Define Society as a system and Education as a sub-system of society.

Society as a System:

A social system basically consists of two or more individuals interacting directly or indirectly in a bounded situation. There may be physical or territorial boundaries, but the fundamental sociological point of reference is that the individuals are oriented, in a whole sense, to a common focus or inter-related foci. Thus, it is appropriate to regard such diverse sets of relationships as small groups, political parties and whole societies as social systems.

Social systems are open systems, exchanging information with, frequently acting with reference to other systems. Modern conceptions of the term can be traced to the leading social analysts of the 19th century, notably Auguste Comte, Karl Marx, Herbert Spencer and Emile Durkheim each of whom elaborated in some form or other conceptions of the major units of social systems (mainly societies) and the relationships between such units even though the expression social system was not a key one.

Education as a Sub-system of Society:

Education is a sub-system in the wider social system. Some of these systems include education boards, institutes, colleges and schools. Education is responsible for the transfer of skills and knowledge from one person to the other.

It has linkages with the economic, political, religious, and other sub-systems which exert powerful influence on the goals and instrumentalities of the educational sub-system on the one hand and on its autonomy on the other. Education can rarely free itself from social and cultural norms and has to relate itself to the ferments within the society.

The educational sub-system is not the only agency offering education, to begin with, the domestic group, the neighborhood, and the peer group has important educational roles and the educational process continues beyond the formal school stage through books, mass media, cultural, political, and religious intercourse and interpersonal contacts of a wide variety. The formal education system has to take account of early socialization and has to anticipate future educational processes.

The characteristics of education as a social sub-system:

  • It helps to turn society in the right direction.
  • Education system emerges as a final outcome of the working and dynamics of different institutions of society.
  • Educations become the essential agent in building social individualism.
  • Educational institutions provide one to interact with the people from the other castes and culture.

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