The role of education as an agent or instrument of social change and social development is widely recognised today. Social change may take place- (i) When human needs change…
(ii) When the existing social system or network of social institutions fail to meet the existing human needs, and (iii) When new materials suggest better ways of meeting human needs.—Social changes do not take place automatically or by themselves.
As MacIver says, social change takes place as a response to many types of changes that take place in the social and non-social environment. Education can initiate social changes by bringing about a change in outlook and attitude of man. It can bring about: a change in the pattern of social relationships and thereby it may cause social changes.
There was a time when educational institutions and teachers were engaged in transmitting a way of life to the students. During those days, education was more a means of social control than an instrument of social change.
Modern schools, colleges and universities do not place much emphasis; upon transmitting a way of life to the students. The traditional education was meant for an unchanging, static society, not marked by rapid changes.
But today, education aims at imparting empirical knowledge that is, knowledge about science, technology and other type of specialised knowledge. Education was associated with religion.
It has, however, become secular today. It is an independent institution now. Education today has been chiefly instrumental in preparing the way for the development of science and technology.
Education has brought about phenomenal changes in every aspect of man’s life. Francis J. Brown remarks that education is a process which brings about changes in the behaviour of society.
It is a process which enables every individual to effectively participate in the activities of society, and to make positive contribution to the progress of society.