1. Community’s Educational Potential. Potentially, community or society is an active agency of education. Its educational potential is contained in the following:
(i) It has finance. It can create formal as well as informal agencies for the purpose of educating its members. Schools, cinemas, communication media such as press, radio, newspaper, library, etc. and many other agencies work as organs of the community.
(ii) It has customs, practices and traditions. It has huge mass of accumulated experiences which is educative. All these provide material for thinking, (iii) there are group associations which children join.
2. Educational Role of the Community or Society.
The educational role of the community or the society is manifold. It is capable of playing a dynamic role directly or indirectly, in the education of its members. The community or the society as an active agency of education plays its role in the following manner:
(i) Financing Education.
Provision for liberal finance is an important factor in education. If the community or the society wishes that its young members should serve its ends well, it must make available whatever educational advantages are needed by the young people, individually or collectively, to prepare them for that service. So the community must liberally finance education in the form of donations for constructing parts of buildings etc.
(ii) Control of Formal Education.
School is a formal agency of education, created by the community to serve its educational ends. The community sets the climate in which the school functions. It helps in designing the curriculum as well as the general organisation of the community school system. The community also helps in giving the aims of education which are also the outcome of the existing philosophy of life. If the community is progressive and forward looking, it will consider funds spent for education as sound investment in their children’s welfare.
(iii) Selection of School Personnel.
The community may also help in the selection of the school personnel. Those men and women who are well qualified to administer the practical details of school should be selected. The community should mobilise all sorts of resources to make the teaching personnel happy by paying them handsome salaries and by giving due recognition to their status.
(iv) Provision of Informal Education Media.
It is an important educational function of the community or society to provide for its people out-of-school educational media. Museums, art galleries, libraries, music and drama centres, etc. are some of the educational media that are being made available to the people of many Indian communities. Some excellent educational programmes are being organised by community health centres and other departments and organisations.
(v) Community Folkways and Values.
The community plays its educational role in another way. It does so by inculcating in children not only the folkways but also desirable attitudes and values evident in the behaviour patterns which identify him with community. In fact, his total behaviour is conditioned by the community of which he is a member.
3. Specific Educative Influence of Community
The community directly influences the child in the following forms.
(i) Social Influence.
It develops civic virtues in an individual and inculcates in him the spirit of service, sacrifice and co-operation.
(ii) Political Influence.
Crow and Crow write, “The political ideology of a community is reflected in the extent to which educational opportunities are offered to all its members and in the responsibility assumed by its political leaders for the educational progress of the citizens of the community.”
(iii) Economic Influence.
The community influences an individual in the way of life and in the choice of a profession and thus enables him to become an independent member of the community.
(iv) Cultural Influence.
Every community has a culture of its own. From the very beginning the child sees the grown-up persons preserving and respecting their culture. All this prompts him to acquire the traditions, customs, ideal, ways, and manners of the community to which he belongs.
(v) Powerful Educational Influence.
The educative influence of the community on the various aspects of a child’s personality is very powerful.
Thus, community is a potential educational force which both the administrator and the teacher must realise. They should not work in subordination to it but should understand and work with it. Some disagreement may arise on certain points, but the same can be minimise or resolved through co-operation and sincere effort at both the ends.