Author(s): Dove LA
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Abstract PIP: The literature on the role of the rural elementary school in community change is examined in this paper, and certain socioeconomic factors which may be important preconditions of the decision of a community to accept or reject the school are discussed. The relationship of the community to the community school is also considered. Generally, schools have responded to rather than led or initiated changes in rural communities. Commonly communities have accepted the school when they have perceived that it can be helpful in fulfilling their existed felt needs--usually for better economic and material well-being. Once the school has been accepted for 1 reason its potential for effecting changes in other ways through the younger generation is often also greater. It is questionable whether schools can succeed if they try to promote or sustain an entirely new culture in an indifferent or hostile environment. Throughout the developing world governments have modified their early expectations that rural schools on their own could be potent tools of socioeconomic change. Studies of the role of the school in rural areas have focused upon the school itself and tended to neglect the structure of the local community and its relationship to the larger society. The ways in which kinship operates affects a community's conception of itself and its attitude towards and relationship with the school. A rural community in a poor country lacks mobility and means of communication. Where a community shares a national or mainstream culture in terms of language and religion, its decisions regarding whether to send its children to school are relatively unproblematic for its identity, for the school will mirror at least some aspects of its own culture. Where a community sees itself as a minority, there will be problems. Rural communities which, on rational appraisal of the economic situation, hesitate to send their children to school pose a dilemma for governments anxious to integrate remote and "backward" areas into the nation's economic life. Rural communities may be conceptualized on a continuum with respect to the degree to which they are more or less culturally cohesive, more or less economically self-sufficient, and more or less politically and administratively autonomous. Despite the commitment of governments and international agencies to the concept of community participation in school in the interests of rural improvement, such schemes are unlikely to serve the interests of the entire community unless a genuine mutuality of interests exists among community members.
This article was published in Comp Educ Rev
and referenced in Arabian Journal of Business and Management Review