Education or also referred to as learning, teaching or schooling is a social institution which refers to the actions depicted by a teacher or educator by which a person, usually a child, is trained in the skills and values of the previous generations in which all the accumulated knowledge they gained is carried over to the learner (Wikipedia). Another definition or explanation for education is that it is a process of teaching, training and learning which generally takes place within schools and or colleges in order to improve knowledge and to develop skills (Dictionary) Therefore from these definitions for the institution of education we can conclude that the main aim or goal in education is to enable people to live a prosperous and good live (Brighouse, 2006:15).
The view on education is different for the different disciplines which study this institution. The discipline of Sociology is basically concerned with the role education as institution has on the management and maintenance of the society. (Joubert & Snyman 2011 :15)
As we concluded in the previous paragraphs, the aim of education is to help or enable people to become literate. To be literate in general means that a person is able to read and write which in pre-modern times was basically all that was needed to have a sustainable and prosperous live. As times changes various other aspects of humanity change as well, including education. One of the main reasons for the drastic and quick changes in education is the continuing development and improvement of information communication technologies or in short ICTs. Future funding also plays a huge role in the changing nature of education worldwide. (Giddens, 2006:870)
Before the mid 19’s the role of the church was not only to spiritually care for people but also to educate them. The church was unable to provide in the educational needs of everybody which had the effect that only a few people in positions such as priesthood or business owners were literate. (Joubert & Snyman 2011 :16) When the industrial era dawned the need for specialised skills emerged and this brought about the onset of mass education which was then the task of the government. Therefore the definition of mass education is the education that is provided for all the people within the country by the government.
The industrial era brought a great amount of change in the nature of education but the basic aim was still the same, to make people literate, but the extent to which a person should be literate was greatly enlarged. It is also noted that more recently more students are enrolling at higher education institutes which is evident that the need for specialised knowledge has yet again increased. (Joubert & Snyman 2011 :15-17)
With the onset of mass education the governments saw that there was a need for venues and institutions which were specifically designed and equipped to educate people. (Giddens, 2006:870) This onset was the driving force for the building of schools, from which we can now distinguish between pre-schools, primary schools, high schools, colleges and universities as well as various other educational institutions which specialise in different disciplines or skills. All of these educational ventures has the same basic curriculum and point of view.
Authored by Willie Trytsman