Education in Rural Areas
Dr. Radhika Kapur
The system of education in rural areas has been undergoing many changes and
transformations. In the present existence, there have been developments and progressions
taking place in the system of education in rural areas. But still much improvements need to be
made and it is not at par with the urban system of education. With developments taking place
in the system of education in rural areas, the rural communities are able to recognize the
significance of education and sustain their livelihoods better. There have been develop of
opportunities for adults as well to enhance their educational skills and abilities. The main
areas that have been taken into account in this research paper are, objectives of rural
education, scenario of rural India’s education sector, differentiation between urban and the
rural system of education, measures to make improvements in rural education, fundamental
principles of the high quality rural education program, and measures formulated by the
Keywords: Education, Fundamentals, Improvements, Rural Areas, Teaching-learning
The role of education in assisting social and economic progress is well accepted.
Access to education is critical to access emerging opportunities that supplement economic
growth. Taking into consideration this accepted fact, there has been the main thrust on
education, since the country achieved its independence. But as far as guaranteeing quality
education in rural India is concerned, it has been one of the major challenges for the
government. India viewed education as the best way of promoting social change. Soon after
gaining independence in 1947, making education available to all has become a priority for the
government. The education sector has received considerable attention in the budget for 2011-
2012, which has broadcasted a significant increase of 24 percent in the total allocation for the
education sector. The operational reforms have been reviewed to implement the right of
children to free and compulsory education, which has come into effect from 1 April 2010
(Rural Education, 2011).
There are few factors that are influencing the progress of the educational system in
rural areas. These are, increase in the demand for the first rate pre-primary education for the
children and families in rural areas. They are aware of the situation in the developing part of
the country and this is the main reason that they have recognized the significance of
education and express willingness in educating their children. There is a need for the system
of education in rural areas to match with the system of education in urban areas. There have
been establishment of schools and training centres in rural areas, which have led to
improvements in the living standards of the individuals. These standards have enabled the
rural communities to be at par with the urban communities. Allocations to achieve the
objectives of the Right to Education, which has been aligned with the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan,
increased from Rs 15,000 crore to Rs 21,000 crore. It targeted at strengthening elementary
education. The centre is now focusing on vocationalisation of secondary education, which
will enable students to pursue job-oriented courses at the plus two level (Rural Education,
Objectives of Rural Education
The objectives of rural education have been stated as follows: (Sreekanthachari, &
1. To Provide Free Standard Education to the Children belong to rural communities.
2. The children should be supported for higher education.
3. Guiding and supporting research scholars in educational development.
4. Implementation of new teaching methodologies and the system of assessment.
5. Promoting a stress free and an amiable atmosphere in all schools.
Scenario of Rural India’s Education Sector
In the present existence, the main aspects that highlight the scenario of India’s
education sector have been specified in the following points: 96.5% of children within the
age group of six to 14 age group in rural India are enrolled in schools; 71.1% of these
children are enrolled in government schools, 24.3% are enrolled in private schools; girls
within the age group of 11 to 14, who are still out of school have dropped from 6.8% in 2009
to 5.9% in 2010; in the states of Rajasthan, it is 12.1% and Uttar Pradesh, it is 9.7%. The
enrolment in private schools in rural India increased from 21.8% in 2009 to 24.3% in 2010.
There was an increase in the percentage of five year olds enrolled in schools from 54.6% in
2009 to 62.8% in 2010. The largest increase was visible in Karnataka, where the proportion
of five year olds enrolled in school increased from 17.1% in 2009 to 67.6% in 2010 (Rural
The changes in the reading levels of students were not much recognized. Only 53.4%
children in class V can read a class II level text. This suggests that even after five years in
school, close to half of the students are not even at the level, expected of them after two years
in school. On average, there has been a decrease in their numerical abilities. The proportion
of class I students, who could recognize numbers from one to nine, decreased from 69.3% in
2009 to 65.8% in 2010. Similarly, the proportion of students in class III, who could solve two
digit subtraction problems decreased from 39% to 36.5% in the same period. Students in class
V, who could perform simple division problems also dropped from 38% in 2009 to 35.9% in
2010. Improvements are required to be made in infrastructure and also there is a need to
establish more classrooms (Rural Education, 2011).
