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The Role Of Education In Our Society

1379 words - 6 pages

The Role of Education in Our Society Meritocracy is a universalistic viewpoint favoured by many and is
widely seen as the ideal way in which society should be founded on. In
addition, as the education system is arguably the most important and
influential institution in society it is then fair to assume that the
education system is solely built to ‘produce a meritocracy where
individual promise is acknowledged and developed through academic
achievement’. This belief will be examined and evaluated from the
introduction of state education to present day.

State education has been changed & reformed many times since its
introduction in 1880 when the government assumed full responsibility
over the provision of education. The belief & one of the foundations
it was built on (Meritocracy) has remained the same through its many
significant transitions. The were a number of reasons the government
set up free compulsory education; to create a more skilled workforce,
reduce street crime , to re-socialise the aimless, to ward off the
threat of a revolution, to provide a ‘human right’ and so on… However
up until the Fisher education act of 1918 (where attendance was made
compulsory) and the Butler act of 1944 it was seen that education as
an institution failed greatly to produce a meritocracy. As simply, the
working class pupils were not given an equal chance at academic
achievement & were eventually unlikely to succeed. The aim of the
tripartite system was to abolish class-based inequalities within
education & further strengthen equality of opportunity & the
acknowledgment of student potential.

In theory, the concept of allocating children to what was seen as
their ‘best’ place to learn and achieve based on their ability,
whether it be a grammar school, technical college or secondary modern
seemed like the perfect system to aid in the development of individual
potential. Unfortunately, there were many flaws in the tripartite
structure, such as, the disproportionate selection of middle class
children to grammar schools & working class to secondary moderns. Some
may say, the thought that the future education and lives of pupils
being decided by one (culturally biased) exam at the age of 11 was
unfair and too deterministic of students, therefore the progress of
children would be somewhat hindered.

Later down the line as the dissatisfaction of the tripartite system
increased, education went through a further transformation in 1965.
All L.E.A’s were to become comprehensive as instructed by the
government and all children to be taught under one roof. Streaming
from the previous structure was to be converted into Mixed ability

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