14 SES 9.5 PE/PS, Poster Exhibition / Poster Session
The small schools in economically developed countries, especially in rural areas, have been decreasing rapidly and the educational services have been concentrating into more populated or hierarchically more significant settlements during the last decades (Ribchester, Edwards 1999; Kučerová, Kučera 2009). On the one hand, this is a logical result of general changes in geographical organization of society (Hampl 2000), whereas in long-term development inhabitants have concentrated in cities and there is the population decline in rural space. In conjuction with the demographic transition in the developed countries, namely decreases of natality (Caldwell 2006), schools in many regions do not have enough pupils to fill the grades. In the time of economic depression their uneconomic running and the possibility of savings in the case of their closure is pointed out (Åberg-Bengtsson 2009). At the same time, the professionalization of education have forced the organization of educational system into large schools with higher number of specialized teachers, classrooms, with sport facilities etc., whilst the small rural schools have obtained the image of old-fashioned institutions in comparison with the urban standards (Bell, Sigsworth 1987). On the other hand, many of the mentioned arguments seem to be questionable and neglecting specific needs of non-urban environment (Hargreaves, Kvalsund, Galton 2009). In terms of access to elementary education, the process of concentration has significantly contributed to the polarisation of space. Although the progress in transport enables commuting on long distances, which is as an everyday activity always a handicap for pupils who have to practice it compared to those who have the school in their place of residence (Farrington, Farrington 2005). In addition, the schools provide other services beyond their primary educational for the local rural communities and therefore their presence is necessary for rural development (Kearns et al. 2009).
The poster deals with elementary school network changes in three European states, the history of which is somewhat different: Czechia, Finland and Portugal. Their economical and political enviroment as well as operation of elementary education shaped by these conditions were different. Thus the aims of the poster are: to analyze main changes in the development of elementary school network in Czechia, Finland and Portugal, to identify common as well as different features of development. To discuss how the changes in school network have been influenced by general processes in geographical organization of postindustrial society on the one hand and by unique societal conditions in the countries on the other hand. The stress is put on the issue of the position of small schools within particular school system. The main aim of the poster is to discuss, with the knowledge of the rural schoolsʼ past development, the future of elementary schools in rural areas on the basis of their previous development trajectories and to underline the future risks which may be faced. Last but not least, the presentation of the theme is also an invitation for experts from others countries to extend research on this issue.
ÅBERG-BENGTSSON, L. (2009): The smaller the better? A review of research on small rural schools in Sweden. International Journal of Educational Research, 48, pp. 100–108. BELL, A., SIGSWORTH, A. (1987): The Small Rural Primary School: A Matter of Quality. Routledge, London, 295 p. CALDWELL, J. C. (2006): Demographic transition theory. Springer, Dordrecht. FARRINGTON, J., FARRINGTON, C. (2005): Rural Accessibility, Social Inclusion and Social Justice: Towards Conceptualisation. Journal of Transport Geography, 13, pp. 1–12. HAMPL, M. (2000): Reality, society and geographical/environmental organization: searching for an integrated order. DemoArt, Prague. HARGREAVES, L., KVALSUND, R., GALTON, M. (2009): Reviews of research on rural schools and their communities in British and Nordic countries: Analytical perspectives and cultural meaning. International Journal of Educational Research, 48, pp. 80–88. KALAOJA, E., PIETARINEN, J. (2009): Small rural primary schools in Finland: A pedagogically valuable part of the school network. International Journal of Educational Research, 48, pp. 109–116. KEARNS, R. A., LEWIS, N., McCREANOR, T., WITTEN, K. (2009): ‘The status quo is not an option’: Community impacts of school closure in South Taranaki, New Zealand. Journal of Rural Studies, 25, pp. 131–140. KUČEROVÁ, S., KUČERA, Z. (2009): Changes in the rural elementary schools network in Czechia in second half of 20th century and its possible impact on rural areas. European Countryside, 1, No. 3, pp. 125–140. RIBCHESTER, CH., EDWARDS, B. (1999): The Centre and the Local: Policy and Practice in Rural Education Provision. Journal of Rural Studies, 15, No. 1, pp. 49–63. SOUSA, F. (2007): Curriculum making on the edge of Europe in the age of globalization: two alternative scenarios. Transnational Curriculum Inquiry 4, No. 2.
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