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Social change and Education


Introduction to Social Change

ocial change builds community-based responses that address underlying social problems on an individual, institutional, community, national and/or international level. Social

change can change attitudes, behaviours, laws, policies and institutions to better reflect values of inclusion, fairness, diversity and opportunity. Social change involves a collective action of individuals who are closest to the social problems to develop solutions that address social issues. Example: Casa de Esperanza is a Latina based organization in Saint Paul that focuses on mobilizing Latinas to end domestic violence and abuse. The social change it works on in changing systems of domestic violence and abuse in the Latino community. The systems in place can be: notions of manhood, gender, language, and family. Social change refers to an alteration in the social order of a society. It may refer to the notion of social progress or socio cultural evolution, the philosophical idea that society moves forward by dialectical or evolutionary means. It may refer to a paradigmatic change in the socioeconomic structure, for instance a shift away from feudalism and towards capitalism. Accordingly it may also refer to social revolution, such as the Socialist revolution presented in Marxism, or to other social movements, such as Women's suffrage or the Civil rights movement. Social change may be driven by cultural, religious, economic, scientific or technological forces.
Rapid social change is a fact of our times. Some changes are being controlled, blocked or facilitated by the legislation. Other changes take place under the guidance of local social workers or health officers. Such changes are mapped, studied or planned by the social scientist. Religion sometime can affect change by appealing to the conscience of mankind. And there are those who dare to assert that education has some effect on social change.

Historical background
Several ideas of social change have been developed in various cultures and historical periods. Three may be distinguished as the most basic: The idea of decline or degeneration, or, in religious terms, the fall from an original state of grace. The idea of cyclic change, a pattern of subsequent and recurring phases of growth and decline. The idea of continuous progress.

These three ideas were already prominent in Greek and Roman antiquity and have characterized Western social thought since that time. The concept of progress, however, has become the most influential idea, especially since the Enlightenment movement of the 17th and 18th centuries. Social thinkers such as Anne-Robert-Jacques Turgot and the marquis de Condorcet in France and Adam Smith and John Millar in Scotland advanced theories on the progress of human knowledge and technology.

Progress was also the key idea in 19th-century theories of social evolution, and evolutionism was the common core shared by the most influential social theories of that century. Evolutionism implied that humans progressed along one line of development, that this development was predetermined and inevitable, since it corresponded to definite laws, that some societies were more advanced in this development than were others, and that Western society was the most advanced of these and therefore indicated the future of the rest of the worlds population. This line of thought has since been disputed and disproved.

Following a different approach, French philosopher Auguste Comte advanced a law of three stages, according to which human societies progress from a theological stage, which is dominated by religion, through a metaphysical stage, in which abstract speculative thinking is most prominent, and onward toward a positivist stage, in which empirically based scientific theories prevail.

Prominent theories of social change

Basically, change comes from two sources. One source is random or unique factors such as climate, weather, or the presence of specific groups of people. Another source is systematic factors. On the whole, social change is usually a combination of systematic factors along with some random or unique factors. There are many theories of social change. Generally, a theory of change should include elements such as structural aspects of change (like population shifts), Processes and mechanisms of social change, and directions of change. Hegelian: The classic Hegelian dialectic model of change is based on the interaction of

opposing forces. Starting from a point of momentary stasis, Thesis countered by Antithesis first yields conflict, then it subsequently results in a new Synthesis. Marxist: Marxism presents a dialectical and materialist concept of history; Humankind's Kuhnian: The philosopher of science, Thomas Kuhn argues in The Structure of

history is a fundamental struggle between social classes.

Scientific Revolutions with respect to the Copernican Revolution that people are unlikely to
jettison an unworkable paradigm, despite many indications that the paradigm is not functioning properly, until a better paradigm can be presented. Heraclitan: The Greek philosopher Heraclitus used the metaphor of a river to speak of

change thus, "On those stepping into rivers staying the same other and other waters flow" (DK22B12). What Heraclitus seems to be suggesting here, later interpretations notwithstanding, is that, in order for the river to remain the river, change must constantly be taking place. Thus one may think of the Heraclitan model as parallel to that of a living organism, which, in order to remain alive, must constantly be changing. Daoist: The Chinese philosophical work Dao De Jing, I.8 and II.78 uses the metaphor

of water as the ideal agent of change. Water, although soft and yielding, will eventually wear away stone. Change in this model is to be natural, harmonious and steady, albeit imperceptible. Resource-based economy: Jacque Fresco's concept of a resource-based economy that

replaces the need for the current monetary economy, which is "scarcity-oriented" or "scarcitybased". Fresco argues that the world is rich in natural resources and energy and that with modern technology and judicious efficiency the needs of the global population can be met with abundance, while at the same time removing the current limitations of what is deemed possible due to notions of economic viability.

