are glad to announce the publication of "Education for rural development: Towards new policy responses",
a joint study conducted by the Sustainable
Development Department of FAO and the UNESCO Institute of Education Planning (IIEP).
Presents a new perspective for
educational development in rural areas.
Reviews trends and innovations in basic education for rural children.
Looks at training issues and higher education strategies to foster
knowledge and skills in rural societies
More than half of the worlds population and more than 70 per cent of the
worlds poor are to be found in rural areas where hunger, illiteracy and low school
achievement are common. Educating a large number of people in rural areas is crucial for
achieving sustainable development. Poverty reduction strategies are now placing emphasis
on rural development that encompasses all those who live in rural areas. Such strategies
need to address the provision of education for the many target groups: children, youth and
adults, giving priority to gender imbalances. This complex and urgent challenge should be
addressed systematically, through an intricate set of policy measures, at all levels of
Rapidly changing technologies and increasing globalization also suggest that better
education and training have become essential for sustainable livelihoods and the
competitiveness of the rural economy.
For many years, the approach followed by policy-makers and education specialists has
been to focus on practical and occupational agricultural skill training provided mainly at
the secondary and tertiary levels. Yet, in a spatial and economic environment increasingly
shaped by non-farming activities, and in a policy context dominated by the poverty
reduction agenda, education for rural development requires a holistic approach going
beyond the narrow boundaries of the traditional agricultural education and training
In this context, this book makes a contribution to countering conventional wisdom and
educational policies that have guided the provision of education in rural areas for
several decades. It uses recent sources of information to reformulate education issues in
the framework of the emerging rural development discourse. Various contributions describe
current trends and innovations in improving the provision and quality of basic education
in rural areas. This book also discusses skill development challenges, and analyzes
emerging strategies developed by innovative higher education institutions to cope with the
new educational and rural environment. In so doing, it opens the door for revisiting the
links between education and rural development. This publication also provides elements for
public policy-makers to rethink the constraints inherited from the sectoral division of
labour between ministries of education and agriculture.
Education and training need to be placed at the centre of the rural development agenda
in order to contribute to eradicating extreme poverty and hunger (MDG 1), to ensure sustainable
agriculture, and to build human capacity for rural development.
Conversely, in order to achieve MDG 2 rural people learning needs must be addressed
by the National Education for All plans of actors.
This publication seeks to
assist agents of change to progress in this direction.