Educational system is a strong factor in social progress that defines the long-term future of society. With the advent of the information age and an uncontrolled development of technologies, education becomes more important than it ever was.
Modern education should teach youth to study constantly throughout life. A prospective graduate should be capable of conducting research, writing a case study, collect and analyze a wealth of information. They should navigate well through informational space, be flexible, enterprising, communicative, creative, able to make an informed choice with a sense of responsibility. University graduates are a social group which is capable of generating ideas aimed at creating positive social changes.
Education is a unique institution aimed at developing and multiplying human capital, forming a set of values and principles, objectives, future prospects, socially important ideas that create the future of society as a whole. Educational system can be seen as a means of social changes as well as a basis for adaptation to them.
Functions of education
The primary purpose of educational system is retention, development, dissemination of knowledge and social experience of different forms through research study and intellectual creativity. All areas of curriculums should directly address the economic, social and cultural issues of society, and stimulate human development by teaching to learn and apply available knowledge.
Sociologists identify 4 functions of education:
- fostering (cultural and moral values);
- education itself;
- introduction to cultural and technological products;
- socialization (following behavioral patterns and social norms).
Types of social change
Social change is one of the broadest sociological terms. Depending on the context, the term “social change” can mean the following:
- transition of a social object from one state to another;
- shift in economic and social order;
- significant modification of a social structure and/or its institutions;
- change in standards of behavior;
- renewal and increase in diversity of institutional forms.
All types of social change are closely connected and affecting each other. There are 4 types of social changes.
- Changes concerning structures of different social institutions such as family, friendship, society itself.
- They affect social processes, for example, changes in migratory procedure, social stratification.
- Changes concerning functions of different social systems, institutions, organizations (educational, legislatorial or executive branch).
- Changes in the field of personal or collective motivation, for instance, current reduction in people’s motivation for success.
Factors affecting social change
There are 3 main factors that trigger social changes:
- changes that arose in sociocultural sphere such as religion, communities, subcultures; such shifts shape the whole society;
- changes in economy, industrial relations, for instance, shifts in foreign trade, customs policy;
- technological advances.
Let’s have a detailed look at technological impact on social changes, since in XXI century information technology plays a key role in transformation of society.
Technological breakthroughs may create great opportunities as well as problems. Educational system and science should reflect the fact of unpredictability of technological innovations. Developments in biotechnology, such as artificial insemination, enabled women to give birth to a child without sexual intercourse. That, in turn, has created surrogacy as a new social role, and relevant norms.
Another example of technological impact on society is the rapid development of communication means. New possibilities for social communication arose due to telephone services, TV and Internet connection.
It’s obvious that education and social change are the interrelated processes that constantly affect each other. Importantly, the difference between social needs and skills has been and remains the principle trigger for any social change. To put it simply, social changes are caused by the need of overcoming natural constraints.
The indirect function of educational system is creating social and cultural changes that result from a continuous process of studying and discovering. The vast majority of all scientific achievements are held at universities and are closely related to economy, science and culture. Therefore, education system can be considered as one of the engines of progress, both technical and social.
Qualitative education is the basis for the development of science, culture, economy, human intelligence, spirituality and other basic social benefits – all that, in turn, guards sovereignty, security and international influence of a country.
It’s absolutely clear that, for the most part, social development depends on social change and education. A human who is capable of acquiring new skills and thinking out of the box, has been and remains the essential value of society.