The Various Roles for Social Change

Breakdown of Key Roles Each purple box represents a category of person who helps or hinders the spread of a new idea. The Change Agent must be prepared to engage or avoid each of these people in an effective manner if cultural, institutional, or political change is to occur. The Innovator creates a new idea that has the potential to significantly change the world. This is often NOT the Change Agent. Innovators are often great at developing their idea, but lack the skills or flexibility of thought to get them implemented successfully. As the Change Agent, this will be your job. The Transformer translates the idea into a usable form befitting the particular context of an organization or community. The Change Agent must persuade the Transformer that the idea has sufficient practical merit to be worthy of implementation. The Transformer then does the

work to transform the idea through an appropriate implementation process. Transformers are known as early adopters.


The Mainstreamer is any person who uses the idea as a tool, product, way of thinking, etc. After enough early adopters have found practical uses for the idea, this group of people come to represent the new normal for how something is done. It is possible that the Change Agent may have no direct connection to Mainstreamers. The Iconoclast is a critic of the old way of doing things. This person seeks to spread

dissatisfaction with the old normal and helps create dialogue around the need for improvements. The Change Agent can draw upon the critiques made by Iconoclasts to build legitimacy, but must take care not to undercut her own efforts by coming under fire. The Reactionary actively resists change. This person doesnt want the new thing and is a stalwart who protects the status quo. The strategic Change Agent will chose their battles wisely and either deal with Reactionaries directly or seek to bypass them, whichever they deem more likely to spread their idea with success. Every change process has its Curmudgeons. These people are cynical and negative to such an extent that they disrupt the change process. It is vital that the Change Agent recognize that this is NOT a form of apathy. Curmudgeons care very deeply about the topic at hand and were likely once change agents themselves who got worn down by failed attempts in the past. It is possible to rehabilitate Curmudgeons and convert them into Change Agents again, but this is a lengthy and difficult process and should be considered carefully. The Laggard is any person who reluctantly adopts the new idea. This person may be

uncomfortable with change and only convert because it is too inconvenient to continue the old way. Change Agents should not seek adoption of ideas by Laggards, investing their energy more efficiently in early adopters who can translate it into practice with relative ease. Many communities also have Recluses. These people are off in their own little worlds and disconnect from the change process. They will not easily be converted and can stall the change process if their distant stance infects others who potentially could become Mainstreamers. And of course there are Controllers. These people have positions of power and influence in the community. They may have control of budgets or decision-making protocols. Or it may be that their opinions are highly visible and influential due to the high levels of trust people

place in their judgments. The Change Agent must approach the Controller carefully. If the Controller adopts the idea, he or she can rapidly accelerate its spread by becoming a Super Transformer. Yet the risk remains that the Controller may reject the idea and become a Super Reactionary capable of shutting the innovation process down entirely.

Education and Social Change

he role of education as an agent or instrument of social change and social development is widely recognized today. Social change may take place when humans need change.

When the existing social system or network of social institutions fails to meet the existing human needs and when new materials suggest better ways of meeting human needs. Social change takes place as a response to many types of changes that take place in the social and non-social environment. Education can initiate social
Once social change begins, it cannot be reversed. You cannot uneducate the person who has learned to read. You cannot humiliate the person who feels pride. You cannot oppress the people who are not afraid anymore. We have seen the future, and the future is ours.

changes by bringing about a change in outlook and attitude of man. It can bring about a change in the pattern of social relationships and thereby it may cause social changes. Earlier educational institutions and teachers used to show a specific way of life to the students and education was more a means of social control than an instrument of social change. Modern educational institutions do not place much emphasis upon transmitting a way of life to the students. The

traditional education was meant for an unchanging static society not marked by any change. But today education aims at imparting knowledge. Education was associated with religion.

