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59 | avril 2012
Éducation et ruralités

Education and ruralities
Educación y ruralidades
Edited by Pierre-Louis GAUTHIER and Odile Luginbühl
Éducation et ruralités
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ISBN 978-2-85420-594-7

Almost half of the world's population still live in areas considered to be rural and the question of the schooling available in such regions concerns all countries, for it encompasses the principle of equal access to education.
Issue 59 of the Revue internationale d'éducation de Sèvres takes this double observation as its starting theme and offers an analysis of the schooling reality in rural environments – beyond the outdated ideas and stereotypes that we usually have of it.
Nine articles, backed up by a rich, commentated bibliography, shed light on the diversity of the ruralities (and not just rurality in its singular sense) that determine how rural schools are run across the five continents. They address the structural, pedagogical and economic complexity of situations.
Rural schooling is both precarious and essential. Beyond each country's specific features, all of the authors outline the difficulties stemming from the geographical distance from large urban areas, the small class sizes involved and the extra costs incurred. They also all underline the important role rural schools have to play in their societies as social links and maintaining ties – and even as local development factors.
How can the quality of teaching be upheld in a context of marginalisation from the urban model? As much as political resolve is instrumental in this regard, several cases have demonstrated that the specific restrictions rural schools have to tackle can, in fact, give rise to innovative approaches, which may, in turn, be adopted by the whole of the educational system.
Should we not, then, reconsider how education fits into rural life and turn its distinctiveness in an advantage for improving the quality of education?
Case studies: Argentina, Australia, Burkina-Faso, China, Finland, France, Tanzania.
An issue coordinated by Pierre-Louis Gauthier and Odile Luginbühl