EDUCATION

Government Policies & Marxist Attitudes to Education

Government Policies & Marxist Attitudes to Education

Government policies

  • Schools’ admission policies: Some schools, usually the higher achieving ones, are able to select its intake. This can often work in favour of the middle classes and against those from disadvantaged backgrounds.
  • Equal opportunities policies were introduced to tackle such problems. The Sex Discrimination Act and the Race Relations Act made it illegal for educational institutions to discriminate against people on the basis of colour or sex.
  • National League tables were introduced to breed competition between schools. This can encourage schools to place emphasis on pupils likely to achieve the desired A-C grades and to neglect pupils less likely to do so.

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Marxist attitudes to education

Marxists are not so positive in their outlook. Marxists see the world as split into two categories: the ruling class who exploit, and the working class who are exploited. They see education as just another way the ruling class exercise their control. They do this by

Breeding competition: Capitalism is based on a system of competition. Through sports and exams, pupils acquire the spirit of competition and so maintain the driving force behind capitalism.
Reproducing the class system: On the surface education seems to reward pupils for their success. In reality those achieving success are usually from the higher social groups. In this way the class system is reproduced and pupils begin to believe that this is the natural order.
Maintaining the interests of the ruling classes: Schools pass on capitalist values (i.e. work hard and be rewarded) and so serve the system favoured by the ruling class.