Rural teaching across borders

Schools play a vital role in the quality of life of rural communities in South Africa and Sweden alike. What is similar? And what is different? NAI guest researcher Dipane Hlalele, who is himself from South Africa, recently visited a primary school in the Swedish village of Östervåla, one hour’s drive from Uppsala, in search of answers.
– Swedish schools seem to be surrounded by few if any fences, let alone big walls. This contributes to creating a free environment. Transportation systems are fairly efficient. Playground facilities are abundant.
 – I also noticed that students are not wearing uniforms. In South Africa this is generally obligatory and a way to promote equal treatment of students, to erase differences between rich and poor.
Rural schools in both countries do, however, face many of the same challenges in a time of urbanisation.
– They need to teach subjects that are relevant to a rural environment, and not fill students’ heads with the idea that only in in an urban area is it possible to have a good life.
Creating sustainable rural learning ecologies is the focus of Dipane Hlalele’s study as a guest researcher at NAI.

Dipane Hlalele participates in the 6th International Academic Conference in Bergen, Norway, June 23 - 26. The full conference program for the 6th International Academic Conference (pdf opens in new window).

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