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Full text of "Man In The Modern World"

EDUCATION AS A SOCIAL FUNCTION
other classes. For this an obvious prerequisite is a unified educational
system, with high standards, and aiming at what Sir Stephen Tallents
has called the Projection of England—in this case its projection into
the minds of the rising generation.
But we are now learning that a purely national point of view is in-
adequate to present conditions: it is necessary to have an international
as well as a national point of view, a world consciousness into which
our set of national feelings and ideas (though these still remain of
the utmost importance) can be fitted. Our own country's history and
destiny must be set in a more general framework, and for this a further
revision of our educational system, notably in regard to text-books, as
well as to the inclusion of certain new subjects, is required. Our
education must become more closely and more consciously related to
the needs and possibilities of our country at this particular time and
in relation to the rest of the world. It must give up the pretence of
being based on absolute or universal cultural values, and must aban-
don the false and inadequate utilitarianism which sees in education
solely or mainly a method for securing a job or doing a job better.
It is a general rule, so general that we may almost call it a law of
history, that threatened interests and institutions defend themselves
with increasing vigour until a very late stage in the process of their
decay or supersession. Now such a pattern of education as is here
outlined involves a conception of society that threatens many various
institutions which have been so powerful in the immediate past that
they still have considerable reserves of power. The over-privileged
classes, the rentier-gentleman class, and in general what is crudely
described as the "old school tie" influence in Government, business,
and the professions, see their privileges threatened—and not merely
their material privileges but, perhaps more important, their privileges
of prestige, their claim as a class to respect or even to subservience.
The capitalist class, whether engaged in large-scale monopoly capital-
ism or in small-scale business, see themselves threatened in a planned
society with increasing control by the State and increasing competition
from public bodies and co-operative agencies. The Churches, in part
because tied up with the old system, in part because their theological
basis is no longer acceptable to a large and increasing section of the
people, feel themselves threatened by the impending shifts in our class
system and still more by the rise of an outlook more concerned with
social planning for this-worldly improvement than with individual
concern for other-worldly .salvation.
They will, all of them, resist the transformation of our educational
outlook. Those who uphold the relativist view of education as a
273,