Small Rural Schools in the Primary Education Market: The Example of Turnov Region

Journal / Conference: Czech Sociological Review
Authors: Silvie R. Kučerová, Jan D. Bláha, Zuzana Pavlasová
Year: 2015
Number: 4
Category of Publication: Article in Journal
Pages, web: 607–636
Keywords: primary schools, rural space, marketisation, catchment area, Czechia, Turnov region
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Abstract: The article deals with selected issues relating to the provision and accessibility of primary education in rural, non-exposed areas. These issues are examined from the viewpoint that various conditions force even public education to be guided by certain principles of the free market (e.g. competing for clients), although its actions in this respect are simultaneously rather constrained. The article sets out to analyse the primary education market in a model region Turnov (situated in Czechia) in relation to the type of catchment area. It discusses the pitfalls of public school marketisation, and it analyses the spatial distribution of schools in the model region and the schools’ jurisdictions based on the different types of catchment areas, which are defined and created in the form of cartographic visualisation. The article also examines four municipalities with small rural school as case studies selected on the basis of representing different types of catchment area. The authors discuss the findings of in-depth interviews that were conducted with headmasters, school operators, and some parents in the four municipalities in order to identify the strategies that schools can use to strengthen their position in the primary education market. The authors find that not only do schools’ marketing strategies vary little depending on their geographical location but the majority of schools in the case study have not formulated a unique and systematic vision and mission for their school. The principal features of all the schools studied are their self-identification in opposition to the culture of urban schools.
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