Education as an instrument for social change

Posted: July 27, 2020

Education stands out as one of the most powerful instruments of social change. Learning plays a critical role in molding an individual’s character. Besides, it spells out the desirable aspect in society, and therefore influences the general social order by teaching people about the acceptable norms. Generally, education is the process through which a person acquires moral, physical, and social dimensions required by the community within which they live (Apple, 2012). Learning also relates to the process of imparting knowledge of individuals. Its core purpose is to develop reasoning and judgment powers and prepare individuals for intellectual life. Through edification, a society can adopt desirable modifications that are essential for its progress and modernization (Chakraborty, 2018). Education is critical in the sphere of social change throughways, such as altering outlooks, preserving culture, creating the desire for change, and motivating people to adopt dynamic and forward-looking patterns. Social change is inevitable and education is critical since it enlightens people and opens their minds to initiate and push for the needed changes in society.

Changing Attitudes

Education assists in changing attitudes of people towards different elements. With edification, people begin favoring modern life aspects and develop outlooks that can help fight the previously existing prejudices, traditional beliefs, and superstitions (Chakraborty, 2018). Such transformations minimize intergroup conflicts within a society hence promoting peaceful coexistence among the various groups. Chakraborty (2018) also notes that learning enables people to counter and overcome orthodox values and other socio-economic barriers, such as class and caste, to encourage equality within a society. Besides, it transforms people’s viewpoints on secularism and religion, which supports favorable views towards different beliefs (Esahaque, 2017). A society’s view on family size and diseases also change, and people begin embracing the use of medicine and raising small families. Hence, education serves as a driver behind transformed social patterns, thus, promoting social change.

Countering Resistance to Change

Edification plays an essential role in countering the resistance to change. In a typical society, certain factors form opposition to the way of accommodating the needed social changes (Esahaque, 2017). Education helps to overcome such elements by compellingly elucidating to the people about the essence of the suggested transformations. It eradicates the preexisting preconceptions and blind faith and drives people toward accepting new ideals (Chakraborty, 2018). Besides, learning is actively involved in banishing outdated customs and traditions and speaking against social evils. It takes several approaches, such as political movements, social service schemes, and reformation projects (Esahaque, 2017). These methods help to overcome the factors that previously led to resistance and, in turn, initiate the needed social reforms and changes.

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Creating Desire for Transformations

Education helps to create a desire for transformations within a society. For any change to be successfully implemented, the target group must first be made to yearn for it. One of the critical aspects of learning is enlightening people about the social evils existing within their community, such as gambling, child labor, alcoholism, and forced marriages (Apple, 2012). It then develops an urge within them to fight against such evils and change them. Edification helps the backward and down-trodden people in a society to realize their plight. Such people become aware of the existing social gaps between them and the privileged groups (Adams & Gottlieb, 2017). Subsequently, it instills within them the yearning to improve their state of affairs, hence creating a desire for change. Conversely, education helps people to pinpoint existing weaknesses in a community’s social structure and gaps in skills and knowledge. Such awareness pushes people to gain the needed aptitudes to achieve progress in different spheres of life.

Preparing People for Social Change

Edification prepares people mentally for social changes. It builds the capacity to welcome and accept social changes. As people learn, they interact with new ideas and concepts that help eliminate the previously existing mental objections on some issues. As such, learning helps in preparing people’s mentality by convincing them of the desirability and usability of changes (Chakraborty, 2018). It creates a conducive environment for the desired changes to become acceptable in people’s minds. With the removal of preexisting reservations and the creation of a suitable setting for transformations, people start to live and act differently. For instance, in the past, women were treated as inferior by males in different areas, including education and politics (Esahaque, 2017). However, women have been empowered and enlightened through learning which has helped change the previously held perceptions and subsequently promote gender equality.

Initiating the Emergence of New Changes

Education initiates the emergence of new changes. It acts as the control and guide for social reforms. Most of the social changes witnessed today can be traced back to enlightenment. For example, education was at the forefront in advocating for the eradication of social vices such as child marriage and unequal women rights (Esahaque, 2017). Learning changes people’s opinions on specific issues and helps them recognize the need for favorable changes in the community (Apple, 2012). Besides, it brings in new values that serve as the force behind the analysis of common trends and the basis for social change. It is through education that new ideas emerge founded on individual and collective actions (Esahaque, 2017). Learning opens people’s minds and enhances their awareness of previously condoned behaviors that are harmful to the environment or people in the community. It is from this cognizance that changes emerge, leading to social reforms and transformations.

Offering Leadership for Change

Edification offers the needed leadership in social change. It enhances people’s capability to initiate and provide guidance for social transformation by fighting relentlessly against social customs and blind beliefs. People are empowered to realize their disposition, leadership skills, and the roles they can play in promoting social welfare (Esahaque, 2017). Education, therefore, serves as a strong driving force for the social revolution. For instance, past reforms in societies have been spearheaded by enlightened and educated persons, such as Mahatma Gandhi (Chakraborty, 2018). Conversely, education enhances awareness against prevalent evils in society and the extent of their harm. Educated individuals subsequently begin agitating for changes and laws against such practices. Hence, education transforms such people into leaders to advocate for the needed reforms.

Protecting Society’s Eternal Values

Education plays a crucial role in protecting the eternal values within a society. Every community is built upon certain constant values that ensure its consolidation and stability. Learning promotes the acceptance and knowledge of these values to ensure people uphold their faith in the core beliefs of their community (Esahaque, 2017). As such, despite the vast social reforms brought about by edification, people still maintain the moral and spiritual attributes of their society (Chakraborty, 2018). Such values must be upheld as a community would degenerate and decay if they lost their grasp. Therefore, education should be actively involved in the protection, preservation, and promotion of the core societal attributes. Such an approach guards the fundamental societal fabrics and thus saves people from suffering the malevolent effects of social changes.

Fostering Cooperation and Teamwork

Education fosters cooperation and teamwork, which are essential virtues for divergent thinking. Collaboration is critical for societal reforms and development since when several people bring their minds together, they can generate excellent ideas for the betterment of their society (Chakraborty, 2018). With cooperation, people increase the scope of knowledge and could research how to bring desired changes in society. Learning brings people from different cultures together which helps to overcome the previously held prejudices against each other. Subsequently, such a setting which prepares a solid ground for the initiation of social reforms (Apple, 2012). Teamwork also helps in laying down a robust criterion for propagating social changes; hence the discarded customs are accepted across different cultures and backgrounds. Education, therefore, prevents the creation of changes that may appear unfair to groups, which would heighten the resistance toward such reforms. Hence teamwork and cooperation are integral in steering the needed social transformations.


All in all, education has a vital essence in steering social changes in our communities. Learning is a vital source of information which influences an individual’s reasoning and outlook on various societal issues. Learning is an instrument of societal reforms in vast ways, such as changing people’s attitudes, creating a desire for change, overcoming resistance to improvements, and promoting national integration. It offers experiences and exposures through which a person builds their personality and intellect. With such knowledge, a person is well equipped to adjust to the philosophy and emerging needs of a changing society. Education is an essential element of social change, and when well-planned, it can transform a community to bring the pertinent reforms, hence, revolutionizing it.

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Apple, M. W. (2012). Can education change society? Routledge. Retrieved from

Chakraborty, S. (2018). Education as an instrument of social change and enhancing the teaching learning process with the help of technological development. Retrieved from

Esahaque, S. K. (2017). Education as an instrument of social change. International Research Journal of Multidisciplinary Studies, 3(6)