ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Education as Agent of Change

Education as Agent of Change Philip G Altbach Education and Social Change by Edmund J King; Permagon Press, Oxford, THIS book is another product of the realisation by social scientists of the importance of education in social and political change and in economic development, Scholarly interest in the implications of education as an agent of change is a relatively recent phenomenon but the appearance of educational consultants, and the attention paid to education by such diverse agencies as the US Office of Economic Opportunity and the Ministry of Education of Indonesia testify to its importance as a means of social change. Edmund King's modest introductory volume attempts to place some of the key issues of education and social change in the cross;Cultura1 perspective. He links the changing school system to revolutionary developments taking place in almost every society, and seems to feel that education is an instrument of social change rather than an initiator of such change. King puts the "educational revolution" in a historical perspective. Nations first realised that education could be used as a conscious instrument of social policy in the early nineteenth century, when both revolutionary France and feudal Prussia harnessed education for their own purposes. Later, America and the Soviet Union used the school system for social purposes, in the former case to "mould a nation out of divergent immigrant groups'' and the latter to build the bases of a "socialist" society. The first non-Western nation to successfully harness education was Japan, which King only cursorily considers. The advancement of education in most nations was a long and often difficult process, as King points out. His detailed discussion of England's efforts to fully utilise education as an instrument of social policy shows that traditional views of education, divergent interest groups and classes within the society, and political forces all combined to slow educational progress.

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