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Education Notes

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Education Revision

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Education Country File Education utilised for both the forces of change and conservatism. French mobilise education for progressive ends, Russians for institutional control. Also possibility for hybrid systems based on conservative values but mobilised for modernising ends. Implementation important: top down or bottom up initiatives Liberals saw society as needing to be open to the power of money and merit - education to decide status, and allow for social mobility between classes. Key belief: leaving the masses in ignorance more dangerous than allowing them freedom of thought, education a 'safety valve' for social pressures (republicans too saw education as a cornerstone of society). For conservatives, the idea that men could read newspapers and form political opinions seen as a major threat to the hierarchy especially with increasing demands for universal suffrage (France one of the earliest to grant it in 1848) Trends with education at this time of enlightenment rationale, self improvement, progression and civilising of the mind eg Protestant ethic focused on reading the bible and rejecting intermediaries in order to contact the divine. However, the extent to which such trends took place on a large scale in society impossible to pinpoint. Could also be interpreted that education preserved existing distributions of power by indoctrinating those under their control with a subservient ethic (Eklof), controlled and shaped the population. Links too with industrialisation, Cipolla's theory: no matter how excellent an educational institution, bound to become obsolete in modern society if hampered by traditionalism, generally a correlation between how industrialised a country is and how progressive its education system is. Later phases of industrialisation needed skilled labour, branches where technological skill for example vital - engineers for railways. Education contributed directly to industrial performance by improving the technical quality of the labour force but correlation could also be detrimental eg pace of urbanisation in England too fast and chaotic and in fact inhibiting educational advance in British society (children flow into factories as work hands, no protection/right to education at this time). In general, in the early stages industrialisation a hindrance rather than a promoter of education, but as the century wore on, on the continent especially, correlation between industrialisation and laws which channelled a growing proportion of wealth into the education of children. Literacy too an important factor to the development of the education system and thus the forces of progressivism. Advent of mass literacy heralded major changes in the peasant mind and rural society as cognitive growth and independent, abstract thought inspired by reading served to widen the intellectual horizons of a traditionally inward looking class. Peasants now became more curious about life beyond their localities, optimistic about progress, and more receptive to science and innovation (reflected in influx into towns). Important to be careful with the term 'literacy', could be as basic as the ability to write one's own name at this time, figures not necessarily correlate with spread of mass education, needs qualification with other data. As late as 1841 33% of all Englishmen and 44% of women signed marriage certificates with their mark as they were unable to write. Government financed education in Eng only available in limited form from the 1870s. Gellner argues European continents more successful in implementing reform because govs more willing to invest. Also, not until mid century that paper and books financially affordable to all classes of industrialised society.

Also ability to read and ability to write very different eg 1686 church law in Sweden enforced literacy on the people, 100% of people roughly knowing how to read by 1800, and yet those who could write did not grow and this form of illiteracy persisted well into the 19th century. Must also be remembered that in rural societies especially, capacity for a child to work rather than to learn and get an education more important at this time. After abolition of serfdom gradual changes that convince the peasantry of the importance of literacy eg paperwork for conducting their own lands. Also, growth of well off peasantry (kulaks) due to benefits of improved agriculture and markets at this time meant that rather than subsistence farming, peasants were looking further to other pursuits such as education, and had more time and resources to engage in them. Conscripts too as returning to their villages and bringing back with them education that they were given at the front such as literacy skills. Major revs in the period (Eng, French, Russian) took place when countries approached a threshold of 50% literacy (Cipolla), precondition of modern economic devel as the written word more able to rally the masses. Ripple effect, restructuring. After industrial revs especially, illiteracy seen as a national disgrace (Cipolla), demand for literate workers increased along with progression of technology. Upsurge in schooling as replacing the mores of the traditional family with a modern world view - a decisive factor in social progress as literacy revolutionised the education system, brought larger chunks of society towards opportunities for self-improvement and progress. Compulsory education introduced in Britain, France, Italy. In England has been witnessed that literacy and modernization disassociated, rise of mass literacy proceeded that of industrialisation and that in fact in the early stages of industrialisation there was a decline of literacy. Sweden too developed mass literacy in the 17th without gov intervention and well before urbanisation or industrialisation. Literacy as one aspect of a complex socio-cultural reality, not easy to analyse what prompts societies to enact change eg Scotland a rate of literacy in 1859 that England did not reach until 1886 and yet poorer and less industrialised. Sweden too in the same position in comparison to England despite being poorer/less equipped. Concepts of conservatism and progress in education not mutually exclusive ideas, some systems retained elements of both, ancien regime and its years of tradition could not just be removed especially in the majority of European societies whereby even the move towards more liberal political trends were still under the dominance of paternalistic hierarchies. At its core, education had progressive elements that posed a huge threat to the society that conservatives were attempting to preserve, detracted from an obedient, unquestioning populace, far more likely and able to fight for their own interests and make men 'aware of their chains' (Eklof). Education as inevitably leading to meritocracy, the university a symbol of the lack of importance of class rank and wealth (as it was essentially introduced as a state educational organisation). German university model especially spread round the world, decreased influence of the church and more liberal in composition, concentrated on science and increasingly accessible to the masses. Weber also noted the correlation between education and strengthening of the national spirit in binding society together, reducing crime and thus expenditure on punishment.

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