1.1 Background to the Study
Education is one of the most enduring legacies which a nation can bequeath to
her succeeding generations. This is because education serves as an illumination through
which people see the path to solving their problems. Education generally is accepted as
a vital asset for social mobility, economic mobility, and a societal transformation factor,
for both personal and national levels. Mahuta (2007) views formal education as the type
of education that is taught in schools which is planned and organized with aims and
goals that are intended to be achieved. According to Swift (1996), as cited in Mahuta
(2007), education is the way the individual acquires the physical, moral and social
capacities demanded of him by the group into which he is born and within which he
must function. Emile Durkheim (1858-1917), as cited in Mahuta (2007), sees education
as, the influence exercised by adult generations on the younger ones that are not yet
ready for social life. It can therefore be said that education arouses and develops in an
individual certain number of physical, intellectual and moral skills which are demanded
of him by both the political society as a whole and his social environment in which he
or she lives.
Emile Durkheim as quoted in Haralambos & Heald (1980) maintains that;
Society can survive only if there exists among its members a sufficient degree of homogeneity; education perpetuates and reinforces this homogeneity by fixing in the child from the beginning the essential similarities which collective life demands. Durkheim argues that to become attached to the society, the child must feel in it something that is real, alive and powerful, which dominates the person and to which he also owes the best part of himself. (p 173)
Education is a sound investment that is expected to enhance the economic
growth of individuals which implies that education is a strong factor of social mobility.
This means that education has the ability to influence a person’s future socio-economic status in the society. That is to say, a person who has attained higher level of education is likely to have higher chances of getting a good job which in return determines an individual’s social class in a society. Socio-economic status is a sociological and economical combined total measure of an individual or family’s economic and social position in relation to others, based on income, education and occupation. Socio-economic status is typically broken into three categories; high socio-economic status, middle class socio-economic status, and low socio-economic status to describe the three classes a family or an individual may fall into.