Accessibility Skip to Global Navigation Skip to Local Navigation Skip to Content Skip to Search Skip to Site Map Menu

EDUC101 Education and Society

An examination of the political, social and cultural dimensions of contemporary educational practice.

Education serves a vital role in society and is often at the heart of public debate. Throughout history, educational institutions have helped transmit societal knowledge, values, and culture, while also challenging the status quo.
This paper introduces students to key political, social, and cultural debates related to contemporary education practice. It provides provocations and tools to help inform, enrich, and extend students' understanding of the complex and multiple roles of education in society, especially in the context of Aotearoa New Zealand. More specifically, students will critically examine:

  1. how assumptions about children and young people have changed over time and how this has shaped approaches to education;
  2. the historical and ongoing impact of key education reforms in Aotearoa New Zealand (especially the 1877 and 1989 Education Acts); and
  3. how schools have the potential to both include and exclude children and young people based on culture, gender, sexuality, disability, and class.
Such critical and empirically-informed understandings are a huge asset for all students, especially those hoping to work and teach within contemporary educational contexts.

Paper title Education and Society
Paper code EDUC101
Subject Education
EFTS 0.1500
Points 18 points 18 points
Teaching period(s) Second Semester, Second Semester
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $868.95
International Tuition Fees (NZD) $3,656.70

^ Top of page

EDUT 131, EDTX 131
Schedule C
Arts and Music
Dr Catherine Hartung (Lecturer in Education Studies):
Teaching staff
Paper Co-ordinator and Lecturers: (Dunedin) Dr Catherine Hartung
(Invercargill) Jill Paris & Adair Polson-Genge
Other staff: to be confirmed
Paper Structure
The paper is structured around the following questions:
  1. How have changing understandings of children and young people shaped education?
  2. How is education organised, developed, and debated in Aotearoa New Zealand?
  3. How does education respond to societal issues and work to include/exclude children and young people?
Students will explore answers to these questions and develop informed positions in relation to key debates by:
  • attending and actively engaging in the lectures (1 hour/week) and workshops (2 hours/week);
  • collaborating with peers in workshops to explore, formulate, debate, and evaluate course material from different points of view;
  • completing the weekly readings and making connections with lectures and workshops; and
  • demonstrating depth of understanding of the course material via two written assignments and a final exam.
Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Global perspective, Interdisciplinary perspective, Scholarship, Communication, Critical thinking, Cultural understanding, Ethics, Information literacy, Research, Self-motivation, Teamwork.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
There is no textbook for this course, instead the weekly readings (journal articles and book chapters) will be available online via eReserve and/or the Robertson Library course reserve.
Learning Outcomes
By the end of the paper, students will be able to recognise and critically examine:
  1. the significant, multiple, and complex functions of schooling in contemporary society;
  2. the changing and debated nature of education systems from earlier times to present;
  3. the problematic and taken-for-granted discourses that impact schooling and the educative process;
  4. how relationship between education, culture, and society.
In addition to these key objectives, the paper will also assist in the development of important academic and professional skills, particularly in relation to academic writing conventions (e.g., clarity, grammar, punctuation, referencing, etc.) and team work.

^ Top of page


Second Semester

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
L1 Tuesday 16:00-16:50 28-34, 36-41


Stream Days Times Weeks
Attend one stream from
T1 Wednesday 09:00-10:50 28-34, 36-41
T2 Wednesday 15:00-16:50 28-34, 36-41
T3 Thursday 11:00-12:50 28-34, 36-41
T4 Thursday 15:00-16:50 28-34, 36-41
T5 Friday 11:00-12:50 28-34, 36-41
T6 Friday 13:00-14:50 28-34, 36-41

Second Semester

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system