Structural change in the provision of rural education appears to have two causes. It can result from demographic change within the framework of existing policy or from changes in government policy. For example, rural depopulation linked with a policy of a minimum school enrolment, may mean closure of small rural schools and consolidation of primary education at a larger centre. On the other hand, regardless of demographic change, a government may determine to alter the structure of rural education, for example, a broader curriculum may be provided. One such policy change was the consolidation of rural primary education in Hong Kong during the 1980s and the 1990s. The policy involved the closure of a number of small rural primary schools and the transportation of school children to larger consolidated schools. The other policy option for structural change was undermined by the Government. In this paper, these two policies and their consequences are the main concerns. The first section will review the rural education development in Hong Kong. Then, in the next section, a discussion on the experience of consolidation in overseas and Australia suggests there are a number of benefits and costs of consoldiating rural education. These benefits and costs will concentrate on the economic, educational, social and community aspects. Final section, the conclusion of this paper, the consequences of consolidation of rural education in Hong Kong and Australia are discussed and compared. The discussion incorporates some aspects of the process of consolidation and the overseas experience and influence on the policies.
|Publication status||Published - 1996|