Education and healthcare are viewed as the basic foundation of a progressive society. A modern industrial society with its advanced technology, division of labour, job differentiation, assumes a general standard of literacy. Technological advancement has necessitated the re-orientation of education.
French sociologist Emile Durkheim feels that the major function of education is the transmission and progressively transformation of society’s norms and values according to its particular needs. According to Durkheim, “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”. Without these essential similarities, cooperation, social solidarity and a homogenous social life would be impossible. The vital task of society is the creation of solidarity. Education as a sub-system performs certain functions for the society as a whole. There are also functional relations between education and other sub-systems, such as health, economy and political ideologies. For example, education trains individuals in skills that are required by the economy. Similarly, education is conditioned by economic institutions.
Education also opens our minds to making programmes that promote peace and harmony. It is only when a society has well-educated people that it builds for itself a well-coordinated healthcare system and works towards providing good housing and basic social infrastructure, nutritious food and clothing to all its members. A healthy and educated society is the only one that can sustain and equip itself to meet forthcoming challenges.
We do come across social systems that are made of people enslaved in extinct customs and values that fetter evolvement. Over time, due to lack of education and isolation from civilisation, they fail to adapt to the changes that the world experiences. Under-nourished and unhealthy, they fall prey to diseases and epidemics; and the society as a whole perishes.
Hence, even the government, while drawing programmes for tribal welfare and preserving tribal culture, works out a comprehensive educational and healthcare programme to connect them with mainstream society.
Corporate houses and NGOs are also recognising the need for providing education and healthcare to their communities. It makes economic sense to make people educated and healthy around their work areas as hiring educated and healthy people from the neighbourhood ensures a lower attrition rate and higher work output. It is a win-win situation for both the community and the industry.
This current issue dwells on the various educational and healthcare programmes that companies and individuals are providing and how they are impacting society as a whole.