Universities and rural areas (long)
Not many young people living in rural areas have access to university education. Universities should make it easier for people from rural areas. To what extent do you agree or disagree with this statement?
Now that the majority of the world’s population live in cities, it’s easy to forget that millions still live in the countryside, far from most of the world’s prestigious schools and colleges. In this essay, I will suggest how universities can make it easier for students living far from cities to receive a good education.
It’s not necessarily a good thing for colleges to open physical campuses in rural areas. First of all, land costs money, and building labs, libraries and research units is eye-wateringly expensive. Secondly there is the problem of staff. Not all university staff will be able or will want to relocate to small towns or villages far from their colleagues. A third issue is inefficiency. A tiny campus in a rural area may only serve a few hundred students, compared to extensive facilities for thousands of students in a city. In addition, students in a small campus may miss the interaction and atmosphere of a larger city university.
However, there are many ways to facilitate third level education outside the cities. For one thing, there are many technological solutions. Radio and television have long been used to extend the reach of education, and now almost all bricks-and-mortar universities offer some form of distance education via email or the internet. These are not perfect solutions, but they can work well. Another approach is to offer beginner-level courses in rural campuses and then require students to transfer for their final years. Yet another approach is specialization, where particular departments or faculties disperse across the country, perhaps with agriculture in one province and engineering in another. However, a very important point is to offer scholarships and to have special entry requirements or quotas for students from rural areas. Many people in the countryside may lack the financial resources to live in cities and pay high tuition fees.
In conclusion, many universities nowadays welcome diversity and equality in their policies and student bodies. It’s important for them to also make sure that students from rural areas also get the best education they can.
You can find a shorter version of this essay (241 words, compared to 343 for this one) here.