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Word Count: 695
Functionalism is a predominant perspective in which to analyse the British educational system The functionalist sees education as a miniature society where the individual develops a sense of commitment to the social group it is a place to learn rules where the individual learns to conform to societies cultural norms and values The functionalist perspectives of Emile Durkheim are particularly relevant to the British educational system He believed that the major function of education was the transmission of societies norms and values This would allow an advanced division of labour thus contributing to economy He believed in the process known as socialisation where cultural norms transpose a conditioned individual allowing entry to modern society The economy greatly relies on educational conditioning and it is essential that educational achievement is well balanced in the meritoractic society for role allocation to occur The individual must be suitably-fitted for his or her post From a functionalist perspective schools sieve individuals in accordance to their ability for example by tiered examinations This process in which educational failure is seen positively aids role allocation Parsons backed Durkheims theory He believed that education fulfils the function of secondary socialisation thus allowing role allocation to occur He firmly believed that role allocation was necessary for the functioning of society and the economy His perspectives encouraged meritocracy where the individual is rewarded on the basis of merit or ability There are various conflict theories which give different view regarding the role of education on modern Britain For example the Marxist perspectives of education argue that the education system imposes values of a higher class origin In addition achievement is based merely on social background and therefore makes failure inevitable Bowles and Gintis believed that the hidden curriculum benefits only the employer in a capitalist society whereas a functionalist perspective would argue that without socialisation in education the individual would not recognise the norms and values of modern society They
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