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Education and Life Chances in Modern Education Essay

Is there such thing as secret of finding meaning in life? That might some what answers me base on certain articles that I just read and as well as the video that amazed me while viewing. This first article defines life and it’s meaning which is “Meaning in Life [live the life that you want]” by Albert S. Wang, written on November 19, 1997. This article, questions you if you are really contented and happy of what you have and if this is really the life that you wanted.

It is said in here that to be able to live a life that you want and to put a meaning on it; you must first know yourself from within because this makes you know of who you are, second is know where you want to go for it gives you direction in finding your happiness. These things are beginning of having a meaningful life. To find the meaning of your life, you must find it with action not just by waiting for it to come and you can also find this meaning in life not just in distant place but mostly it is found near you.

Putting a meaning in your life is all about the choices and decisions that you made on where you want to go. Just live your will and you’ll see that each day you will grow in having a meaningful life. The second article that touches me is entitled “So What Will Matter? ” sent by Leandro G. Cruz and shared by Joe Gatuslao of Bacolod City, Philippines. Its original title is A Life That Matters.

This article is so inspiring because it stresses that all that you have got starting from yourself just like beauty, fame, wealth and all other things that you have are just in vain because these things are not forever yours, these are just passing things and you cannot bring these things when you leave earth but what really matters are the thing that you made that others will remember you of your goodness, the things that you gave not just in material aspects but in all, living your life with significance, teaching others and set yourself as an example to them. All of these things are living a life that matters.

This third article has an unknown author which entitles “A Purpose”. The article speaks that all of us who are created by God has a unique and significant purpose. Each of us is given a chance to find our designated purposes but you must wait when the right time comes because God has set it for you at a time when you are equipped and ready. Most of the time you’ll experience the roughness of life but don’t be dismayed because there is always a helping hand that will take care of you, which is God who never leaves you.

Just stay at the right path and do good deeds for in the end you will find your own way to the pearly white gate. The next article is the one that I liked most which is “The Journey of Our Life” shared again by Joe Gatuslao from Bacolod City, Philippines. This article actually tells a story about the Emperor who owned a huge land and he told his horseman that if he could ride on his horse and cover as much land area as he likes, then the Emperor would give him the area of land he has covered.

The horseman did not stop riding and whipping the horse because he wanted to cover as much area as possible. Came to a point when he had covered a substantial area and he was exhausted and was dying. Then he asked himself, “Why did I push myself so hard to cover so much land area? Now I am dying and I only need a very small area to bury myself. ” This story is really similar with the journey of our life because most of us are always striving for richness, properties, possessions, power etc.

So we work harder and harder until we come to realized that all of these things are not necessary for living a happy and meaningful life; we must balance our way of living so that we could not missed something in life that might happen once. The next thing that I am going to share is all about the video clip that I watched; it’s about an old woman at the age of 47 and her name is Susan Boyle who joined in a certain show that searches for extraordinary talents namely Britain’s Got Talent.

During her performance, a big shock was made by Susan because at the beginning when she first introduced herself, everybody was against her like they are judging Susan of joining the show where she looks like so ordinary and nothing to show up but when she start on singing all where stunned by her angelic voice and they gave her a standing ovation but most importantly the three big yes from the strict juries. This gives us an insight that we must not judge the person’s appearance because you’ll never know what’s the biggest surprise that comes from within. God created us with equal gifts and we must use this as an inspiration to others.

This last article is a prayer entitled as “Mere Possessions”. It’s all about the prayer of a woman who asked a help from the Lord, asking that she might not put much stock in possessions because things don’t last and you cannot bring all of these things when you leave earth. That we come into the world with nothing, we leave with nothing. Having a meaningful life is about your choices and decisions that were made; just make sure you have chosen the right path because if you do then you’ll end walking along the pearly white gate and that is the fulfillment of having a meaningful life.

There is really no such thing as a secret of finding a meaning in life; it’s just you who will make it meaningful by doing what is right and just; live happy and be happy all the time because life is just too short, you might missed something so let’s make the most of it. Public education, it can be argued, shapes society, instils social mores and indoctrinates the impressionable with those philosophies the elites value. This essay will focus upon three main areas intrinsic to the education system.

