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Full text of "Man In The Modern World"

consciously related to the needs of the particular society of which it
is a function.
In primitive societies such education as exists is in the form of a kind
of apprenticeship to prepare boys and girls for adult tribal life, and is
conveyed through ritual and legend. This is essentially static and
conservative, subserving the reproduction of the traditional pattern;
the evolutionary aspect of education, involving variation in the
pattern transmitted, is accidental and slow. With the emergence of a
class structure in society the general aspect of education alters. The
stress then falls on the specialized education of an elite, whether that
elite be itself the repository of power, as in ancient Egypt, or the
favoured servant of the governing class, as in early medieval times.
The late Middle Ages marked the beginning of a new era. The
invention of printing and other aids to the dissemination of knowledge
made inevitable the gradual spread of mass education, while the
growth of science and technology and of the scientific outlook not only
made this mass education desirable in the interests of efficiency, but
stimulated the evolutionary function of education. We are now enter-
ing on a further phase, in which a highly integrated and self-conscious
society is the aim, and in which therefore mass education must not
only attain a much higher level, but the educational system must itself
be fully unified and deliberately integrated as closely as possible with
the life of society. Variation from the previous norm is becoming re*
garded as something to be consciously planned.
Coming down to the particular, we may remind ourselves of the
chief social characteristics of education in the phase from which the
Western world is now emerging. The first striking fact was the class
duality of the system. Long-continued education was confined to a
small minority, and designed to train a ruling class together with its
necessary appendages and agents—the administrators and civil
servants, the clergy, and the learned professions. Mass education, on
the other hand, ended in early adolescence, and was designed to trans-
mit the elementary skills of reading, writing, and arithmetical calcula-
tion necessary to carry on an industrial society, the modicum of
historical and cultural education necessary to transmit a patriotic
tradition of the nationalist type, and a smattering of the facts of
nature. Specialized skills below the professional level were catered
for by a combination of apprenticeship and an increasing volume of
technical education, this latter being regarded as somehow inferior to
education based on the humanities, and provided by the public
schools and universities.
There was also an ideological duality, in respect of religion.   Much