Transition and Participation of Rural Students in Higher Education: Barriers and Opportunities

Benard O Nyatuka


There is an accumulating body of knowledge that points to the fact that rurality is a crucial demographic to be considered in the identification of students with respect to access to and retention in the higher institutions of learning. Research shows that rural economies, for instance, help shape students’ career aspirations and labour options in these institutions. Among others, some students may find it difficult to make a decision on whether to go back to their hometowns instead of pursuing their dreams elsewhere in the community once they graduate from the higher institutions of learning. Students from rural areas are generally perceived to have low educational aspirations and achievement. Indeed, most of the studies concerning rural students tend to be tilted towards their educational and career choices. Interestingly, despite policy makers across the various sectors of the economy increasingly paying attention to the rural population, little focus has been directed towards transition, experiences and or participation of students from the rural communities in higher education. Against this background, this theoretical paper explores the barriers as well as opportunities regarding transition and participation of rural students, with a view to enhancing provision of meaningful higher education, including realization of the envisaged goals of this cycle of learning.

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