Edited By Claudia Gerdenitsch and Johanna Hopfner
Rural Education has always been – and still is – confronted with ambivalent challenges. Emancipation efforts and political interests shape the framework for rural education programmes and their local institutional, media and curricular implementation. The book gives insight into popular education concepts in various countries in Europe, America, Asia and Africa. The variety of perspectives enables systematic understanding of rural education processes as well as international comparison.
Introduction to Rural Education 10
10 Introduction to Rural Education The dimensions of space, region and place have presented an explicit object of study in educational research for some time. The concrete factors and conditions in which education takes place, the accessibility and configuration of education- al institutions, are not somehow extrinsic or otherwise circumstantial, but influ- ence the education process fundamentally.4 That was and continues to be held true for rural regions where spatial factors play a special role: they smooth the way for, or hinder and even prevent the learning process. In addition, particular education policy concepts, which with terms like “popular education” and “pub- lic education” imply special needs, were bound (and in some cases still are) to regional realities: the sometimes hard, poor and weather-dependent living condi- tions of rural people. The stated educational needs stand in direct relation to the expectation that, from a national economic perspective, the rural population would and will contribute to society especially in terms of food supply. Consequently, functional economic considerations reveal the shortcomings of rural education and simultaneously play an ambivalent role in remedying them. Educational needs were provided mainly in subjection to the promised agricultural profit. This means among other things: the necessity of agricultural enterprise remained definitive for the realisa- tion of popular instructional programmes – not only in times of harvest; in terms of space and staff, country schools were often modestly equipped. Frequently it was left to the initiative and engagement of individual teachers to uphold educa- tional standards in inhospitable...
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