Education is the process of imparting or acquiring general knowledge with an aim of developing powers of reasoning and judgement, preparing people for intellectual life. Basically, it is the process of learning and or facilitating learning. Social change is the variation of the accepted mode of life, whether due to geographical conditions, cultural change or population composition. Education helps perpetuate eternal values, promotes capacity to welcome social change, controls and modifies thoughts of new generations and also creates social awakening.
Education widens our area of knowledge and our scopes of thinking. When people learn new things, their thinking changes. They start viewing issues from a different perspective, which in most cases is positive. For example, on environmental issues, an educated person will see the need to save forests while a person who lacks education will cut down trees without knowing the impact that small act has on the environment.
Education enlightens people. It opens our minds and hence enables us to initiate and push for much needed social change, especially in situations where our normal behaviors are harmful to us or to the people or environment around us. It creates awareness against social evils. For example, in most African societies, female genital mutilation was the norm. As harmful as it was, it was still done just because it was the culture of the people. When people were educated on the dangers of the act, most Africans left the practice and started advocating for change and laws against the act. This is a perfect example on how education brings social change.
Education prepares people for social change. It promotes capacity to welcome social change. During the learning process, we get to interact with new concepts and ideas which help to remove our mental reservations on certain issues. With this reservations removed, we start to live and act differently. Years ago, women had no say on certain issues such as politics, religion and education and they were treated as inferior to their male counterparts. Education has therefore empowered women and enlightened men on the importance of gender equality, hence promoting equality among the masses.
Through education, we get to interact with people from different backgrounds and cultures hence promoting cohesiveness. It promotes national and international understanding. This is part of the social change process whereby people who initially did not interact with people from other cultures get to interact with those people and learn and appreciate their cultures. For example, education has enabled people from different races to interact and live together peacefully by getting rid of stereotypes. This was not the case years before because of segregation due to color and this is a positive change in the society.
Education cultivates virtues such as teamwork and cooperation which leads to divergent thinking. Teamwork is important in the development of the society since several people working together have a greater chance of coming up with great ideas which when put into practice help shape our society. For instance, in Ancient Greece education brought together several thinkers who in turn came up with great ideas for inventions and public laws which are still applicable in our current society.
In conclusion, education is the major key for social change. Education has been and will always be a big part of social change and it affects our lives daily. It helps us embrace new ideas, discard harmful practices and improve our societies.