Education and Society are intertwined and thus influence individual lives. Let us examine the effects of schooling in multiple institutional domains including the family, the workplace and the polity and the effects of schooling on an adult individual‘s attitudes, beliefs and behaviour.
A heuristic model of schooling‘s effects on adult outcomes:
KNOWLEDGE AND COGNITIVE DEVELOPMENT:
Individuals with more schooling have greater knowledge about a wide range of areas than their less educated peers, for example, current events, politics both domestic and foreign, the environment, science etc. Highly educated people also display greater cognitive flexibility and problem solving skills than poorly educated people. Moreover individuals with high levels of schooling create opportunities to learn by participation in and exposure to the media of mass communication.
Schooling creates an enduring receptivity to learning across the life course. The educated have command of specific factual knowledge, display higher levels of literacy skills , namely prose literacy (the understanding of narrative prose), document literacy (the understanding of documents one might encounter in everyday life), quantitative literacy ( the understanding of basic mathematical skills in authentic contexts ) than those with less schooling. There is a strong relationship between educational attainment and the level of literacy proficiency.
Adult literacy proficiency reflects skills learned in school. Education is an indicator of socio-economic status and also a socialization agent. Education as a dimension of socio-economic status influences an individual‘s psychological well being such that highly educated individuals are likely to feel in control over their lives and in turn to try to understand problems and solve them.
Individuals with more schooling are more open to new ideas and more likely to adopt innovations than those with less schooling, for example, a well educated farmer is more likely to adopt new technology and overcome resistance to change in productive technologies.
Further individuals with more schooling are exposed to mass media that may increase their knowledge. They are more likely to read newspapers, magazines and books. They spend less time watching television and or listening to the radio. They believe that the print media conveys more authentic knowledge than other media. Thus the differential exposure to the media widens the knowledge gap among individuals with different amounts of schooling. The exposure to the mass media serves as an informal indicator of one‘s opportunities to learn about current events and other contemporary lifestyle concerns.The educated also seek out and create additional opportunities to advance their learning. They voluntarily participate in formal and informal adult education and are more aware of opportunities for further education and more confident of benefiting from them They have access to a richer array of information than those with
less schooling and know more about their social, cultural and political worlds and can thus apply that knowledge to shape their futures.
While socializing is a result of schooling, schooling also indicates a person‘s achieved socio-economic status which in turn locates individuals in positions in the social structure that provides greater opportunities to learn and that enmesh them in cultural groups that hold distinctive values about learning.
The amount of schooling one obtains affects a broad array of indicators of an individual‘s economic wellbeing like labour force participation, career transitions, occupational status and wealth. Individuals who are more educated are more engaged in the workplace, have more orderly careers, earn more money and hold jobs with higher levels of prestige and status.
The level of education attainment influences labour force participation. A low level of education results in difficulty in settling into a career or floundering from one job to another. Conversely a high level of education results in full time jobs with greater stability, is more rewarding and affects one‘s status and earning capacity. It also results in an increase in the total household wealth.
Workplace Conditions :
Schooling has varied effects on the conditions and contexts that individuals experience at work. The amount of schooling an individual obtains affects the tasks that one performs on the job and influences one‘s control over one‘s own work and the work of others. The educated settle for “white collar” work that allows for considerable control over the nature and pace of the job. Schooling also shapes the satisfaction derived from work. In turn workplace conditions mediate the effects of schooling on other outcomes. For example, the highly educated are less likely to have jobs that require physical effort. They are more likely to supervise others on the job, have more control over own work and autonomy on the job, engage in non-routine work irrespective of age or gender. The educated have occupations involving direction, control and planning, time pressures and a large amount of responsibility associated with the job. However once work place conditions, earnings and occupational prestige are controlled, highly educated individual are less satisfied with their jobs than the less educated individuals.
A lower level of schooling results in “blue collar” jobs that require manual rather than mental labour and those which provide few opportunities for control.
