Assess the Marxist View of the Role of

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Sample 20 mark question

Assess the Marxist view of the role of education (20 marks)

Marxists view society as based on conflict. They believe that the role of all institutions in society can be understood in terms of how they relate to the economic system.

They therefore see the education system as an institution which reproduces the class system and provides the economy with a suitable workforce. The labour force needs professional and managerial workers, as well as skilled and unskilled manual workers. According to Marxists, the role of the education system is to provide workers for every part of the economy.

Support for this Marxist view comes from Bowls and Gintis who highlight a strong correspondence between what is learnt in schools and what is required in workers for the Capitalist system. For example, they found that in school the pupils who succeed the most are obedient and unquestioning, rather than independent and inquisitive. Bowles and Gintis believe that these qualities are valued in workers as they will accept the authority of their employers, and not question their orders.

Bowles and Gintis believe that the content of the curriculum is not very important and that pupils learn most from the ‘hidden curriculum’, that is; the experience of being in school e.g. getting used to doing boring things for the reward of the qualification etc.

However Bowles and Gintis have been criticised mainly because they did not actually conduct any research in schools. Also some critics question how the Capitalist system survived before the introduction of the Education system, as in the past only U.C children would have the experience of attending school.

Further support for this Marxist view comes from Willis. Willis studied a group of 12 working class boys during the last year of their education and the first few months of their…...

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