Education as a mean for Social change

Education is seen as a major vector in society, but that it is largely allocated a conservative role, since its main function is in the socialization of the young and the maintenance of the social order. During times of rapid social change, such as the second half of the 20th century, the role of education in the service of the nation is emphasized. When things are going well, especially economically, more experimentation with education is supported, and more idealistic goals are pursued, such as equity of educational opportunity. It is in the ideological and moral spheres, however, that education is most clearly expected to play a leading role. Social change takes place as a response to many types of changes that take place in the social and non social

environment. Education can initiate social changes by bringing about a change in outlook and attitude of man. It can bring about a change in the pattern of social relationships and thereby it may cause social changes. Education can be used as a tool to empower the individual. Through child centred learning, students are able to see their own role in transformation. Societal change comes from the collective transformation of the individuals within that society. It has become secular today. It is an independent institution now. Education has been chiefly instrumental in preparing the way for the development of science and technology. Education has brought about phenomenal changes in every aspect of mens life. Francis J. Brown remarks that Education is a process which brings about changes in the behaviour of society. It is a process which enables every individual to effectively participate in the activities of society and to make positive contribution to the progress of society.

Education, Social Change and Modernisation

Education has been accepted as one major agency of socialization, and teachers and educational institutions as socializing agents. In describing education as an instrument of social change, three things are important: the agents of change, the content of change, and the social background of those who are sought to be changed, i.e. students. Educational institutions under the control of different cultural groups reflect the values of those groups which support and control education. In this situation,

teachers impart specific values, aspirations and to the children. Social reformers, who were educated emphasized values like removal of caste restrictions, equality of women, doing away with social evil social customs and practices, voice in the governance of the country, are establishing democratic institutions and so on. They, thus, wanted to teach liberal philosophy through education for changing society. In other words they regarded education as a flame or light of knowledge which dispelled the darkness of ignorance. The use of education for spreading the values of modernization came to be emphasized from the 1960s and 1970s onwards. Highly productive economies, distributive justice, peoples participation in decision-making bodies, adoption of scientific technology in industry,

agriculture and other occupations and professions were accepted as goals for modernizing the Indian society. And these goals were to be achieved through liberal education. Thus, modernization was not accepted as a philosophy or a movement based on rational values system but as a process that was to be confined only to economic field but was to be achieved in social, political, cultural and religious fields too. Education was sought to be utilized as channel for the spread of modernity. According to the sociological perspective, education does not arise in response of the individual needs of the individual, but it arises out of the needs of the society of which the individual is a member1. The educational system of any society is related to its total social system. It is a sub system performing certain functions for the on-going social system. The goals and needs of the total social system get reflected in the functions it lays down for educational system and the form in which it structures it to fulfil those functions. In a static society, the main function of the educational system is to transmit the cultural heritage to the new generations. But in a changing society, these keep on changing from generation to generation and the educational system in such a society must not only transmit the cultural heritage, but also aid in preparing the young for adjustment to any changes in them that may have occurred or are likely to occur in future. In contemporary societies, The proportion of change that is either planned or issues from the secondary consequences of deliberate innovations is much higher than in former times. This is more so in societies that has newly become independent and are in a developing stage. Thus, the relationship between educational system and society is mutual; sometimes the society influences changes in educational system and at other times the educational system influences changes in the society.

