Education is one of the most prominent factor of social change. It plays a pivotal role in social change. Education helps to develop a change in the attitude and outlook of man, which in return contributes to social change. In earlier days also it was the educational institutions and teachers which transmitted the way of life to the students. At that time, education was a tool to exert social control. At that time, education imparted was meant to make the students a socially responsible citizen.
Things have changed now. Today’s age is an age of science and technology. New inventions have brought about rapid changes in the societies all over the world. It has brought about changes in social relationship also; Earlier man could not travel from one place to another due to lack of means of transport. But today travelling has become very easy due to different means of transport. This has reduced the gap among the people of various countries. Again, inventions like television brings the whole world into one’s drawing room. All these changes are because of modern education.
“Education brings about changes in the behavior of society” says Brown. It enables as individual to participate in the activities of the society effectively and also to make contributions in a positive direction for its progress. In the words of Drucker, “highly educated man has become the central resource of today’s society and the supply of such men is the true measure of its economic, military and even its political potential.”
Education can help the people to become conscious socially, politically, economically, culturally etc. It also helps an individual to think critically about any problem and then develops in him a craving for change. Again it is also an instrument of broadening the outlook of man, thereby, making him readily accept changes in the society.
Education as an agent of social change acts as the accelerating factor in the process:
Again, Prof. V.R. Taneja, says that education mainly performs three functions-
1. Preservation of culture
2. Transmission of culture to the new generations
3. Dissemination of new knowledge keeping in view the already existing culture.
education as an instrument of social change must be able to remove social barriers in the path of nation’s growth, it must be able to bring down the rate of illiteracy, it must be above to act as an instrument of social reconstruction and develop a truly democratic society where people exert their freedom of thought and expression.
The Education Commission of 1964-66 in this regard opines as, “If this change on a grand scale is to be achieved without violent revolution (and even then it would still be necessary) there is one instrument, and one instrument only, that can be used: Education other agencies may help, and can indeed sometimes have a more apparent impact. But the national system of education is the only instrument that can reach all the people. It is not, however, a magic wand to wave wishes into existence. It is a difficult instrument whose effective use requires strength of will, dedicated work and sacrifice. But it is a sure and tried instrument, which has served other countries well in their struggle for development. It can, do so for India.”
Education as an instrument of social change with special reference to India
India is still an underdeveloped country. On one hand still it has a huge population of illiterate people who do not want to accept any new change coming. They are very much traditional and conservative. they do not want to forgo their ancient tradition, rituals, beliefs, customs, values, etc.
On the other hand, we have the literate section who are ready to accept changes as their outlooks have broadened due to education. These people try to adjust with the new changes coming up taking in account our traditional values, beliefs and culture. Studies conducted by several educationists like Malik Y.K. and Marquethe Jese F. (1974), Pandey R.S. (1977) on the impact of education on the thinking of the people have proved that education indeed was a powerful instrument of bringing about attitudinal changes in individual changes in individuals. It has also changed the outlook of the youths.
As expected, education has also been able to preserve and transmit our cultural heritage from one generation to another. Today we find that the new singers and artists try to develop something new, missing with the old. This helps the new generation to know about their past and also in its preservation.
Rise in literacy rate have made our people more aware of their surroundings as literacy helps to read sign boards, newspapers, governmental schemes, names on cans, bottle etc. It also creates self confidence in them to move to unknown places. Rise in literacy rate will also ensure that the future generations will be well education as the parents who are literate will surely send their children to school. this can help in bringing about a great social change.
Again, people in India, who are highly educated understand the value of small family norms and do not give birth to more than a child or two.
This will help in decrease of the population, which in turn will lead to the development of the country.