Differentiation between Urban and the Rural System of Education
The differences in the urban and rural system of education have been stated with
regards to the following aspects: (Sreekanthachari, & Nagaraja, 2013).
Number of Schools – In urban areas, there are large number of schools, colleges,
universities and other training centres. On the other hand, in rural areas, there are lesser
number of schools. Higher educational institutions are not available in rural areas and
individuals, belonging to rural communities are required to migrate to urban areas in order to
pursue higher education. In the present existence, there have been establishment of training
centres in rural areas, which aim to enhance the skills and knowledge of the individuals, in
terms of various subjects, such as, technology, agriculture, farming practices, handicrafts,
child development, health care and so forth.
Transportation Facilities – In urban areas, adequate transportation facilities are
available to the students. The schools make provision of bus services to the students and they
are picked up and dropped after the school hours at the bus stops, located closer to their
homes. With the provision of the transportation facilities, they find it easier to commute to
schools. In rural areas, the students are required to either walk to schools or make use of their
own personal transportation. In most cases, where schools are located at a distance, where it
is not possible to walk, then bicycles are made use of.
Provision of Civic Amenities and Facilities – In urban schools, there are provision of
civic amenities and facilities, which are important in facilitating education. These are
availability of restrooms, clean drinking water, classrooms, infrastructure, furniture,
machinery, equipment, and technology. These aspects have rendered a significant
contribution in making provision of education. On the other hand, in rural schools, these
facilities and civic amenities are not available. This is imposing unfavourable effects upon the
acquisition of education. There have been formulation of laws and policies by the
Government and measures are being implemented to make provision of restrooms, mid-day
meals, technology, infrastructure, machinery, equipment and proper classrooms in the schools
in rural areas.
Level of Education – The level of education in urban schools is at an advanced stage.
Apart from academic concepts, there are number of tasks and activities that students get
engaged in. These include, extra-curricular and creative activities such as, sports, physical
activities, dance, music, singing, artworks, handicrafts and so forth. In addition, there are
organization of picnics, competitions and events, which provide opportunities to the students
to enhance their knowledge and depict their skills. On the other hand, in rural schools, the
level of education is basic and the provision of extra-curricular activities is not in a much
Computer Education – In the present existence, technology has gained prominence.
The use of computers has facilitated the acquisition of education to a major extent. In urban
areas, schools are providing computer education to the students and also making use of
technology in the implementation of tasks and functions. Students make use of the internet to
a major extent to acquire knowledge in terms of various areas and also when they are
required to prepare their assignments and projects. In rural schools, there are few schools that
provide computer education to the students. Whereas in most cases, schools do not provide
Organization of Group Classes – In urban schools, there are organization of group
classes. Through these classes, students interact with each other, share ideas and perspectives
and are able to enhance their knowledge. In other words, group discussions are encouraged.
In some cases, they even work on projects and assignments jointly. Group classes enables the
students to provide solutions to problems and difficulties. On the other hand, in schools in
rural areas, there are not any organization of group classes. The students do interact and
discuss their matters and concerns with the teachers and fellow students to provide solutions
to their problems, but group classes do not take place.
Organization of Picnics – In urban schools, picnics are organized with the main
purpose of stimulating the mind-sets of the students and motivating them towards learning.
There are number of places, which are taken into consideration when picnics are organized,
these include, religious places, historical places, museums, parks, and so forth. Students
normally enjoy and take pleasure in picnics. On the other hand, in rural schools, there are not
any organization of picnics. The students are mostly provided knowledge within the
classroom environment. In other words, classroom teaching is encouraged. In some cases,
students are motivated towards studies, whereas in others, they lose interest and even drop
out of schools.
