Education from a functionalist perspective

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Eduction is a fundamental building block to Australian society. The Australian eduction system is structured with five basic components. These are: primary school, compulsory secondary school, post-compulsory secondary school, technical and further eduction (TAFE) and higher education (university) (van Krieken et al, 2000:187). This essay argues the usefulness of education to the entire Australian society, as seen from a functional sociologist's perspective. After an outline of the functionalist world-view, the functional role of education will be examined. O'Donnell (1994:7) states that when people behave in a way that others expect them to behave, they adopt a role. These roles have functions, which ideally contributes to societal equilibrium and harmony. Education has at least three roles in society. Firstly, by attaining formal education students learn to socialise and learn what is expected from potential employers and develop the appropriate skills to join the workforce. Secondly, education effectively selects and stratifies individuals according to their ability and finally, produces relevant knowledge and research for the use in the community.

Functionalists view society's natural state as one of harmony

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