What criticisms can be directed towards functionalist theory? Give an example of one criticism in relation to South African schools.
Critics of Functionalism state that as a theory it assumes education is fair and that it rewards the best and ignores social inequalities that may restrict attainment. The New Right criticizes the skills and knowledge taught in schools and believes that they teach things irrelevant to the world of work. has been criticized for downplaying the role of individual action, and for being unable to account for social change. In the functionalist perspective, society and its institutions are the primary units of analysis. The liberal functionalist position argues, after Parsons, that countries need an effective education system that functions to produce a competent and well-differentiated labour force through a meritocratic education system to meet labour market demands. In South Africa, at the classroom level, many scholars show the differentiated access to teaching and learning resources in schools, which hinder or enable a more conducive instructional environment. The classroom factor is the unrealistic and overambitious outcomes-based education (OBE) curriculum policy and the difficulty of implementing it in poorly performing schools with teachers who struggled to understand and implement it. Many teachers in disadvantaged schools are not fully qualified and could not cope with a change of curriculum framework with little content and a different pedagogical method. This was overambitious and inappropriate to the majority of teachers and their classroom realities and conditions.