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Identify FOUR Values that are associated with education in the Caribbean. Explain how these values have shaped your choices and behaviours. According to Emille Durkheim, “Education is the acquisition of knowledge and the learning of skills. It often helps to shape beliefs and moral values.” Education is one of the very tools through which social change and transformation can be achieved.
Education, and in particular the teaching of history provides a link between the student and society and also a sense of belonging. The teaching of history helps to shape an individual’s belief’s and values of what was taught and passed on through generations. For example, teaching a student about slavery and learning about how their ancestors revolted to claim their freedom can teach an individual to have a sense of pride in their history.
Durkheim believed that school serves as a function which cannot be provided by the family or peer group. Being a member of a family is based on relation and being part of a group of friends depends on choice but being a member of society lies in neither of these categories. School teaches individual’s to learn to interact and cooperate with people who are neither friend nor family; therefore, school provides the perfect atmosphere to acquire interaction skills. The school allows the students to interact under a fixed set of rules and these experiences allow the student to grow and prepare themselves for interaction with the wider society.
Durkheim also added that school rules must be enforced and punishments should me put in place where necessary. This in turn helps the student to learn that their act was wrong and would be able to exercise self- discipline not only to avoid punishment but because their action has done damage to that social system. “It is by respecting the school rules that the child learns to respect rules in general, that he/she develops the habit of self- control and restraint simply because he/she should control and restrain himself/herself.” Therefore the rules in schools help individuals to make the right choices and shape them as a person.
Education also teaches individuals certain skills that would be necessary for their future occupation which is usually in an industrial society with its increasing division of labour for example, a developing nation like Trinidad and Tobago which makes most revenue on oil would need more people to work in that sector such as engineers and rig workers. Individuals who wish to pursue this would need to study certain subjects such as physics or chemistry. In pre- industrial society it was common for parents could have passed on occupational skills to children without a need for formal education. Schools therefore, transmit both general values which provide the “necessary homogeneity for social survival”, and certain skills which make available the “necessary diversity for social cooperation”. Industrial society would therefore come together under “value consensus” which is a general agreement by members of society concerning what is good and worthwhile.
According to Talcott Parsons, schools socialize young people into the basic values of society. He maintained that value consensus is essential for society to operate effectively. Schools in the Caribbean instil major values such as the value of achievement and the value of equality of opportunity. Teachers encourage the students to strive for excellence in academics and reward those who succeed for example by the presentation of certificates or trophies. Therefore schools promote the value of achievement itself and by placing students in the same environment encourages them to compete against one another on equal terms for examinations thus the school promotes the value of equal opportunity.
There is no particular race, class or gender that can be given the opportunity to succeed anyone can achieve success through hard work. Parsons viewed the education system as an important factor for the selection of individuals for their future occupations and roles in society. The education system, “functions to allocate these human resources within the role- structure of adult society”. With “end of term” exam in secondary schools which evaluates a student’s progress, schools can then match an individual’s abilities and capacities for certain jobs. The school therefore is seen as a major means for role allocation.
In the Caribbean there are many religious affiliated schools which also help to shape an individual’s moral values by including religion periods at least once or twice a week. By the teaching of religious beliefs and values to students, it helps to shape them as an individual by deciding what is right and what is wrong and sticking to their convictions. For example in the Roman Catholic schools, students may be taught about the Ten Commandments and learn that it is wrong to go against it. Some may adapt to these beliefs and some may not but by learning about it they know not to stray to far from the norm.
In conclusion, those who conform to the Caribbean society’s values of education will be ranked highly and will be likely to receive positive sanctions. They will be rewarded with high prestige because they exemplify and personify what the society expects of them. High position will vary from society to society, in the Caribbean, society values individual achievement and “puts primary emphasis on productive activity within the economy”. Therefore those who have achieved with their own initiative will be successful.