Use of Technology – In urban schools, teachers make use of technology such as, lap-
tops, computers and printers with the main purpose of providing notes and other learning
materials to the students. The use of technology has not only facilitated learning among
students, but teachers have also been able to make the teaching processes manageable
through the utilization of technology. One of the major benefits of technology is, it provides
extensive knowledge and information in terms of various areas. Whereas, in rural schools, the
teachers do not make use of technology and explain the lesson plans to the students by
reading from the textbooks.
Infrastructure – The provision of infrastructure in urban schools is in a well-
developed state as compared to schools in rural areas. Within the classrooms, there are proper
seating arrangements, desks, technology and other heating and cooling equipment, which is
utilised in accordance to the weather conditions. Whereas, in schools in rural areas, the
students are made to sit on the floor and there are not provision of proper infrastructure or
furniture or equipment. To facilitate the acquisition of education, it is necessary to make
provision of proper infrastructure in schools. Lack of infrastructure may impede the learning
abilities of the students.
Teachers – The teachers recruited in urban schools are well-qualified and experienced.
They are recruited by the school authorities, taking into consideration certain aspects. They
are well aware of the performance of their job duties and render an effectual contribution in
leading to growth and development of the students. On the other hand, in schools in rural
areas, the teachers usually lack the skills and abilities, they are unaware in terms of the
performance of their job duties and do not have much concern regarding effective growth and
development of the students. On the whole, teachers in rural schools are not much satisfied
with their jobs.
Measures to make Improvements in Rural Education
The measures to bring about improvements in rural education have been stated as
Availability of Infrastructure and Facilities – To promote education among the
students in rural schools in a well-organized manner, there is a need to make provision of
adequate infrastructure and facilities. These mainly include, furniture, proper seating
arrangements, black-boards, chalks, heating and cooling equipment, clean drinking water,
restrooms, and the overall construction of classrooms and school buildings should have
enough room to accommodate the students. When all these facilities would be adequately
available, then the students would be able to concentrate well upon their studies. The overall
classroom and school environmental conditions would get improved due to availability of
infrastructure and facilities.
Provision of Transportation Facilities – In rural areas, schools are mostly located at a
distance and students are required to walk miles. Walking mostly is tedious for the students,
hence, due to this, they lack interest in studies and do not take pleasure in coming to school.
Therefore, when schools make provision of transportation facilities to the students, then they
would be able to manage their coming and returning from schools. It is essential to bring
about improvements in roads in rural areas and transportation facilities to the students, so that
they are able to manage their transferring to schools and back home in an appropriate manner.
ICT-based Education for Students – Information and Communication Technology
based education for students within rural areas would assist in the acquisition of education to
a major extent. The students are provided with computer skills, such as word, Power Points,
Excel, Access, C++, and other software packages. In the initial stage, students find it hard and
feel apprehensive, but within the course of time, they are able to develop efficiency.
Generation of efficiency in ICT-based education requires practice. It has also become one of
the sources for playing games for the students (Roy, 2012). Therefore, ICT-based education
has become indispensable for not only improving their skills and abilities, but also in making
provision of recreational activities. In nursery schools, students are shown movies and plays
Recruitment of Teachers – The recruitment of teachers in rural schools should be
done, taking into consideration certain factors, these include, educational qualifications,
experience, skills, attitudes and overall personality traits. Teachers are the ones, who render
an indispensable contribution in leading to effective growth and development of the students.
They make use of effective teaching and learning methods, so that they are able to impart the
necessary knowledge to the students and generate awareness among them. The other areas
that not only facilitate recruitment but also retention of teachers are, the school and the
classroom environment should be created in such a manner that teachers should feel satisfied
with their jobs; they need to form effectual terms and relationships with their colleagues and
other members of the educational institutions; they need to possess proper knowledge and
skills in terms of their job duties and need to feel satisfied with the pay and incentives.
Dealing with Students – It is essential for the teachers to communicate with the
students in a polite and courteous manner. They should acquire proper understanding of their
needs and requirements and implement the teaching-learning processes and the instructional
strategies accordingly. Research has indicated that when students do not acquire efficient
understanding of the concepts, when they do not complete their home-work or class
assignments, do not perform well in exams or play mischief in class, then the teachers punish
them severely. As a result, the students develop apprehensiveness and may even drop out of
school. Therefore, the teachers need to be kind and courteous towards the students and help
them in the achievement of their academic goals.