An implicit assumption is that schooling inculcates knowledge
,skills and values that employers either want or need in the individuals especially to fill high status, white collar jobs.
Social Participation and Support :
Individuals with a higher level of schooling have stronger and more powerful social ties in their social worlds. They participate in cultural events and organizations, have more extensive social networks and perceive a greater level of social support than those with lesser education. Schooling enables participation in adult social life, for example, belonging to voluntary groups, engaging in greater number of organizational
activities including self help groups. Since individuals have more ties to social groups, schooling is related to social support. A higher level of schooling increases the likelihood of talking to others when faced with a problem for the perception is that there are others on whom one can rely for advice and encouragement.
Psychological Well being:
Individuals with more schooling are reported to have more positive psychological health and wellbeing ( personal control, purpose in life, stress/distress, depression and emotional health status ) than those with less education. Such individuals have more personal control than those with less education and also see a greater purpose in life.
There exists an inverse relationship between educational attainment and psychological stress and distress. Individuals with higher levels of schooling have greater access to work that is non-alienating and well paid. The substantive content of the work and its socioeconomic benefits produce a greater sense of personal control which inhibits the likelihood of psychological distress such as anxiety, anger and malaise. These individuals are intellectually flexible and have high social status both of which provide access to broad social networks that can provide supportive social relationships that buffer the individual from psychological distress.
Since individuals with more schooling gain access to jobs that involve more direction, control and planning, it increases their sense of control and mastery over daily life thus reducing the likelihood of depression.
Psychological stress and distress are frequently viewed as responsive to an individual‘s material situation in life which in turn is clearly tied to socioeconomic conditions stemming from the nature of one‘s work. There is a linkage between educational attainment and access to occupations that provide social-psychological resources, for education
can by virtue of the status it confers and the cognitive skills it promotes enable individuals to enter into supportive social relationships. This social support mediates the possible psychological consequences of exposure to distressing life events.
Family Effects :
It is important to realize the effect of schooling on adult family lives. How much schooling one obtains affects who one chooses to marry, which in turn influences the risk of marital disruption. Schooling also affects the timing of family events including the timing of marriage and of childbearing. Schooling is associated with educational homogamy, that is the tendency of an individual to marry another individual with similar levels of educational attainment. However the level of educational attainment does not guarantee marital satisfaction or happiness. An increase in women‘s educational attainment have influenced fertility patterns as much as they have shaped marriage formation and dissolution. Highly educated women increasingly delay child bearing for they recognize the difficulty of combining the roles of student, worker and mother. This hesitancy reflects their desire to place their children in organized childcare programs and the need to wait till they can afford the expenses of such childcare. Thus delayed childbearing is the result of delayed marriage among those highly educated. Another factor that highly educated women are at risk of is marital disruption because schooling conveys information about values, priorities and foregone opportunities all of which may make educated women chafe against traditional societal norms.
Political Participation :
Individuals with more schooling are more involved in the political process than those with less education. The educated express a sense of civic duty and profess an interest in politics. Such individuals are also more likely to vote in local, state and national elections. They express a high sense of citizen duty which affects both voting behaviour as well as political attitudes.
Education increases an individual‘s capacities for working with the complexities and abstractions of political ideas and gives a greater knowledge of the issues that may lead to a greater press for political participation. An individual thus evinces a greater interest in the political process and feels a moral pressure to participate in the process. Being intensively aware of the process, such individuals serve to reduce the costs of voting by navigating the bureaucratic aspects of registering to vote and the process of voting.
Values and Leisure Time:
Research has indicated that one‘s social class and background shapes both how far one goes in school and the values one imbibes. Education trains one to value independence. Since one‘s social advantage influences one‘s adult occupational status, it is important to note that it also affects the values an adult holds. Further it influences how an individual uses his leisure time. An educated individual uses his leisure time fruitfully either by equipping himself with new skills or by broadening his perspective of culture by enjoying and patronizing art, classical music and literature, and the performing arts like opera and ballet.