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.

How Cities Change People’s Cultures

Cities are known to change people’s cultures in huge ways. In this particular discussion, ‘culture’ simply refers to “a people’s way of life”. So what we are saying is that cities are known to change people’s ways of life in big ways. In fact, it is highly unlikely that a person who has lived in a big city will escape without having his way of life altered in some way. The big city has a way of ensuring that everybody who lives in it for a considerable amount of time ends up changing his way of life. The specific ways in which cities change people’s cultures include:

  1. By simply exposing them to other cultures: big cities tend to be ‘melting pots’ of various cultures. People who go to big cities end up encountering other cultures – different from their own. This exposure then changes their worldviews. Subsequently, their outlooks in life, and their entire cultures, are changed.
  2. By showing them weaknesses in their cultures: cities are ruthless, when it comes to exposing weaknesses in people’s cultures. You may, for instance, be coming from a spendthrift culture, where people don’t care about small savings. Then you go to a big city, and get a job at a company like, say, PepsiCo. Then you notice the pains that your colleagues at work go to, in pursuit of Mypepsico discounts. You start admiring their financial prudence, and the lengths they are willing to go to, to save that extra coin. And soon, you find yourself signing in at the Mypepsico login page, in pursuit of the same discounts. Then you know that in this small way, your spendthrift culture has been changed in favor of something else.
  3. By showing them strengths in other cultures: just as a big city shows you weaknesses in your own culture, it also shows you strengths in other cultures. You therefore find yourself having to change your culture – in a bid to find those strengths you have seen in other cultures.

Of course, all these things mostly happen at the subconscious level, without your conscious awareness.

3 Ways in Which a Nation’s Culture Can be Changed

There are certain ways in which a nation’s culture can be changed. Thus, contrary to what some people think, it is actually possible to change a nation’s culture. And that applies whether you are looking at a nation of two million people or a nation of one billion people. Granted, changing a nation’s culture is not easy, but it can be done. In today’s article, we will be looking at some 3 specific ways in which a nation’s culture can be changed. And without further ado, those 3 ways in which a nation’s culture can be changed include:

  1. Through the use of the media: the media is a very powerful tool, when it comes to shaping people’s opinions. Through the careful (and consistent) placement of certain content in the media, it is possible to attain certain cultural changes within short durations of time. Of course, the proposed cultural changes are always bound to encounter some resistance. After all, even minor changes, in organizational settings, always encounter resistance. Like if, in an organization, employees are told to shift from manual paychecks to online paychecks (through, let’s say, Securitasepay.com), resistance is bound to be there. This is notwithstanding the fact that the shift from manual paychecks to the web-based Securitas Epay paychecks would surely be beneficial to the employees. So even minor cultural changes, in controlled organizational settings, always run into resistance. How much more, then, is the resistance to be expected when trying to implement national cultural changes? Yet with the assistance of the mass media — which the people tend to be very fond of — it is easy to get the desired cultural changes gradually.
  2. Through the use of the educational system: this simply entails changing the curriculum, to ensure that the kids are ‘indoctrinated’ into a certain way of thinking. Some may argue with the ethics of it but that is the way things are done. It lays the foundation for a major cultural shift. If it is done in the right way, it can, within a generation, lead to an almost ‘automatic’ cultural change.
  3. Through the use of the law: if you outlaw certain (major) things that were previously perceived to be legal, and you legalize certain (major) things that were previously perceived as being illegal, the net effect will be a cultural change. You can see this effect in societies that are colonized – where, thanks to the laws that come with colonization, major culture shifts take place within a few years. You can also see this effect in nations that have managed — through the use of legislation — to get rid of cultures of corruption, criminality, impunity… and so on. So it is something that can be done. Of course, the legislation has to be followed by thorough enforcement of newly-created laws: otherwise the desired cultural change won’t happen on account of legislation alone.