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Nowadays, education is the most important aspect in society development. School has to play a major role in ensuring the successful of the development. As for students, they need to have good skills and have to be proactive with an appropriate futuristic set of mind. Besides that, students are also need to be active in co curriculum activity along with high academic achievement. The learning environments also have major roles to play in learning and the area where the students' lives can determine their performance in their studies. Reasons for the variations in achievement are geographic location, resources, availability of technology and also the quality of teachers. These studies want to investigate the differences between students performance in rural and urban areas. This purpose is to determine whether learning environment or living area is one of the factors that contribute to their low performance. Students' performance is their achievements in their studies whether they have low or high performance. Urban area relates to the area that are surrounding by cities and it is well populated areas compared to rural area which is sparsely populated areas and it usually farmland or country areas.
"The learning environments also have major roles to play in learning not only of social studies but of other disciplines in the school curriculum"
Topic of Interest: The Differences between Students Performance in Rural and Urban Areas
Purpose of study: 1) To investigate the differences between students performances in rural and
2) To discuss the factors of low performance among students in rural area.
3) To find ways to address the achievement gap differences between rural
and urban students.
THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN STUDENTS PERFORMANCE IN RURAL AND URBAN AREAS
Recent educational research has examined rural and urban differences in their achievement. Many educators, researchers, legislators and the general public believe that students from rural schools mostly receive an education that is inferior compared to the students that live in urban areas. Students background also impact on their performance where we can see that many of the students that lives in rural areas has low academic achievement when we compared it with the students that lives in urban areas. There are many factors that cause to the gap performance between students in rural and urban areas. Students in urban schools get many excess compared to students in rural schools. The National Education Association said that the low performing youth are in public rural schools (Brown & Swanson, 2001).
The excellent performance of urban students is because of their better quality in their education, availability of the information that they get from various sources like mass media and electronic media, their educated families and peers groups which help them for better performance. They have many advantages and facilities in their education compared to rural students. Students in rural areas less exposed to the outside world and also lack of knowledge about the currents issues that happen.
Education is proving to be effective instrument that can raise students' self-belief, forethought, self-esteem and self-efficacy. Students that lives in undeveloped village must try to attain the best education for them and do not make their living environment as one of the factors that be a barrier in their success. We also can see that students in rural areas are much less likely to earn a college degree than students of urban areas. The disparity is highest in rural areas where only 8 percent of rural residents over age 25 have a college degree, compared with 16 percent of the residents in urban areas (U. S. Bureau of the Census, 1999). So from these, we can clarify that, there is a gap of performance between students that live in rural and urban areas due to some factors.
FACTORS OF LOW PERFORMANCE AMONG STUDENTS IN RURAL AREAS
There are many factors that contribute to the differences of performance between students in rural and urban areas.
At the rural areas, family is one of the factors that determine their child performance. In this study, students in rural areas have low performance compared to students in urban areas because it is relate to their parents education. Majority of parents in rural areas are less educated than parents in urban areas. The family background is the most important and weighty factor in determining the academic performance of learners (Adell, 2002: 91). Survey found that, rural students felt no pressure to attain good performance when their parents' expectations towards education were low. Parental encouragement has a positive influence towards their child performance and at rural areas most of parents did not care about their child academic performance. Some experts believe that parent expectations is the most influential factor affecting youth decisions to pursue education (Esterman & Hedlund, 1995; Smith, Beaulieu, & Seraphine, 1995).
Low Socio-economic Factor
The students' background relate to the low socioeconomic factor of their family also one of the factor that effect their performance in education. Most of the students that live in rural areas come from low income family. Their parents cannot provide them enough educational resources at home. Compared to students at urban areas, the majority of them come from high income families and their parents are afford to sent them to their tuition classes in order to get better performance. Urban students also can buy additional books for their references while for the rural students, they non-exposure to educational resources and it will affect their performance compared to those who have access to such resources. Students who have access to more resources are advantage compared to those from poor families because they can know more about the latest developments around them thus can assist them to improve their performance at schools.
