Education as a social phenomenon is a relatively separate system whose function is systematic teaching and nurturing members of society. Education is targeted at mastering certain knowledge (ideological and scientific particularly), in addition to skills, abilities, rules of conduct – all that is eventually defined by socioeconomic, political order and state of technology.
It’s important to note the role of education in our society: in addition to training managing personnel and labor force for economic performance, such social institution is aimed at increasing income and, consequently, human opportunities, making life more interesting, meaningful and happy. Also, education can be considered as a substantial benefit for improving health, increasing life expectancy, protecting the environment and combating social inequality.
Why education is important ?
Despite the inconsistency in interpretation on the structure of human capital, all experts agree to the enormous value of education for society. Some researchers tried to separate the impact of education on income growth from other factors, such as state of health, abilities, social origin. The results that different researchers came to were very close: combined the impact of all factors, excepting education, on average income was about 40%, consequently, 60% of person’s earnings were up to education.
There are 2 ways of how education influences social life, they can be defined as economic and sociopolitical. Let’s take a look at each aspect.
Economic growth is impossible without constantly growing educational level of employees. Moreover, high level of education benefits financial situation of individuals (access to high-paying job) and of whole society (highly educated and qualified labor enhances effectiveness of production).
Sociopolitical aspect of educational impact aims to provide social equality and labor mobility. Only equal access to democratized quality education can ease social tension and give each citizen chance of a decent standard of living. From that point of view, increasing of government allocations for education is a proper way of investing public resources.
Education through its cultural and nurturing functions influences the health of society. In Europe were conducted research, showing a correlation between the level of education and longevity. According to results, that reliance exists due to social factors, since educational level directly affects the nature of work, the range of needs, lifestyle.
Internationalization of education
Like other social institutions in the globalization process, education is becoming open for international cooperation. Internationalization relates not only to exchange of pedagogical experience, but also to common socioeconomic and cultural events unfolding worldwide. These include:
growing and diversifying international economic links;
new technologies making possible for information to get to any place on the planet;contemporary problems of humanity.
Internationalization of education is facilitated by new trends in world politics, such as the widespread idea of free market, a universality of human rights and values.
In European Union the process of internationalization of higher education is taking on the characteristics of a new phase – integration, which is demonstrated by creating the political and legal superstructure of the integrational system. Clearly, that international integration in education, as in other areas, is a complicated, controversial and lengthy process. Moreover, many problems associated with the delegation of authorities and functions from national to supranational level are very difficult to resolve.
There are 5 principles of global education defined by Robert Hanvey:
nurturing open-mindedness, tolerance and equal treatment for each value and point of view; focusing attention on global problems, awareness of the connection between each other and nature; promoting respect for different cultures, ability to engage in dialogue, understanding the value of culture and its diversity; forming of systematic way of thinking, deep understanding the nature of different systems, including political;
developing the ability of finding personal motivation in any kind of activity.
Learning throughout life
All processes in the educational area in EU and USA result from a number of factors related with the transition to the postindustrial society based on knowledge or, as it called, lifelong learning society. Requirements of the new paradigm of social development led to formulating the strategy of lifelong education aiming at providing opportunities for professional and personal growth for citizens.
Lifelong learning means any targeted continuous studying in order to improve knowledge, skills and competencies.
There are 3 types of lifelong learning:formal learning provided by educational institutions of different types, it’s planned out in accordance with its objectives and concludes with issuing of a certificate; spontaneous learning during day-to-day work or personal time, it’s not structured according to purposes, duration or assistance, it doesn’t provide with certificate; informal learning doesn’t take place in educational institutions nor provides with the certificate, however, it’s structured according to objectives, duration and assistance.
With the growth of the Internet, formal as well as informal distant education have become available for more than half of the world’s population, connecting students with institutions worldwide. Now the web is a space for exchanging information, where any student can find source material for study research, buy argumentative essay or other types of assignments.
Nowadays our world is globalizing slowly but surely. Physical and information borders are dissolving, setting a new direction in development. We’re moving from industrial to the service-oriented economy, where benefits of education to society are still essential. The dialectical relationship between society and education is still strong: growing people’s demands require a new approach to education that, in turn, influences society and prepares it for changes to come.