Education fulfils the needs of society and propagates such ideas which promote social change in all fields of life. In this way, education becomes a social process by means of which society moulds children according to its needs and approved patterns of behavior. Functions of education as an instrument of social change are as follows:
(1) Stabilizing Eternal Values
Education protects eternal values, saves them from pernicious effects of social changes and promotes their knowledge and acceptance in such a manner that inspite of social changes, people in general keep faith in these values. In our society such eternal values are of moral and spiritual nature. Education should protect, preserve and promote these values.
(2) Increasing the Areas of Knowledge
Education promotes in the individuals the capacity to increase the scope of knowledge more and more for their benefit. It opens new areas for investigations and researches, which bring about desirable changes in material as well as non-material aspects of culture. Thus education prepares ground for the advent of social change.
(3) Leadership Role in Social Change
Education provides leadership in social change. Education makes people capable to initiate and guide for needed social changes by fighting successfully against social evils, customs and blind traditions. Thus people become capable for realizing their own true personality to the full and promote social welfare to greater and greater extent.
(4) Evaluation of Social Change
Education lays down the required standards and criteria of values with reference to which this process of evaluation takes place effectively, and only after that, desirable social changes are propagated where the undesirable ones discarded.
(5) Education Accelerates Social Change
Education tries to banish social evils, blind customs and traditions through various social reformation projects, political movements, social service schemes and also tries to bring in ‘needed social changes and reforms.
For example, in India public movements and agitations against child marriage, forced widowhood, untouchability and social injustice resulted in desirable social changes.
(6) Education Prepares People Mentally for Social Change.
It prepares the mentality of people to welcome and adopt desirable social changes easily. It may be noted that people will welcome and adopt any technique or pattern only when they become convinced of its utility and desirability. Education, thus structures a wholesome and conducive environment for these social changes to become acceptable to all.
It tries to remove the mental reservations and complexes in the minds of people which obstruct the progress of change.
Education provides necessary training in skills and occupations and thus produces the needed competent personnel for manning the different specialized jobs in modern industry, business, educational and research establishments and other secondary associations.
Education is expected to change the values and attitudes of the people and to create in them the urge of the necessary motivation to achieve social class ascendency, social mobility and/or their Sanskritization.
Modem education can mould people into enlightened, emphatic, risk-taking, thick-skinned, industrious and mobile personalities.
Education can be of immense help in bringing about democratization, secularism, national integration as well as economic prosperity and proper political socialization.
Education can cut down the thick roots of traditions, superstitions, ignorance and backwardness etc.
Education prepares the society for the initial cultural stock inherent in determined plans of modernization. Elvin Toffer’s thrilling book ‘Future Shock’ tells us about it.
Education can prepare the society for the cultural imbalances that inevitably characterize the social transitional situation, and should endeavor to prevent, as far as possible, shocking conditions, and, during the long transitional phase, it can discipline the people to withhold immediate gratification in the interest of future inputs for the furtherance of the long-range plans of modernization.