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A look at culture through education

There is an ongoing debate about whether the distinction between culture and education is as discrete as many make it to be. The logical approach is to have a clear idea of these two concepts to determine if they do relate and perhaps overlap. It is, therefore, essential to nail the basic definitions.

Culture is defined as the unique way of life of an organized community or society. This social heritage encompasses:

  • Language spoken.
  • Belief systems and religions.
  • Customs followed by the members.
  • Arts.

The elements formerly mentioned, including others, are built on patterns of responses that the members have formed and propagated from their interactions. Strictly speaking, culture is the window through which one views the world.

On the other hand, education is simply the process of imparting and acquiring knowledge. It entails disseminating the social and cultural values to new members of society. This is to ensure that the culture lives on. We can, therefore, conclude that education is, indeed, part of the culture. 

The pursuit of formal education in modern society is considered an essential aspect of life. The educational process creates the basis through which our cultural views are shaped nowadays. Education, hence, is seen to have a significant impact on our learned aspects of culture.

This article seeks to highlight a couple of ways in which education has influenced culture. It, essentially, looks to shed light on the intersection and correlation between these two concepts.

Maintaining Culture

Culture is the heart of a society. It is what makes everything tick seamlessly. For this immense reason, culture needs to be preserved from erosion or assimilation. Education strives to preserve social heritage by inculcating traditions, values, customs, arts, etcetera to new members of the society.

Education ensures that each new generation is imparted with all the relevant knowledge of the society to which they belong. It is then able to preserve the essential elements of a society’s heritage.

Continuation of Culture

Education is also mandated to ensure that culture is transmitted from one generation to the other. This is achieved by handing down the preexisting experiences and practices onto the subsequent generation. Education employs various programs to ensure that this continuity is maintained. Hence, culture is assured of survival as its people progress.

If you picked up any random anthropological custom writing, you are likely to have come across the hypothetical bleakness of humanity without culture. Therefore, we can ascribe our united fronts and progressive human relationships to culture. Suffice it to say; education then becomes the vessel through which social values and ideals are transmitted to young capable members of a given society.

Culture Promotion

This concept might somewhat overlap with the preservation and transmission of culture. However, the promotion of culture delineates the capability to modify certain practices according to changes in societal needs and demands. In the modern-day, highlighted by cross-cultural variables, this is an essential hallmark of a progressive society.

The modifications are achieved by replacing and reshaping cultural forms that are outdated and outmoded. Therefore, education plays the crucial progressive function of redefining human experiences continually for culture promotion and enrichment.

Diffusion of Culture

Education plays an integral role in bringing different cultures together through effective means. Through education, learners can conceptualize human culture as one single entity. Consequently, they can be cognizant and appreciative of the different groups and their cultures.

More so, education also helps in imparting modern cultural values that transcend different groups. These include peace, unity, love, appreciation of others, co-operation, etcetera. Such endeavors seek to ensure that we as humans move forward united rather than divided.

Eliminating Cultural Lag

Cultural lag is a recent concept that seeks to address the disconnect between material culture and non-material culture. The disconnect arises as a result of the difference in pace at which either form is advancing. In modern society, rapid growth in science and technology has vastly advanced material culture, such as our machines, clothes, and buildings. However, non-material aspects of culture, such as beliefs, norms, and values, are still lagging behind in contrast.

Education is, therefore. Stepping in to bridge the rather apparent gap. Through various programs and activities, education becomes the means for social change and the progress of humankind as a civilization.

From several different perspectives, it is crystal clear that education and culture are interwoven. The relationship between both can be seen in both complementary and supplementary aspects. They play a critical role in ensuring that we progress ahead successfully. While also appreciating where from and how far we have come thus far.