Nature Of Social Change And Its Impact On Education

1. Change In Wider Social Environment :The change may be in the total social environment surrounding the society. It may be due to some internal forces or external forces arising in other societies. Social phenomena occurring in neighbouring or distant societies have very widespread impact now. English, for example, is now became a world language for dissemination of knowledge and consequently India feels the necessity to emphasis the need for retaining and strengthening the knowledge of English in order to continue to be benefited by new knowledge developing all over the world. 2. Change In Social Goals, Objectives And Values :The social change may be in social goals, objectives and values. The changes may be in social values that directly affect the content of social roles and social interaction. For example, the adoption of equality as a value may ultimately lead to compulsory and free primary education, to expansion of primary educational facilities to all children up to the age of fourteen and to providing financial and other aid to backward classes for enabling them to avail of the expanded educational facilities. 3. Institutional Social Changes The social change may be institutional. This includes change in more definite structures such as form of organization, roles and role content. The adoption of democracy and adult franchise in India has made training in responsible and responsive citizenship absolutely necessary for the electorate. This may ultimately affect the content and the method of teaching in educational institutions as well as the teacher-taught relationships. 4. Changes In Knowledge And Technology The changes may be in the existing knowledge and technology. Space exploration, industrialization, agricultural and domestic technology, development of transportation, and mass media of communication, new understanding of the human organism, individual and social behaviour are some of the scientific and technological areas in which knowledge has expanded a great deal and will still continue to expand. Thus, the development of knowledge and technology may bring changes in syllabus, teaching and evaluating methods and role of teacher.

5. Change In Size And Composition Of Population The change may be in the size and composition of population. The explosion of population with differential rates of increase in different regions, communities, socio-economic groups and age groups may necessitate many changes in the educational system. Students with different levels of intelligence and educational aspirations, belonging to different socio-economic classes, different castes and religious groups have begun to come in the same type of educational institution and are huddled in same classroom. All these changes also necessitate change in the educational system. Thus, different types of social changes occurring in society make the existing educational system dysfunctional to a certain extent and in course of time pressurize to bring changes in it.

Social Change and Lags In Indian Educational System

In response to social change educational system must also change. The change may be in consonance with the social change and meet the new goals and demands of various social groups adequately. Otherwise a lag is created between the goals and demands of the society and the goals and demands of the educational system. A number of such lags have occurred in the Indian educational system after independence and in many ways perform a days functional role in Indian society. This has been accepted by the Kothari Commission very clearly. It reported: As is well known, the existing system of education is largely unrelated to life and there is a wide gulf between its content and purposes and the concerns of national development Instead of promoting social and national integration and making an active effort to promote national consciousness, several features of the educational system promote divisive tendencies; caste loyalties are encouraged in a number of private educational institutions; the rich and poor are segregated, the former attending the better type of private schools which charge fees while the latter are forced, out of circumstances, to attend free government or local authority .

Modernisation of Education In India: Problems The modernization of education in India becomes a special problem in several ways. India has adopted the path of economic development within the framework of a free society and therefore it cannot adopt authoritarian means to modernize education. The centre has to get the willing consent of the states and each state has to get the willing consent of its elected representatives in their legislative assemblies before introducing any major change in the allocation of resources to education or in the educational system itself. Secondly, India has no colonies to depend on for resources to meet the expenditure on modernizing its educational system. It has to depend on its own self and find out its own resources which are bound to be very limited. But, it can avail assistance from advanced countries and international agencies like UNESCO which have developed programmes to assist educational development in developing countries. However, the fact that this aid will also be limited has to be taken into account. Thirdly, India has lots of diversities. It economy is mixed, including modern factories along with traditional agriculture. Its tribal, rural and urban groups show very wide contrasts in their physical and social conditions of living. The different levels of development at which the various sections of society stand differentiate their educational needs and complicate the problem of educational development. The aims, methods and organization of education which may be functional for one group may be dysfunctional for the other. Lastly, in western societies, economic modernization preceded political and social modernization. Consequently, in their educational thinking, they could lay more emphasis on the needs of the individual than on the economic needs of the country. But India, being largely agricultural and poor has to think of the economic needs of the country before it thinks of the needs of individuals. It cannot initially afford to waste its resources on educational programmes that are not productive in economic terms.
Education is the very foundation of good citizenship... It is principal instrument in awakening the Child to cultural values, in preparing him for later professional training and in helping him to adjust normally to his environment

Education has become one of the influential instruments of social change in India. It has led to the mobilization of peoples aspirations for development and change. Thus in modern complex national societies, education can neither be regarded as a controlling force conserving cultural heritage, nor could it be viewed as an agent of social change. It can only be regarded as a cooperative force in bringing about social changes decided by the forces possessing more pervasive power in society. Thus the Indian education system needs a complete overhaul through proper legislation and its effective implementation. Legislations should be made taking into account the regional diversities of each state. The masses should be made aware of the new developments.

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