These are the social reproduction of ideas, the life chances created and instilled through education, and the socialisation of the individuals undergoing the educational process. Two main sociological perspectives that are useful when studying the education system are Functionalism and Critical Theory, because they focus on macro issues and social structures more than the interactionist perspective. Functionalists believe that the school system is an agent of social reproduction, which operates to reproduce well integrated, fully functioning members of society (Webb, Schirato and Danaher, 2002: 114).

Critical theorists, conversely, hold that education is the most effective mechanism for promoting social change and for giving opportunities to less privileged groups so that they can advance their social standing. However, education usually reproduces existing social divisions, maintaining the relative disadvantage of certain groups (Webb, Schirato and Danaher, 2002: 106). Munro (1994: 108) describes the different approaches by stating that, “functionalists tend to see education as synonymous with socialisation, while a conflict theorist is inclined to view education as ideological- that is, reflecting the interests of particular groups.

” Functionalists hold that the major institution for social reproduction is the education system, whereas, from a critical perspective, teachers, who oversee this reproduction, have been made into administrators of programs that provide “manpower capitalisation” through planned and directed behavioural changes (Illich, 1973: 327). Illich (1973: 327) comments, from a critical perspective, that teaching and learning remain sacred activities separate and estranged from a fulfilling life.

This is because the things being taught do not line up with the necessary knowledge needed for life outside of education, and that “learning from programmed information always hides reality behind a screen” (Illich, 1973: 324). This means that the knowledge provided is set to a secret agenda. The learning process, which supposedly passes on the values and mores necessary in society to students, is not, however, meeting these needs effectively. Relevant information, that is, knowledge, which will add skills to the labour market, is becoming less practical and more theoretical, expanding the gap between study and work.

Regardless of this, employers and social elites have attempted to use the schools for the reproduction of compliant workers (Davis, 1999: 65). This double standard has been discussed in a best selling song, ‘The Wall’ by Pink Floyd (1978) in which they stated that the reproduction received through the school system was set to a hidden agenda, and that society would be better off without it. Drucker (1973: 236) equates the influx of educated people to the potential for producing wealth in any given country.

By stating this, educational socialisation and the development of educated people is the most important function education can have. He goes on to state that while this may be the case today, throughout history, being uneducated provided the wealth of a given nation, due to the class differences, and that education was for the rich and idle while the work was performed by the illiterate. This all changed with the Industrial Revolution, and the invention of moveable type in the 17th Century (Drucker, 1973: 232).

The moveable type meant that education could be performed at a reduced rate, and words became a commodity that was necessary for improving the quality of the labour force. Education is purported to provide the best possible life chances for its graduates, yet in reality, in many ways education diminishes these chances. Heinz (1987: 132) points out that the life chances of graduates are in a state of flux, that when the labour market is depressed and work is difficult to find, then young people will opt for more education as a means of delaying their entry into a tight work force.

“The school then takes on the function of a warehouse; it is a place to mark time. At the same time school acts as a socio-political instrument for reducing social and political conflict, and this function gains predominance over its main function of educating young people. ” In many cases the academic credentials earned are unnecessary for working-class jobs (Furlong and Cartmel, 1999: 12), which changes the focus of education, making it oppressive and irrelevant (Davis, 1999: 83).

Heinz (1987: 131) states “secondary school-leavers face a worsening outlook when they want to start in working life, and joining a preparatory program is increasingly becoming the only alternative to unemployment. ” There are a growing number of young people who are finding it harder to find a place, whose prospects on the labour market are poor, being qualified but underemployed, or drifting between unemployment and occasional jobs (Heinz, 1987: 131). This increases social inequalities and the gap between rich and poor.

By acting as a warehouse education is not preparing students for life but rather crippling their life chances. The alternative to this are to reassess the curricula and teaching methods, reintegrating skilled workers into vocational education, ensuring that knowledge will be of direct benefit to graduates in obtaining a place within the work force. There are fewer and fewer opportunities becoming available, and school leavers have to undergo more and more relevant vocational training. However, fewer school-leavers are able to go directly into the vocational training they want.

Heinz (1987: 130) noted a growing trend 16 years ago that “Depending on the region, only between one-third and one-half of these school leavers succeed in getting a training place”, and in 1994 Munro (1994: 109) observed that the “school-to-work transition” had failed which had major ramifications for everyone involved, causing “underemployment of school leavers” (Munro, 1994: 116). The seriousness of this trend is made even more apparent by the fact that school-leavers are even ready to enter apprenticeships that lead them into dead-end occupations (Heinz, 1987: 129).

