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The Functions of Education

Education plays a very important role in our lives. Since the start of civilization, it has proven to serve some manifest and latent functions. From the functionalist point of view, manifest functions basically include providing information and skills while latent functions serve to improve other aspects other than the cognitive one. However, recent trends in education gradually consider some latent functions as manifest functions. In addition, these trends identify more and more functions now than ever before. Education primarily serves to educate (Leon-Guerrero 90) or to inform.

The moment the child enters school, parents express an implicit expectation to have their child learn the basics of Math, Science, Language, etc. Therefore, based on curriculum standards, a preschooler is expected to learn the alphabet, the parts of the body, and so on. Later, as the student enters upper levels, higher levels of thinking are honed, including inferring, analyzing, and critiquing in order to prepare the child for the next levels of learning. Aside from cognitive aspects, education also improves the physical aspects of an individual. In the lower levels, a child is given motor exercises to write, play, jump, leap, etc.

while in the upper levels, students are allowed to play sport, which does not only help improve physical faculties but teach them how to go by the rules, and improve other aspects of their personality. Given these roles, education improves abilities of students, and prepares them for future challenges in life. In line with the main function to educate, education also serves a number of manifest functions including monitoring skills and academic performance, keeping records of performance or assessment, and in higher education, preparing students for future employment (Sanyal 8; Hyland 121).

It is the function of every school to provide evidentiary documents to show how much a child has achieved in each curriculum level. These records will prove readiness of the student for the next school level, and later provide bases for employment purposes. Latent functions of education include those that promote the overall aspects of the individual, not covered but directly linked to the cognitive and physical aspects. Leon-Guerrero claims that as parents send their children to school, there is the implicit expectation for the school to act as a “public baby sitter” (90).

This function includes protecting the child against all harms, physical, psychological, emotional, etc. In addition, Hayes (in Hyland 123) identifies another function of education, which is the therapeutic function. This function covers the role of the school to develop emotional intelligence, which implies securing the emotional, psychological, and behavioral needs of every individual. To date, issues have been raised regarding therapeutic education becoming the norm in the present system.

Considering the therapeutic role of education, the school is often imbued with the burden to provide service not only to the student enrolled, but also to the whole family as well. For instance, while school counselors give advice and guidance to students suffering from emotional torment due to parents’ divorce, they s/he also provide recommendations and assistance to parents, and refer them to relevant institutions that can help them resolve issues.

In the same way, cases of learning disabilities require the school to assess and endorse students to government-affiliated organizations and other institutions to help address the needs of students. In such case, the school psychologist acts as the middle man to bridge the gap between clients and service organizations. In some cases, the school also serves to provide financial assistance to students. In accordance with federal laws, students in public schools are given free meals to help in their nourishment.

Other services to ensure health are also provided, thus alleviating parents’ financial difficulties in supporting their children. Works Cited Hyland, Terry. “Mindfulness and the Therapeutic Aims of Education. ” Journal of Philosophy of Education, 43 (1), 2009, pp. 119-131. Leon- Guerrero. “Social Problems. ” Pine Forge, 2005; p. 90. Sanyal, Bikas. “New functions of higher education and ICT to achieve education for all. 2001. 19 June 2009 <http://www. literacy. org/PDFs/UTLPsanyal. pdf>.

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