On the Relationship Between Education and Culture

Education has a strong influence on culture. Of course, we have to start by taking note of the fact that every culture has its own educational system. In most cultures, the educational system is of an informal nature. But it is an educational system nonetheless. It is through the educational system that people are trained on how they are expected to behave, within that particular culture. It is also through the educational system that the culture perpetuates itself. That is because the educational system makes it possible for older generations to pass on their knowledge (about the culture they are operating in) to the younger generations. The younger generations are in turn able to pass on their knowledge, in a similar manner, to the next generations.

If a new education system is introduced within any given culture, then that particular culture is bound (in most cases) to change in fundamental ways. Take  the native American culture, for instance. So you find that before the arrival of European settlers on American shores, the native Americans had their own ways of life (culture) complete with an educational system to help them cope with the environment they were operating in then. With the arrival of Europeans, and the educational system that the European settlers came with, the native American culture had to be altered in major ways. Today, a typical native American can’t get an opportunity to live as his ancestors did. He certainly can’t get a chance to hunt and gather. He is in fact more likely to be working somewhere in corporate America – say, at CVS Health, which means that he gets his paychecks after going through the Myhrcvs login page. And to be able to function in this new context, the native American needs another type of education, different from that which his culture provided in the old times.

Yet there are cultures that have bee able to withstand (at least to a certain degree) the effects of modern education. The Chinese, for instance, still have their culture intact, in spite of having been exposed to modern education. The Japanese and the Indians as well as the Arabs have been able to maintain their cultures, to various degrees, even after being exposed to modern education. So it is not always that modern education leads to the loss of ancient cultures.