Educational development in rural schools : exemplifying the personal dimension of community
AbstractContemporary South African education is dominated by debates surrounding quality and effectiveness in relation to the implementation of measurement-driven, functional educational policies. As suggested elsewhere qualitative and effective policy initiatives driven by functional or instrumental preoccupations are not only conceptually flawed but also deprive education of its ";wider human purposes";. The contention in this article is that considering the functional as more important than the personal is not sufficient to improve schooling. The main argument is to show that educational development reduced to the functional domain at the expense of the personal would constrain the improvement of schooling in rural communities. I present my own understanding of the personal in educational development in rural schools and base my critique of functionally driven initiatives on Michael Fielding's recent article. I begin by outlining Fielding's account of community by mapping key philosophical foundations of the concept, in particular picking up on his philosophical distinction between the functional and personal dimensions of community and extending it to my own understanding of education and educational development. I argue against educational development predominantly according to the functional dimension of community. I conclude that the exclusion of the personal dimension of community in the implementation of educational development makes such development inadequate. This may affirm the necessity of the personal dimension of community in facilitating the potential of educators, learners and parents in historically disadvantaged schools.
(South African Journal of Education: 2002 22(1): 1-5)
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