the individuals undergoing the educational process Two main sociological perspectives that are useful when studying the education system are Functionalism and Critical Theory because they focus on macro issues and social structures more than the interactionist perspective Functionalists believe that the school system is an agent of social reproduction which operates to reproduce well integrated fully functioning members of society Webb Schirato and Danaher 2002 114 Critical theorists conversely hold that education is the most effective mechanism for promoting social change and for giving opportunities to less privileged groups so that they can advance their social standing However education usually reproduces existing social divisions maintaining the relative disadvantage of certain groups Webb Schirato and Danaher 2002 106 Munro 1994 108 describes the different approaches by stating that functionalists tend to see education as synonymous with socialisation while a conflict theorist is inclined to view education as ideological- that is reflecting the interests of particular groups Functionalists hold that the major institution for social reproduction is the education system whereas from a critical perspective teachers who oversee this reproduction have been made into administrators of programs that provide manpower capitalisation through planned and directed behavioural changes Illich 1973 327 Illich 1973 327 comments from a critical perspective that teaching and learning remain sacred activities separate and estranged from a fulfilling life This is because the things being taught do not line up with the necessary knowledge needed for life outside of education and that learning from programmed information always hides reality behind a screen Illich 1973 324 This means that the knowledge provided is set to a secret agenda The learning
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