Peter Haugh Essay

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Education Introduction Underlying different policy approaches to education is the philosophical question, what is the function of education and whether education is a means to an end or a means in itself. While from a social democratic point of view, knowledge is a value in itself, from a New Rights perspective, education is a means to an end – namely to prepare individuals for a competitive business environment that emerges around innovative and creative ideas to increase profit. This paper will discuss the changes which have taken place in education policy by examining the social democratic view of education and the New Rights critique of the social democratic view. This paper argues, that these changes reflect a concern to align education more closely with the interest of business and the New rights mentality of individual responsibility and transformation to “consumers of education”. The paper will show that the New Rights view is fundamentally different to the social democratic view of society, which reflects in competing policy approaches to education. Discussing education policy therefore will lead to a deeper understanding off the different theoretical positions that underpin debates about public policy. Social democratic view of education From a social democratic view, knowledge and education is seen as a useful asset in itself and every citizen should have universal and equal access to equal education. The social democratic ideal emerges around the question of how best to engineer society and make it inclusive to everyone. In this respect, the crucial task that education has to play in the engineering of society is to remove inequalities in society, which can start to emerge from an early age (due to e.g. class differences). From a social democratic view, knowledge and inequalities are socially created, which is why access to education should be

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