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„Við skiptum máli fyrir samfélagið“ : Samfélagslegt mikilvægi og flókin samkeppnisstaða tveggja framhaldsskóla í dreifðum byggðum

„Við skiptum máli fyrir samfélagið“ : Samfélagslegt mikilvægi og flókin samkeppnisstaða tveggja framhaldsskóla í dreifðum byggðum


Title: „Við skiptum máli fyrir samfélagið“ : Samfélagslegt mikilvægi og flókin samkeppnisstaða tveggja framhaldsskóla í dreifðum byggðum
Alternative Title: "We matter to society"Societal importance and complex market position of two rural upper secondary schools
Author: Bjarnadóttir, Valgerður S.
Ragnarsdóttir, Guðrún
Date: 2021
Language: Icelandic
Scope: 21
School: Menntavísindasvið
Department: Deild kennslu- og menntunarfræði
Series: Tímarit um uppeldi og menntun; 30(2)
ISSN: 2298-8408
DOI: https://doi.org/10.24270/tuuom.2021.30.8
Subject: Framhaldsskólar; Dreifbýli; Dreifðar byggðir; Samkeppni; Markaðsvæðing; Réttlæti; Félagslegt réttlæti; Rural education; Upper secondary school; Marketization; Social justice; Spatiality; Rural education; Upper secondary school; Marketization; Social justice; Spatiality; Menntun
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11815/3267

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Citation:

Bjarnadóttir , V S & Ragnarsdóttir , G 2021 , ' „Við skiptum máli fyrir samfélagið“ : Samfélagslegt mikilvægi og flókin samkeppnisstaða tveggja framhaldsskóla í dreifðum byggðum ' , Tímarit um uppeldi og menntun , bind. 30 , nr. 2 , bls. 67-87 . https://doi.org/10.24270/tuuom.2021.30.8

Abstract:

 
Markmið rannsóknarinnar sem grein þessi fjallar um er að öðlast skilning á veruleika tveggja fámennra framhaldsskóla utan höfuðborgarsvæðisins, gildi þeirra í nærsamfélaginu, stöðu þegar kemur að samkeppni um nemendur og leiðum til að styrkja tilvist sína, með staðarsamhengi þeirra í huga. Greinin er byggð á viðtölum við stjórnendur, kennara og nemendur í skólunum tveimur og varpar því ljósi á viðfangsefnið frá mismunandi sjónarhornum. Niðurstöður benda til þess að skólarnir séu mikilvægir samfélaginu, enda þjóna þeir nemendum á svæðunum, halda uppi menntunarstigi og eru með stærri vinnustöðum í viðkomandi byggðarlögum. Reynt var að virkja tengsl við atvinnulíf við skipulag námsframboðs og kennslu og nærumhverfið og náttúran var nýtt til að dýpka nám nemenda og tengja það við raunveruleikann. Viðmælendur bentu á ýmsar áskoranir sem tengdust smæð og staðsetningu skólanna, einkum út frá rekstrarforsendum og námsframboði. Í framhaldsskólaumhverfi sem gerir ráð fyrir að skólar keppi um nemendur er ljóst að báðir skólarnir voru í brothættri stöðu og þurftu stöðugt að leita nýrra tækifæra til að viðhalda nemendafjölda.
 
Previous studies on schools in rural areas have signified their importance for the communities concerned, for various reasons. Yet, research on education is most often approached from urban perspectives and theories, focusing more on what the rural areas lack in comparison to urban areas, instead of emphasizing their local value. Therefore, researchers have argued for the importance of studying the ruralities from different perspectives, acknowledging and contextualizing different realities and contexts. This study is an attempt to do so, by focusing on two different rural upper secondary schools, with the aim of exploring the value they bring to their local communities and the challenges they face in a marketized upper secondary school environment. The paper presents an analysis of semi-structured interviews with school leaders (N=4), teachers (N=4), and students (N=9) from two small rural schools in Iceland. The two schools participated in a larger research project on Upper Secondary School Practices, conducted in 2013–2015. The two schools presented here were the only schools in the sample that can be considered rural schools. They had fewer than 200 enrolled students and were in small villages in sparsely populated areas. The interview frameworks were different depending on the group that was being interviewed. However, some common themes were discussed, such as the school ethos and identity, policy implementations, school choice, and competition. The interviews were all about 60–90 minutes long and were transcribed verbatim before they were analyzed. The analysis of the data followed Braun and Clarke’s (2013) steps of thematic analysis which involved reading the interviews carefully more than once, adding comments and writing familiarization notes to each of them. Then the data set was coded by conducting focused coding, which involved reading the interviews a few more times while making exploratory comments and further developing them into codes, centering on patterns related to the rural challenges and local value. The findings show evidence of the importance of upper secondary schools for rural education in Iceland, different and complex conditions of the two observed schools, and the various and diverse challenges they face in light of their rural contexts. The demand for upper secondary education in rural areas turned out to be an important aspect of social justice. The leaders and the teachers sought to serve the nearest community and offer educational opportunities for those living there. By so doing, they increased the educational level in the rural setting, counteracted rural depopulation, and attracted educated teachers and their families to the community. In the students’ case, access to schools in the local community was important, particularly for those without the means to choose another school in larger towns. The lack of access to vocational education was addressed and the fact that students enrolled in academic programs, to which they did not aspire, only to be able to stay longer at home. However, the schools fought a constant battle for students; even students that no other school was targeting. Also, it was a matter of course for the schools to offer education for students that needed support. Thus, while the more prestigious upper secondary schools in urban areas are in the position to cherry pick students, based on their previous grades, the rural schools try to offer study programs for all students in respective areas. The study shows how the market principles concerning school choice do not apply to rural schools and their students. The paper highlights the importance of small rural schools and the importance of different local contexts. It also raises challenging questions about the complex education market in Iceland and the weak competitive position of small rural schools
 

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