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Are primary schools a development and stabilisation factor of rural municipalities? A study of the differences in their importance in the Czech suburban, intermediate and peripheral countryside


This paper assessed the importance of primary school development in relation to community life, availability of funding, and attractiveness of rural municipalities in the suburban, intermediate and peripheral countryside of the Czech Republic. The importance of primary schools was analysed based on empirical research of the mayors of small municipalities in regions at the NUTS 3 level, i.e. suburban countryside in a large metropolitan area (the Central Bohemia Region), intermediate – stabilised rural region with a low population density (the South Bohemia Region) and predominantly rural region, internal periphery (the Vysocina Region). The results are discussed in three main themes: (1) general importance of schools for municipal development, (2) factors for school maintenance/absence in the village, and (3) development problems of municipalities in particular types of rural regions. Generally, the study findings prove the above division depending on whether there is a school within the municipality, with disparities with different types of rural areas not significant. Representatives of rural municipalities with a school confirmed that that the school is an important element in terms of community life and the attractiveness of the municipality for current and future residents, whereas in municipalities without schools, the necessary institutional memory to assess the importance and potential of a school was missing. Therefore, schools are only perceived as a provider of education without the possibility to positively influence the life within the municipality. This approach to understanding primary schools in conjunction with trends in rural outmigration in distant rural municipalities enhances the vicious circle of socio-economic shrinkage.

Publication timeframe:
Volume Open
Journal Subjects:
Social Sciences, Sociology, other