Influence of Poverty on Rural Education: South Africa and Africa
Today , growing up in a rural region in Southern Africa often means growing up without a decent education. Rural people are often caught in the vicious cycle of having no access to the services and opportunities that might lift them out of poverty – education, gainful employment, adequate nutrition, infrastructure and communications. Poor health such as eye problems, undernourishment and Fetal Alcohol Syndrome cause problems. Although the government’s feeding scheme is of great help, it’s the only meal of the day for some learners. Therefore it’s just not sufficient to feed all children properly. Poverty and illiteracy remain overwhelmingly rural phenomena. Education for rural people lies at the heart of rural development and this is fundamental for reducing poverty worldwide . Therefore FAO and UNESCO launched the global Education for Rural People (ERP) flagship . Ensuring that Education for All (EFA) includes also all rural people is an urgent task for the South African community at large. A crucial issue is that the curriculum must be relevant to rural people’s needs. One approach is to develop curricula that combine core content with local content. It is especially important that the content of education is closely related to local conditions to enable learners to apply the knowledge and skills learned. Linking school with the community will enable teachers to improve the quality and relevance of the education they are providing. It is an accepted fact that rural people with basic education are more likely to adopt new technology and become more productive, and can deal better with change. However, there are no quick fixes for providing education to the rural poor; this requires a long-term effort and commitment, with concerted action at the local, national and international level.
Keywords: Rural Education, Poverty, South Africa
Dr. Jurie Joubert
Senior Lecturer, Education, CPUT