Teaching-Learning Processes – The principals, and the teachers need to work in
collaboration and integration with each other and make sure that the teaching-learning
processes should be well-organized and adequately implemented. The teaching and the
learning processes that are mostly used in rural schools are, the teachers provide explanations
of the lesson plans through textbooks. They read the lesson plans and provide explanations to
the students, either verbally or in writing on the black-board. The students are required to
bring notebooks and pencils and they take down notes, while the teacher is teaching. It is vital
on the part of the students to understand the concepts, so they are able to score good grades in
tests and exams.
Promoting Team-work – Working in teams or groups have proven to be beneficial to
the students at all levels of education. This is particularly useful, when students are working
on difficult assignments or are understanding complicated concepts, such as ICT or
mathematics. In rural schools, the teachers need to give assignments and projects to the
students, so that they are able to work in teams. Team-work enables one to form friendly and
effective communication terms. The students are able to bring about solutions to their
academic problems and difficulties, they understand each other’s viewpoints and perspectives
and are able to improve their academic performance.
Promoting Extra-curricular Activities – Extra-curricular activities are important in
schools. They stimulate the students and arouse interest and enthusiasm among them towards
learning. In some cases, when students do not perform well academically, they excel their
skills and abilities in extra-curricular activities. For instance, there are individuals, who depict
interest in various sports activities, such as, tennis, badminton, wrestling, boxing, swimming
etc. Other individuals enhance their skills and abilities in dancing, singing and playing of
musical instruments. Other extra-curricular activities include, artworks and handicrafts.
Within rural communities, individuals in some cases, produce handicrafts and artworks in
order to meet their livelihoods requirements. It is essential to promote these activities in
schools in order to enrich the education system.
Social and Economic Change – The use of ICT should be implemented in such a
manner that it should promote social and economic change. The social and economic change
should be brought about within the rural society as well as the rural system of education. The
ICT focuses upon the use of computer technology. The major changes that can influence the
overall system of education is, students should be taught how to make use of technology
within the learning methods. They should be taught how to prepare assignments and projects
using technology, instead to making use of notebooks, paper and pens. The ICT-based e-
learning system contributes a vital role in improving the online education in bringing about
social and economic change within the rural society (Roy, 2012).
Teaching-Learning Materials – Having good-quality teaching-learning materials is
one of the aspects that is of utmost importance in facilitating education. These need to be in
accordance to the requirements of the students. In some cases, the students, enrolled in class
V are unable to read class II textbooks, which means the teaching-learning materials as well
as the processes have not been developed in an efficient manner. Therefore, teachers need to
provide practice exercises and worksheets to the students, so that they are able to acquire
appropriate understanding. In addition to textbooks, the teachers need to make use of hand-
outs, worksheets, notes and other materials, and also they should conduct a test at the end of
each lesson plan.
Fundamental Principles of the High Quality Rural Education
The fundamental principles of the high quality rural education program have been
stated as follows:
Equal Opportunities to All – All the students within rural communities should be
considered capable of acquiring education. Within schools, equal opportunities should be
available to all and there should not be any discrimination on the basis of caste, creed, race,
religion, gender, ethnicity, occupation or socio-economic background. Within schools, when
there are organization of events or competitions or other activities, then everyone should be
given chances and opportunities to enhance their skills and abilities and work towards the
achievement of academic goals. Apart from the availability of equal opportunities, it is
necessary to provide students with sufficient educational resources (Malhoit, 2005).
