The role of education as social agent is universally recognised. Social change always takes place when humans need change in society. Social change comes into action when existing social setup fails to understand and meet the needs of the people humans. But education brings changes in the personality of a human being.
In the second half of 20th century the role of education was overstressed to fulfill the needs of the nation. It is still used to serve as an agent of nation building. Social changes take place as a result of multiple changes that take place in the social and non-social environment and education can bring social changes in the outlook and attitude of the people. It can initiate a change in the pattern of social relationships. It empowers the individual, but individual can’t bring change solely. Societal change always comes from the collective transformation of people of a society. Education is an independent institution now and it can bring change in every aspect of people’s life. Francis J Brown remarks that education is a process which brings about changes in the behaviour of a society. It is a process which enables every individual to effectively participate in the activities of society and make positive contribution to the progress of society.
Most progressive people feel that the process of inquiry or problem-solving is the proper tool for managing change in society. Education should not be judged in terms of liability to provide employment to certain number of people, rather it should be judged on the basis of modern technology, and the quality of education provided to the poor and deprived people of society. Education, in this way, can turn these people into valuable and productive part of society.
There are three main deficiencies in the present education system in Pakistan. Firstly, the current education system does not meet the changing trends of society. Secondly, education has become merely a tool to get the source of employment and moral training. Thirdly, education has failed to provide value framework which may prepare committed individuals to pursue national goals.
In viewing education as an agent of social change, the person who brings change is not ignorable. In the whole process teacher becomes an agent of change; he or she becomes the voice of the poor and deprived people. He becomes social reformer and he imparts value framework to his students and eliminates inequalities which are generated on the basis of class, status, colour and creed. There is a strong need to bring committed and trained teachers in our education system, especially at primary level. In the UNESCO-sponsored world assessment of the six EFA Goals, Pakistan was placed in the category of countries which would fail to achieve even any of the targets, including primary education and literacy set for the year 2015. In an unchanging and static society, education only serves the purpose of transferring the cultural heritage to the next generation. But in a changing society, education prepares people for change and creates flexibility and adjustment in them to accept contemporary needs and trends of society, thus becoming a ray of hope.