Experiencing Sociology in Education

Education, according to Syed Muhammad Naquib al-Attas, is a process of instilling something into human beings. ‘Something’ has a wide meaning, depending to someone’s view. However, ‘something’, in this article, could be the knowledge and virtue. To be clear, education is a journey taken by someone to seek knowledge and inculcate virtue.

Education is the most crucial part of the society. A society is established and developed because of its systematic education. Education makes such society successful as it provides them a clear guideline towards a true and strong religious and philosophical belief as well as an effective and efficient political, economical and sociocultural framework. Consequently, such society becomes strong, peaceful and prosperous.

History proves that education was the key of success of a society. Our Prophet SAW, during his era, managed to produce hundreds of thousands of companions and followers through an effective education strategy. He even managed to produce an inaugural model of the society – the State of Madinah, the first Islamic state in the world – through a systematic mean of establishment – the Charter of Madinah. Consequently, Islamic civilisation came to its climax, thousands of years ago, when Islam reached two-third (2/3) of the world.

After thousands of years, the world has changed. The world comes to an era where almost all things are changed. The society, its education system, its political movement, its economical framework and its social practice have changed due to various reasons.

Our world witnessed the establishment of new philosophies, isms and notions in all fields, which results to its own consequence to the society and its system that drives such society. Education is not spared from getting its own consequence. If a society is bound by nationalism, its educational system and approach would be based on nationalism. Other isms are likewise, like monarchism, communism, socialism and so on.

Out of those isms, there are numerous issues related to the relationship between education and the society. Today, we witnessed the constant change of education system, which resulting in societal confusion in term of societal direction. Today, we witnessed inequality, where some of members of the society deserve unequal access to education. Consequently, social problems and ills occurred due to such inequality and injustice.

Everyone should understand that education has a noble direction for its society – towards peace and prosperity, where everyone in the society can live under one and systematic political, economical and sociocultural system, can share knowledge and virtue for the sake of their development, and can establish more powers and resources in order to stabilise the society. In Islam, education has the most noble direction for its society beyond the aforementioned direction – towards goodness in this world and the Hereafter.

That’s the reason every educator should experience sociology in education. It brings us not only to understand the current situation of our society, but also to find the cause and consequence of such situation as well as to produce ideas and experiences on how the society can change themselves, believing that the society could not be changed unless by their own effort.

An educator’s role is not only to teach and train students in school, but also to build the future knowledgeable and virtuous society. An educator is a generator of the society, its systems, its civilisation, its culture and its notion. That’s the reason an educator should experience sociology – a study that relates social with education – and, then, to instil our future generation with knowledge and virtue for the betterment of our current society.