Reflections on the Closure of Rural Schools in the Local Socio-economic Context - The Example of Poland

  • Agnieszka Wojewódzka-Wiewiórska Warsaw University of Life Sciences
  • Maciej Stawicki Warsaw University of Life Sciences
Keywords: education, primary schools, rural areas, local communities, Poland

Abstract

The aim of the research has been to portray spatial differentiation of the process of school closures in rural areas of Poland, as well as to identify causes, and the effects of the closures on the socio-economic functioning of communities and local governments. To achieve that, desk research was first applied, with data used to classify Poland’s gminas (local-authority areas), in line with changes in numbers of pupils and schools. In the next step, in-depth interviews with gmina authorities and inhabitants were conducted, to allow intentionally-selected case studies to be considered further. It emerged that the main reasons for around 3300 Polish schools to close over the 2000-2016 period were declining fertility plus migration, combining to reduce numbers of primary-school pupils. Economic reasons were cited as the direct cause of school closures in the countryside. Both the negative and positive effects of closing rural schools in various groups were found.

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Published
2021-10-31
Section
Article