Theories in sociology attempt to explain this function of education and the three most important theories are the functionalist, interactionist and Marxist perspectives on the function of education. (Burgess, G.R and Parker, A. 1999. Education. Pp.180-190).
The functionalist perspective on education finds its origins in the views expressed by Durkheim at the beginning of the twentieth century. These views of Durkheim laid stress on the significant manner in which could ensure an individuals commitment to society and in that manner contribute to the creation of social solidarity. According to Durkheim the contribution of the teaching of history could go along way in bringing about unity in society. For instance, by giving stress to British history in the curriculum of educational institutions in Britain unity of British society could be achieved, Contribution to this perspective of the functions of education were further contributed to by Talbott Parsons in the middle of the twentieth century by his concepts on the manner in which divisions of labour were a result of the teaching of specialised skills. Teaching institutions provided the basis between the ascribed roles of the family and the achieved roles of the larger society and were thereby responsible for the occupational roles that resulted. Parsons concept included the functioning of schools as open to competition or based on meritocratic principles and thereby led to the allocation of roles appropriate to the skills and merit. This meant that education resulted in the most talented in society benefits with the most important positions and in that manner got the best rewards.
According to the functionalist perspective, there exists only one set of values that need to be taught by the education and these set of values are those that belong to the ruling class or the elite class. This means that the functionalist perspective is blind to the possibility that there are other sets of values in society and these can .be transmitted through education.