Education is considered as a mechanism of social control. Durkheim believes that education carries the commands of the society and enforces these commands on both teachers and the students in order to offer adequate enterprise and knowledge into the minds of the students to fit into the demands of the society. Durkheim at two levels discusses the social control role of education:
It induces sociability into the mind of the children and it drives away the pathological strains, self-destructing desires from the mind of child helping him to fit into the demands of larger society. Therefore being a mechanism of control education mitigates the gulf between individual and the society. Parsons looks into social control role of education in relation to job allocation and socialization. He asserts that the potential concern of the school is to induce regularity in individual behavior. The laws at school rules at play help a person to control and regulate the personalistic desires adequately helping personality system to negotiate with the demand of social system effectively. Secondly fundamental concern of education is to induce the children the required talent, skills and enterprise to fit into the future job market. The occupational specialization comes out of occupational socialization one receives from school life. As a result school trains an individual to fit into his occupation without developing antagonism suspicion towards other persons holding other occupations in the social life of the community. For Parsons the fundamental concern of school is behavioral control and occupational control.
The Marxist sociologists challenge the functionalist view of education. Basil Bernstein in 'Class, codes and control' talks about the multiple forms of control taking place in school life and includes universal control dress code, attendance code, mannerism code are universally applied to every student. Restrictive control - School should not be considered an institution persistent outside the cultural life of the society. The training at school is greatly defined by the cultural conditions of social life. In medieval Europe the schools were engaged in offering dualistic training to boys and girls. When boys were receiving training to join military the girls were given training in nursing and domestic activities. During post revolution period schools in modern Europe transformed their curriculum and training pattern. As a result uniform system of education came into prominence in Britain during 1930s and in America during 1920s. Class control is imperative in school life.
The activities at school and the demand of the school started similar to the cultural training received by the upper middle class children .As a result they are subjected to least penal sanctions in school life. But children belonging to lower class carry with them an alien culture which mismatches with the culture of the school. Therefore school is engaged in the explicit and enforcive control over the children belonging to the lower class. That consequently leads to high degree of dropouts of lower class students from school life. Bernstein concludes that school is engaged in the transmission of knowledge in a coded manner that is understandable only to the students who have capacity to uncode the coded message. As a result people belonging to different cultures react to the coded language of the school differently facilitating school to produce both conformists and deviants as well. Randall Collins advocates that school is engaged in a forms of control : formal and informal. Formal control comes out of the enforcement of school rules on the students from time to time helping them to maintain discipline, punctuality and regularity in school life. He considers that school is having basic features of the policing system and legal court. The mechanisms of control present in larger society are effectively present in school life. With regard to informal control, school offers course discussion forums, deliberations, scope for friendly contact that guides the students to direct their course of action at par with the requirement of the school. Being a weberian Collins believes that school offers a platform where the expectation of the school in clash with the expectations of the present students from the school giving rise to the conflict or mechanisms of control in school may be considered as legitimate for character building, personality development future occupational roles of the children. Hence appreciated both by the parents and children as well. Thus mechanism of control may contribute for cooperation and conflict both within and outside the school life. In case of India school as a mechanism of social control is discussed at length by Suma Chitnis and M.S Gore. They advocate that Indian education has gone through a series of evolution. The nature and forms of control, the traditional pathshalas used to different from the method of control exercised by the English schools in contemporary time. When the former was enforcing repressing sanctions, latter is concerned about counseling and consolidation. When the former was concerned about the involvements of parents to explain success or failure of the child the latter is concerned about independent growth of child as an individual. It can advocated that school being an extension of social and cultural life, the nature and forms of control practiced and legalized in school life are endorsed by the culture of the society. The technological advancement, ethos of science, growth of modern institutions when contribute for social change, they demand not only change in education structure but also change in management of education and school life. That consequently leads to transformation in nature and form of control taking place in school life.