Drucker (1973: 232) however, states that while this may be so, to be “uneducated is an economic liability and is unproductive,” even though education is producing an “unemployable, overeducated proletariat. ” (Drucker, 1973: 233) According to Mehan (1973: 240) education is a “major socialisation agency,” which moulds the individual’s self-concepts into a socially accepted format, allowing each individual to be slotted into a specific function (Sargent, 1994: 240). Sargent (1994: 240) points out that in the function of education “values are essentially involved” and are taught beside worldly knowledge.

However, this knowledge interprets the world, but does not necessarily correspond with any external state (Sargent, 1994: 232). The transmission of knowledge, skills and values, helps to sort and rank individuals, that they might be better placed in the labour market (Munro, 1994: 96). This raises a paradox, however, where education is seen by many as the best possible means of achieving greater equality in society (Sargent, 1994: 233), yet it categorises the graduates into job specifications, personality types and the opportunities granted to each.

Sargent (1994: 231) furthers this thought by explaining that the education system is an integral part of determining position and power in our society (Sargent, 1994: 231), and that through education the class structures are compounded, making it more difficult for those in the working classes from advancing in the social hierarchy. The education institution both absorbs and perpetuates the ideology, “masquerading as ‘knowledge’, which legitimises inequality” (Sargent, 1994: 231).

Regardless of the inequalities produced, it has become the “absolute prerequisite of social and economic development in our world” to have a highly educated pool of people ready for the labour market (Drucker, 1973: 232). In conclusion, the failure of the education system to reduce social inequality and produce better workers, raises serious doubts as to its effectiveness. Life chances created through education appear to be diminishing, despite the extension of education. The knowledge taught seems to be ineffective in preparing students to cope with life.

Functionalists need to reassess the structure of education, as it loses its ability to effectively provide for graduates, becoming dysfunctional in its goals to remove inequality and give a head start to people entering the work force. When looking at the education system, it is necessary to ask if the cost spent on educating people is being effectively used, considering the increasing number of educated poor. The gap between knowledge taught and life experience needs to be bridged, for education to effectively function.

If, as it appears, schools are to socialise and reproduce effective and functioning members of society, the curricula has to be addressed. Bibliography Davis, Nanette J. (1999). Youth Crisis: Growing up in the High Risk Society. Praeger Publications, Westport Drucker, Peter F. (1973). ‘The Educational Revolution’, Social Change: Sources, Patterns, and Consequences (2nd ed) Amitai Etzioni and Eva Etzioni-Halevy (Eds). Basic Books Inc. , New York. pp 232 – 238 Furlong, Andy, and Cartmel, Fred (1997). Young People and Social Change: Individualisation and Risk in Late Modernity. Open University Press, Buckingham Heinz, Walter R. (1987).

‘The Transition from School to Work in Crisis: Coping with Threatening Unemployment’, Journal of Adolescent Research (Vol 2). pp 127 – 141 Illich, Ivan (1973). ‘The Breakdown of Schools: A Problem or a Symptom’, Childhood and Socialisation Hans Peter Dreitzel (Ed). Macmillan Publishing Co. Inc. , Canada. pp 311 – 336 Mehan, Hugh (1973). ‘Assessing Children’s School Performance’, Childhood and Socialisation Hans Peter Dreitzel (Ed). Macmillan Publishing Co. Inc. , Canada. pp 240 – 264 Munro, Lyle (1994). ‘Education’, Society and Change: A Sociological Introduction to Contemporary Australia Brian Furze and Christine Stafford (Eds).

Macmillan Education Australia Pty. Ltd. , South Melbourne. pp 96 – 128 Pink Floyd (1978) ‘The Wall’, The Wall. Mushroom Records, California. Sargent, Margaret (1994). ‘Education – for equality? employment? emancipation? ‘, The New Sociology for Australians. Longman Cheshire Pty. Ltd. , Melbourne. pp 231 – 256 Webb, J. , Schirato, T. and Danaher, G. (2002). ‘Bourdieu and Secondary Schools’, Understanding Bourdieu pp 105 – 106 (Reprinted in Sociological Reflections on Everyday Life: GSC 1201 Reader). Allen and Unwin, Sydney. pp 227 – 238.


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