Functionalism investigates institutions to consider the functions they perform in society. The functionalist premise is that if an institution exists, then there must be some reason for its existence. As regards education, functionalists assume that educational institutions serve some societal need. Educational institutions are examined for the positive contribution they make towards maintaining society. Education is seen as vital as regards socialization. All societies have to have ways of socializing new members, and some societies need specialist institution for differentiating between people and allocating them to specific levels of economic activity within their society, such is the case with industrial societies, so here are two central functions performed by educational institutions, General socialization of the whole population into the dominant culture, values and beliefs of a society and selecting people for different types and levels of education.
These two basic intentions are suggested by Parsons. He argues that education has the two central functions outlined above. In brief, education meets the needs of the system by making sure that all children have a basic commitment to their society's values and beliefs and Preparing individuals for their specific location within the social hierarchy. Parson believes that education acts as a bridge between family and wider society. He also said wider education helps to ease these transitions. Education does act as a bridge because at school they teach children to have manners and so do their parents/guardian. An example of this is that they expect you to obey your elders as a sign as respect. A criticism of parsons’ theory is Dennis Wrong arguing that that functionalist such as parsons have an over socialized view of people as mere puppets of society.
Durkheim believes there are two main functions such as creating social solidarity and teaching special skills. Durkheim believes the major function of education transmission of society’s norms and values from one generation to the next. This is necessary in order to produce social solidary. He also argues that individuals must be taught specialist skills so that they can take their place within a