Education plays a significant role in society. Educational institutions take part on society in different aspects; such as on the peoples intellectual development, politics, economics and several other fields.
There are several theories that deal with the formulation of the foundation of education in relation to the society. Among of these theories are the conflict and consensus theories.
According to some sociologist; society has two faces; the face of consensus and the face of conflict. Further, they emphasized that sociological theory should be divided into two parts between the consensus theory and the conflict theory.
The consensus theories are considered to be focused on the social order based on a tacit agreement. They view the social change as occurring in a slow and orderly fashion and considered shared norms and values as fundamental factors towards society.
Consensus is a concept in society in which there is a belief that the absence of conflict means the equilibrium state that is based upon widespread agreement by all of the members of the society itself.
It is being considered in these theories that the social order in society should be maintained, based upon the accepted norms, values, roles or regulations that are accepted by the society in general.
On the other hand, the conflict theory emphasizes that the order in society are based upon the manipulation and control by any dominant groups. It looks upon the struggle occur between the social classes of powerful groups and less powerful groups.
The theorist of the conflict theory looks on how some of the institutions in society such as religion, government, media, as well as education are in one way or another help in maintaining some privileges of some groups against the other groups.
They further look upon the possibilities in which the education contributes upon the unequal distribution of wealth and opportunity in the society in which the more powerful groups remains on top. The conflict theorists look upon the issues in which education plays a role in maintaining the social position of any dominant group against the less powerful groups.
As the consensus theorist tries to examine on the integration of values in society, the conflict theorist examines about the conflicts of interest between social groups in society.
Some sociologists believe that society cannot exist without having both conflict and consensus in society, hence, they are considered as prerequisites on each others existence. They further considered that there is no conflict in society if there is no some prior consensus that exists.