The Marxist View On The Role Of The Education System

1075 words - 4 pages

The Marxist View on the Role of the Education System

In this essay I am going to examine the Marxist view that the role of
the education system is to reproduce and justify the existing class
structure. Marxists see the educational system as a mechanism for
maintaining class inequalities, for example the reproduction of the
capitalist system. The capitalist system is one where by the rich (the
bourgeoisie) stay rich and the poor (the proletariat) stay poor.
Marxists do not believe in meritocracy, this is where the educational
system gives equal opportunities to everyone despite their background.
They believe that education is designed to help and benefit the
bourgeoisie. They believe that schools and teachers reject working
class pupils and so the working class pupils will not perform to their
highest capabilities.

Bowles and Gintis were two Marxists who did not agree with
meritocracy. They believed that your social class determined how you
would end up in life, for example if you were middle class the
teachers would spend more time with you, thus encouraging you to stay
on in further education and receive better qualifications and a better
job. The working class would be rejected by the teachers, and would
spend less time at school therefore not gaining any qualifications and
ending up in working class jobs. They conducted a study in New York
and found that grades were based more on personality traits than on
academic abilities. They believed the low grade students were
aggressive, independent and creative whereas the higher grade students
persevered, and were dependable, consistant and punctual. Bowles and
Gintis concluded that the American education system was producing an
unimaginative and unquestioning workforce. They called this the
correspondence theory ie. Everything at school was the same as it
would be at work.

Bowles and Gintis also believed in something called the Hidden
Curriculum. This was where students gained knowledge in subjects that
were not on the curriculum. It also ensured schools that students had
an acceptance of hierarchy. Hierarchy is where you always have a
person above you telling you what to do. In this case it was the
pupils obeying the teachers and the teachers giving authority. This
ensures authority and control throughout the school. It also prepares
students for their later roles in the work place. They believe that
children are only motivated by external rewards, for example at school
you receive qualifications and at work you receive wages. Pupils gain
little enjoyment from studying the actual subjects but learn to put up
with it so they can gain the external rewards. This prepares them for
work because work in a capitalist society is boring so workers are
motivated by an...

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