DEVELOPMENT OF EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS
Primitive and very ancient societies had no educational institutions. Children learned what they needed to know by watching whatever was going on and helping wherever practical. It took no school to teach an Indian boy how to hunt. A boy’s father (or in some societies, his uncle) would give him instruction in
i\unting, and these lessons were the nearest ·,thing to “educational institutions” that could be found in a simple society. Such instruction was not an educational institution;’ it was ~,simply a part of a man’s family duties .. Schools appeared when cultures became too complex for all needed learning to be. handled easily within the far=Iy. As empires grew, they needed tax gatherers and record keepers, and this called for/the training of. scribes. Developing religions often required that a great many legends, chants, and rituals be memorized. Whether scribes or priests were the first schoolboys is not known. We can imagine that a man with a son or nephew to train might agree to take another nephew
and perhaps a friend’s son or’ nephew to teach at the same time. We can Imagine that this “class” grew over the generations,with the “teacher” now giving full time to instruction. At this point, with full-time specialists as teachers’ and formal classes of students, operating apart from the family and viewed as the necessary and proper way to train these boys, we can say that educational institutions arrived. This functional analysis, attributing the growth of educational institutions to changing’ labor needs, is rejected by flict theorists as an oversimplification. They claim that other than labor needs may be even more important as causes of increased education. superior and excludes from competition for the choice positions all those who cannot gct the educational credentials, thus preventing the upward mobility of the lower classes [R. Collins, 1979). Education helps maintain boundaries for ethnic and class subcultures, keeping out those who are improperly mannered [Collins, 1975, pp. 86-87}. Even universal literacy, everywhere accepted as a worthy goal, ma~ have been, in fact, more ornament than necessity [Graff, 1974), . The reasons for the growth of. educational’ institutions probably include all of the’ factors mentioned above. To determine the relative importance of each is impossible. Whatever they are, they seem to be operating everywhere.