This essay will focus on the issue of social control by looking at and examining features of the curriculum and educational policy and practice. It will try to determine if education is used as a tool for social control by examining if these features are manipulated by the state for its own needs, or if it is affected by other factors. It will pay particular attention to the issues from a sociological standpoint and will attempt to link this standpoint to current educational practice and policies.
By saying that education is being used as a tool of social control would imply a complete adoption of extrinsic ideologies and practices carried out in education.
Indeed new educational discourse (which has emerged due to the side effects of globalisation) has seen with it an emergence of new managerialism and other market practices in educational institutions. This allows for flexibility, efficiency and responsiveness to the needs of the state but has also allowed quasi markets to form in education, which allow for intense central government control.
Cultures of Performativity have since emerged which influence curriculum content and teaching styles with its uses of targets, performance indicators and quality assurance systems (all of which regulate curriculum the control its distribution).
Teachers can now be monitored, course content kept tightly focused in its delivery (in order to meet targets) and performance indicators and tables used to ensure that ‘failing’ and ‘successful’ schools and teacher are identified.
This control means that central government can now enforce teaching styles, change course content, the curriculum itself, and can re-stratify areas of knowledge to suit its own needs through changes in policy and practice. An example of this can be seen in secondary education as the service sector of labour continues to expand. Here the curriculum has been modified to include such courses as leisure and tourism and other NVQ modules in an attempt...