Grievance Redresser Procedures – In schools, students experience number of
problems and challenges. It is necessary to formulate the grievance redresser procedures, so
that they are able to adequately address their problems and seek solutions. The principals and
the teachers are the ones, who listen to grievances of students. The various problems may
arise regarding academics, teaching-learning methods, school and classroom environmental
conditions, fellow students, or experiencing of harsh treatment on the part of the teachers and
so forth. In rural schools, girls are the ones, who have experienced severe problems, even
sexual harassment in schools. Therefore, it is essential to implement these procedures, so that
students may feel at ease in attending schools and facilitating the acquisition of education.
Educational Adequacy – The system of education is required to be put into practice in
schools on the basis of certain goals and objectives. The teachers have the main objective of
performing their job duties well and leading to effective growth and development of the
students. On the other hand, students have the main objective of enhancing their educational
skills and abilities. Therefore, educational adequacy should not be defined on the basis of
minimum education, but it should be focused upon the students in meeting their goals and
objectives in a suitable manner. The teachers and the students, both are required to work in
integration with the purpose of promoting educational adequacy.
Morality and Ethics – Within schools, the aspects that are of utmost significance are
implementation of morality and ethics. The members of the school, principals, teachers, staff
members and students are required to be polite, honest and truthful, particularly, when they
are working with each other. When the individuals acquire efficient knowledge of morality
and ethics, then they are able to not only achieve the goals and objectives of the schools, but
also would be able to develop into virtuous and principled human beings. It is the job of the
teachers to ensure that students learn these traits, besides academic concepts, so that when
they graduate from school, they should be able to turn into responsible members and promote
the well-being of their families and the community.
Development of Leadership Skills – The principals and the teachers are required to
develop leadership skills within them. The leaders have number of job duties to perform.
They need to be aware of various factors that are required to enhance the well-being of other
members, particularly the students. The leadership skills possessed by the principals are
focused upon making effectual decisions, which would be beneficial to all, guide and direct
others appropriately, carry out the administrative functions in an effective manner and depict
generosity and sincerity in their attitude. On the other hand, the leadership skills primarily
possessed by the teachers focus upon guiding the students, leading them in the right direction,
ensuring that they learn academic concepts and perform well in tests or competitions that are
Implementation of Managerial Functions – Within the schools, the managerial
functions of planning, organizing, directing, staffing, controlling and leading should take
place in an appropriate manner. The principals and the teachers are required to work in co-
ordination and integration with each other. The major focus of the managerial functions is
upon the achievement of goals and objectives. In order to implement these functions in a
well-organized manner, it is vital to ensure that the individuals possess the required
educational qualifications, skills and abilities. The individuals, who are the directors and
managers within schools should obtain ideas and suggestions from others, particularly when
important decisions are to be made.
Implementing Sound Decision-making – In schools, decisions are regarded as an
integral part of administration of schools. There are two types of decisions, major decisions
and minor decisions. Major decisions are regarded as the decisions that are made for long
term time period. When these decisions are made, then the directors or the principals are
required to obtain ideas and suggestions from others. Normally meetings are organized to
discuss major decision matters. On the other hand, minor decisions are usually made by the
school heads and they may or may not consult others. They need to implement sound
decisions, which may be beneficial to all the members of the school, particularly the students.
Provision of Support Services – The students need to be provided with suitable
support services. These are the services, which not only facilitate the acquisition of education,
but also enable them to feel comfortable within the school environmental conditions. The
primary objective of every student is to ensure that they are able to acquire proper education
and improve their scores. Therefore, one of the most important support services is making
provision of extra classes to the students. Other support services include, availability of
technology, innovative methods, strategies, approaches and other methods, which would
enrich the skills and abilities of the students.
