A Synthesis of International Rural Education Issues and Responses

Bonnie L. Stelmach


This article synthesizes problems impacting rural primary and secondary schools and describes how schools and relevant organizations have responded to the challenges. Given the context of a globally-compressed world, the focus of the literature review is on international rural education research and strategies. The exploration took the path of topical rather than regional or methodological investigation of rural education for the purpose of thematic understanding of issues. The paper opens with a discussion of the ambiguity of the definition of “rural” to reinforce an epistemological challenge with rural education research. An adaptation of Bronfenbrenner’s ecological theory is used as a framework for the literature review; rural education challenges are synthesized into macro-, mezzo-, and micro-systemic level issues. The paper culminates by positing that rural education issues require inter-sectoral and collaborative responses.

This work was supported by the Ministry of Education, Government of Saskatchewan, Canada.


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