Education and Social Cohesion

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Babacan, Hurriyet (2007) Education and Social Cohesion. In: Social Cohesion in Australia. Jupp, James, Nieuwenhuysen, John and Dawson, Emma, eds. Cambridge University Press, Port Melbourne, VIC, Australia, pp. 142-157.


The purpose of public education, has its roots in the development of ‘public morality’ instituted through religious organisations. With the separation of the state from religion, the state has increasingly begun to take on responsibility for the delivery of education. As industrialisation has become more advanced, contemporary education has moved away from strict notions of public morality to focus not only on the skills and knowledge base driven by the needs of a rapidly changing economy, but on the creation of national identity and citizenship within the nation-state. Whereas social cohesion was to be achieved by assimilating peoples of diverse religions, ethnicities and social groups into a nation with a common language and values, this was altered dramatically in the late 20th century when assimilation became an unacceptable ideology. Education was to deliver social cohesion through integration, a subtler concept than assimilation. This required social compromise and a broader examination of the notion of citizen rights and responsibilities, including the rights of the majority as well as minorities. Social cohesion was thus placed as a central responsibility within both the public and private education systems. This chapter examines how the education system affects social cohesion. After discussion of the ways in which the practices of government and private education providers impact on social cohesion, the debates about whether segregated education systems (that is, ethno-religious schools) contribute to social cohesion are examined. The chapter concludes with the strategies required for effective social cohesion by education agencies.

Item type Book Section
ISBN 9780521709439
Subjects Historical > FOR Classification > 1301 Education Systems
Historical > FOR Classification > 1608 Sociology
Historical > SEO Classification > 9599 Other Cultural Understanding
Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > Institute for Community, Ethnicity and Policy Alternatives (ICEPA)
Keywords ResPubID13231, education agencies, education system, social integration, social cohesion, national identity, citizenship, assimilation, diverse religions, diverse ethnicities, diverse social groups, ethno-religious schools
Citations in Scopus 6 - View on Scopus
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