Financial Resources – The schools are required to plan their finances in accordance to
the needs and requirements. When the schools have financial resources, then they plan
bringing about innovative techniques and methods. On the other hand, when the budget is
limited, then they have to ensure which areas require improvements and then finances are
spend accordingly. Within schools, bringing about improvements in infrastructure, civic
amenities, facilities, libraries, computer centres, classroom environment, school environment,
bringing in new equipment, machines, technology, books, articles, documents and other
materials, all require financial resources. The schools make provision of financial assistance
and scholarships to the students on the basis of their merit and the availability of financial
School Governance - The governance of the school has to be carried out in an
efficacious manner. The principals, administrative staff members and teachers are required to
work in co-ordination and integration with each other. It is vital to formulate norms,
measures, and policies and individuals should follow them adequately. In school governance,
educational planning is also considered as an important aspect, the individuals need to seek a
more general understanding of educational planning and ensure how it can be productive
towards the overall national development (Griffiths, 1968). Within schools, the main policies
are, availability of equal opportunities to all, anti-discrimination policies, providing effective
resolution to occurrence of conflicts and disputes, treating everyone with respect and
courtesy, policies against sexual harassment and criminal and violent acts and leading to
effective progress of the students. Apart from understanding the policies, the members are
required to implement them in an appropriate manner.
Measures Formulated by the Government
The measures formulated by the Government have been stated as follows:
(Sreekanthachari, & Nagaraja, 2013).
Lok Jumbish Project
The Lok Jumbish (LJ) project has 75 blocks covering approximately 12 million of the
population. The functioning of this project is carried out simultaneously with government
agencies, teachers, NGOs, elected representatives and the individuals in an interactive group.
There have been implementation of efforts with the main purpose of promoting the
universalization of primary education. It works on seven guiding principles. These are: a
process rather than a product approach, partnerships, decentralized functioning, participatory
learning, integration with the mainstream education system, flexibility of management, and
creating multiple levels of leadership, committed to the quality and mission mode.
Shiksha Karmi Project
The Shiksha Karmi Project (SKP) is being implemented since 1987, with assistance
from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA). The main
objective of this project is universalisation and qualitative improvement of primary education
in the backward and remote villages of Rajasthan, with special focus on girls. SKP has set up
the Village Education Committees (VECs) in 2000 villages to promote community
involvement in primary education and encourage village level planning. SKP also runs non-
formal classes, known as Prehar Pathshalas schools, having suitable timings. To promote
education among the girls, Angan Pathshalas are being operated in three blocks. The program
at present covers over 150,000 students in 1,785 schools and 3,250 Prehar Pathshalas,
involving over 4,271 Shiksha Karmis.
This scheme was initiated in 1987, with the main objective of bringing about
improvements within the school environmental conditions. For the purpose of retaining the
students and improving their skills, this scheme was initiated. A remarkable progress has been
observed in primary education through this scheme. Approximately 5,23,000 schools have
been covered since the beginning.
The system of education in rural areas is in a developing state. In rural areas, the
problems that are found in the system of education are regarding number of schools,
transportation facilities, provision of civic amenities and facilities, level of education,
computer education, organization of group classes, organization of picnics, use of technology,
infrastructure, and teachers. The measures that are needed to get implemented to make
improvements include, availability of infrastructure and facilities, provision of transportation
facilities, ICT-based education for students, recruitment of teachers, dealing with students,
teaching-learning processes, promoting team-work, promoting extra-curricular activities,
social and economic change and teaching-learning materials. The fundamental principles of
the high quality rural education program are, equal opportunities to all, grievance redresser
procedures, educational adequacy, morality and ethics, development of leadership skills,
implementation of managerial functions, implementing sound decision making, provision of
support services, financial resources and school governance.
There have been initiation of programs by the government that aim at bringing about
improvements in the system of education in rural areas. These are, LJ, SKP and operation
blackboard. There are differences within the system of education in urban and rural areas. In
urban areas, in schools, there is provision of all facilities and amenities that would contribute
in the enhancement of the system of education. In rural schools, the important aspects that
need to be taken into consideration in order to enrich the system of education are,
development of teaching-learning methods and instructional strategies, initiation of
infrastructure, technology, equipment, libraries and other materials that would be supportive
to learning, the school authorities should possess adequate knowledge regarding the
implementation of managerial functions and there should be provision of equal opportunities
to all the students, irrespective of categories and backgrounds. Within rural communities, the
system of education should be improved in such a manner that students should feel motivated
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Sreekanthachari, J.G., & Nagaraja, G. (2013). An Overview of Rural Education in India.
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