The role of education in the societal development


The aim of this study is to explain the role of education on social development and progress, individual development and progress and to explain the dynamic relationships among these concepts.

Education is not only an institution but also a procedure taken place in society. If these concepts are ordered in terms of their functions, the society is aim, and the education is an avoidable tool to make this aim come true. Development and improvement are based on socio economic decisions of the politicians to improve the welfare of individuals. At the present day, development and improvement, not only on people's material needs, the development of their social conditions, is related to the realization of their hopes. In developed countries, the knowledge generated through research and education, used not only to realization social and economic objectives, as well as the use of the realization the individual's personal development is observed.

To understand the relationship between education and society in a healthy way and to explain the highly dynamic structure of education is not a routine process that affects every level of society as an social institution, political authority needs to be imposed that to build a prosperous society that education and knowledge are provision.

Key Words: Education, Society, Social, relationship between Education and Society, Social Development,

Functions of Education:


Human beings are to educate and to be educated. The primary aim of education is to sustain individual and societal improvement. This process contains both tangible and moral dimensions. Educational programs and policies play a pivotal role in these social and individual progress. Social progress clearly indicates a general development in the community in terms of economic, social and cultural aspects. In sociological terminology, social development is used for a concept displaying all positive developments in the social construct. To put it differently, this is to state a society which is considered to be progressing and changing from a fairly less decent situation to a favorably better conditions with respect to economic, social and political issues. The main difference between the living and the non-living is that the former always renews itself. One of the mechanisms which provides and maintain this renewal is education. Thus, the comprehension and explanation of the role of education in this social development is of paramount importance so as to understand the previously stated progress and change.


Societal and natural conditions determine the role and the function of education. Within the relationship between education and society, the most salient feature of education is its communical side. The social context is imperative for education to function well. Society and education complete each other. Society cannot carry on without education and vice versa. Education affects not only the person being educated but also the whole community by starting from his/her family. In other words, raising sufficient number of efficient people for more prosperous society is the duty of education and educational institutions which have certain functions in the community. Each educational institution establishes relationships throughout mutual interactions. 

Education, as a phenomenon, is both a social foundation and a process occurring in the society. If established a prior and hierarchical sequence, society can be regarded as the objective and the education can be considered as the indispensable means of this objective. In this respect, to research into the functional relationship between education and society and its other institutions is of great importance for community development.


Development and progress are to change the structure of a community by following the socio-economic policies in order to improve the prosperity levels of individuals. From this perspective, development is both an economic and an educational process. Social development is to satisfy substantial and moral needs in a balanced and humanistic fashion. Furthermore, social development is a concept indicating the increasing level of communities in terms of knowledge, mentality and life.

Development and progress also means a constituent which emerges and develops on its own. Development in every field within the social structure is a part of a general community development and change and is closely related with other institutional structures in the community. Development and change does not merely indicate either a substantial or economic development and change. Accordingly, development and change today is a situation related to the improvement of social conditions and expectations.


Community development is an overall development. In this respect, educational system and economy are two closely related social institutions. Schools as an important component of educational system provide instruction and personality formation which enables economic progress and community development.

Community development and change is particularly related to the education and instruction that social problems are identified and citizens are informed about these matters in a democratic way.

Educational facilitates are important due to two reasons: First, it is to prevent people from falling behind changing social and economic conditions. Second, it is to develop and change the community by restraining these conditions. The main duty of institutions in almost every community is to sustain the existence and maintenance by regulating the relations. While determining the educational objectives, it is crucial to pay attention to individual and socio-cultural aspects and to take social efficiency criteria into consideration.

The coordination of all actions having already been proceeded or to be proceeded are imperative for development. To actualize community development, it is necessary to organize shared educational activities in order to familiarize the society with working in groups. In this respect, the importance of educational institutions should not be disregarded.

It does not seem to be possible to become successful for a community producing projects contributing community development and change without knowing the relational and value system of the community and the groups. In cases where socio-cultural elements are neglected in development and change, the failure will be inevitable. For instance, prior to initiating an action for development in a lazy and impassive social structure, it is somewhat essential to infuse the instinct of promise into the members of this society. As stated by Frank Tyger (1929-2011), development cannot be provided with self-satisfied people. Development and change start with awakening the sense of capability. Undoubtedly, in this process, composing and infusing this sense and coordinating every detail will be the most important role of educational institutions.

Community development is human development, as well. The pattern of human qualifications are attributed firmly in action plans and programs of developed and developing countries in the world. From a sociological perspective, it is assumed that there is a great relationship between educational policies and social expectations and ideals. If the idea that a community cannot improve its well-fare degree without raising its mental level is a sociological fact, in accordance with this fact, mental improvement should be directed from traditional and local ideas toward a modern fashion. The only way to accomplish this fact is education. As revealed by Paul Valery (1871-1945), today's problem is that future is not as it is before. This implies that it is crucial to establish an educational system which does not stay opposed to the spirit of today in order to have a voice in such a future that will never become as it is before. Otherwise, generations that never contribute to the community development despite having a continuous education will be inevitably raised. 

In determining the status of communities across the world, knowledge is a significant criterion. Knowledge is a mental product of mind operations and is obtained via observation, research, education and instruction. In this vein, knowledge comprises of exploring new rules or discovering and presenting old rules again based on research. Education has an economic value as it proposes a certain approach to cognitive problems. Knowledge is not a product or a process that is acquired on one’s own. To illustrate, the concept of community beyond industry means that a community is to be better than other communities in terms of following points:

  1. Handling the humanistic, social and global foundations by adopting a pedagogic and systematic approach.
  2. Investing a lot upon scientific research.
  3. Organizing and using the produced knowledge to actualize the communial objectives.

Undoubtedly, knowledge and education are important and inevitable aspects to proceed a further phase.

Communities that desire to develop, change and become an information society should invest more on education because they cannot survive and develop during long years with present knowledge. Moreover, producing knowledge is not enough to become a developed country. In doing so, it is vital to utilize the produced knowledge to reach at political, social and economic objectives. Produced knowledge should not be left on the shelf, yet it is to be used to actualize the social objectives. At that time, it will be possible to get over long way towards community development and change. Communities that want to develop and change should produce new knowledge and follow novelties continuously. The mere power which will endure this continuity is, of course, education.


Education involves all experiences that an individual acquires inside or outside the school. In this respect, education is a quite significant process generating the basic foundations of socio-economic development. It is not sufficient to evaluate the value of education in terms of vocational knowledge and skill. The economic value of education relies upon attitudes, values, social and communicative skills rather than productive norms and technical knowledge. No matter whether it is national or local, any project regarding social development is to be considered within the framework of social relationships.

Resource budgeted for education is not an expenditure but a crucial and profitable investment. All developed countries in today’s world try their best to attract well-qualified labor force. Undoubtedly, carrying societal development provided with education to a more advanced level is possible by creating an attraction center for educated people.

Definitely, education does not contribute to economic development and productivity. The most important contribution of education is not only to upgrade the living standards of citizens but also to enable them to become better citizens. In addition to being a human right, education today is a prerequisite for development and also an effective means for both taking knowledge-based decisions and improving democracy. Education improves and strengthens developmental capacities of individuals, communities, groups, institutions, and countries. However, as Roosevelt's saying ‘trying to educate a person mentally without educating morally is to bring a menace into the society’ indicated, this is possible via educating people to become supporters of each other but not enemies at all. In this vein, education can create a safer, healthier and more prosperous world and enhance the living standards by changing the visions and perspectives of individuals.