Discuss How Education as a Social Institution Impacts on Caribbean Society and Culture

According to the Microsoft office dictionary, education is the system of formal teaching and learning as conducted in schools and other institutions. According to Microsoft Student with the Encarta Premium 2009 a society is a structured community of people bound together by similar traditions, institutions or nationality.
Culture, also defined by Encarta, is the patterns of behavior and thinking that people in social groups, learn, create and share.It includes their beliefs, rules of behavior, language, rituals, art, technology, styles of dress, way of producing and cooking food, religion, and political and economic system. An institution, as stated by the Microsoft office dictionary, is an important organization, that is, a large organization that is influential in the community, e. g. a college, hospital or bank. The word social as used in this case maybe defined as, the way in which people relate to and interact with each other.Therefore, if education is to be seen as a form of social institution , it means then that education as a social institution would an important and influential organization in a community in which people are also able to interact with each other.
Then, if it is influential it then means that it would impact to ones society and culture to a greater extent. Thus I think Education, as a social institution impacts on the Caribbean society in both a positive and a negative way.This will be discuss in the proceeding paragraphs, in which the positive impacts of education as a social institution on the Caribbean culture and society will be discussed first followed by the negatives. From about the age of three, children start to attend pre-school, where they learn to count, say their national anthem and pledge. They also learn the common courtesies such as, please, thank you, excuse, I am sorry, yes sir, yes miss etc. , and what this (education) does is to instill in them from an earlier age to respect not only authority but their peers.Also from this tender age they already are interacting and relating to each other.

Thus, in term of Caribbean society it impacts on it in a positive light. As it, from an early age teaches them to relate to each other fairly. Education also impacts on the society in another positive way, where say, every year you have students graduating from pre-school to basic school, from basic school to primary school, from primary school to high school, from high school to tertiary institutions, and finally from tertiary institutions into the world of work.So what this is doing is annually ensuring that persons have a chance in the ‘long run’ to ‘climb the social ladder’. Another example where education as a social institution impacts positively on the Caribbean society is where from an early age such as in primary, secondary and tertiary institutions students are able to develop leadership qualities where they are able to become monitors, prefects, presidents, vice presidents, PRO etc. , of clubs and society. So it not only develops them academically but as an end-product the society gets someone that is ‘well rounded.
In everything, there are advantages and there are also disadvantages. One of the disadvantages of the education as a social institution is that due to the fact that the different social institutions are linked together in some way, a breakdown in one would have a toll on the other. So, where we now have a breakdown in the family which is also seen as a social institution this will be carried over into schools which are the primary and most important vehicle for education being a social institution. This breakdown is carried over into the schools by the same students who happen to be apart of that breakdown in the family.This breakdown is like a virus which will eventually be acquired by some students which will lead right back into the society and hence its breakdown. Another negative to education being a social institution is that adequate space, if any, is not made for persons who are termed to be slow learners and so they are left behind because they cannot keep up with the ‘bright minds’ hence they can’t pass the exams which determine there future, thus they cannot climb the social ladder, which leads to them coming out to nothing good, probably robbers and gunmen if they have the opportunity.In terms of culture there are also positive and negative impacts caused by education as a social institutions.
Some of the positives are that from an early age we start learning about our culture. Where from basic school we are taught our heroes and heroine. By the time we got to primary school we learned about slavery and the hardship that our ancestors had to endure. But due to their resilience came freedom. We were also told stories and folk songs of our and ancestors and other things that were apart of the culture.Also, for example in Jamaica, we have what is called Jamaica Day and this entails reenactments of the past and the preparation of cultural dishes which seems to be slipping away. So what this (education as a social institution) is basically preserving our culture by placing it in the school curriculum.
One of the negatives of education as a social institution is that once a person get ‘too educated’ they sort of abandon some of their cultural aspects such as their language ( Creole) and sort of adapt to a ‘better language’ or the language of the ‘upper class’.Also they are taught in school that if you speak Patois you talk badly, or you are stigmatized, the belong to the lower class. So persons are taught from an early age that they should not speak Creole because if you do it shows that you belong to a certain class. So these are some of the ways in which education as a social institution affects the Caribbean culture negatively. In concluding, it can be stated that education as a social institution has a more positive impact on the Caribbean society and culture rather than a more negative one. As it is clearly seen that the positives out number the negatives.

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