Education can be described as the method whereby society continually passes on the knowledge it has gain from pass generations to the next or future generation. It is centered around and entails the teaching of the three R’s, which includes: arithmetic’s, reading and writing but also encompass social, spiritual, moral and physical component. It is viewed as a secondary agent of socialization as it socializes individuals into the norms and acceptable behaviors of society.
Functionalist view education as having many roles but are interested mainly in how education meets society needs. They believe that one of its major roles being to equip individuals with intellectual knowledge. Functionalist also believes that besides it most obvious role of passing on society’s knowledge, education also has other latent roles that affects the individual on a holistical level and is reflective of society values, beliefs and norms. According to Durkheim individuals learn to socialize with one another within the schools through the integration of people from all diversity of society and this he believes is one of the latent roles of education, which he also call “moral education”. Besides this, functionalist believes that education have other latent or subtle roles that are used to instill in individuals values that stem from political and economic system and as a result help them build their self-confidence and prepares them for meeting society demands. For example, independence is taught through individualism.
Functionalist also, believe that sorting (separating students on the basis of merit) another function of the school is essential in determine from early on who is capable of doing what and what job they will be better suited to in the future. The next function to take place after this is networking, they believe this function facilitates matchmaking and is unavoidable within the schools