Lack of Facilities and Resources
Education promotes human capital as an asset that has greater or lower rates of return depend on the quality of education that is provided. Some of the factors that contributing to the poor performance are lack or resources and poor facilities in most schools especially in rural areas. Some of schools in rural areas are dilapidated compared to those in urban areas. The problem regarding unequal distribution of resources between provinces, rural and urban areas are still intact (Motala & Pampalis, 2001:56). Several schools in rural areas do not have laboratories and this situation means that students learn science by rote learning. Facilities are important in order to make the teaching and learning process more effective. Students that live in rural areas will less expose to the using of technology because the facilities that were provided for them are not sufficient. This will make their learning process will be less effective and they will have less knowledge about current issues as well as how to use technology. Students in urban areas have many advantages in their learning process and with the advent of technology it will make easier for their study. They will more understanding with their learning with the facilities provided.
Less Qualified Teachers
Teacher is the important role in order to create good performance students. Most of the teacher did not want to posting in rural area because they think it will bring difficulty to them. So, the majority of teachers that were sent to the rural areas are the new teachers that have less experience in teaching. Awoniyi (1981) remarked that there is a direct relationship between the quality of teaching personnel and the quality of education process. Most of them did not master the teaching technique yet because they are still new in teaching area. When we compared to students in urban areas they usually have a teachers that have good communications skills in English. Most of teachers compete for placement in urban schools. So, rural school will have inadequate teacher and it will make their learning progress disturbed and not running properly.
WAYS TO ADDRESS THE ACHIEVEMENT GAP DIFFERENCES BETWEEN RURAL AND URBAN STUDENTS
In order to overcome the differences performance between students in rural and urban areas, several ways should be taken.
The Role of Government
Government has to play a role in improving educational outcomes for rural students. Government should provide enough facilities to the schools that located in rural areas same as the urban schools. Besides that, government also must provide a financial support to the students that lives in rural areas where we know that most of them come from low income families and not affordable to gain a better education and services. Facilities that were provided must be fair and equal treatment should be given to rural schools same like urban schools. In addition, best educators also should be placed in rural schools because they can help students to improve their performance. Good teachers will produce good students. Most important is government should ensure that teachers are adequately qualified to teach the subject that allocated for them and they can do their work properly. Education department also should visit all schools to establish and verify their needs to ensure that resources are allocated in line with their needs and status.
Role of Parents
While the teachers play their role at school, parents should play their roles at home. Although parents in rural areas have no education, they can help their children performance in terms of giving them moral supports and motivation to learn. Even they cannot help in terms of provide resources to learn, they can give a support to their child to study hard to change the fate of their family. Parents should realize how important of education to their child and their future. Parents can always ask their child about their learning progress and accompanied them during doing their work. They also must always care about their child performance and monitor their progress.
The Role of Teachers
The teacher is an important force in school learning. Teachers also one of the sources that can help in overcomes the problem of low performance among rural students. Teachers can help in encouraging the students to study hard and help them to complete most of their work at school during study time, where students can ask teachers if they do not understand about the lesson. If they are doing work at home, nobody can help them since their parents might not be able to assist because most of parents in rural areas have less education. Teachers should encourage their students to participate in many activities because it will give them the opportunity to build their self-confident and positive self-esteem. Besides that, teacher also can create a caring and supportive environment where students will feel more comfortable during their learning. Good relationship between students and teacher also good in order to improve students' performance where when teachers are close with the students, students will feel easy and not shy to ask anything that they do not understand.
The Role as a Student
The students itself should realize the importance of education in their future lives. If they want a better life in the future they must study hard to get a good performance. Usually students at rural area does not care about their education and most of them dropout from schooling. This is because they do not have motivation in their study and their parents also did not care about their performance. So in order to overcome the gap performance between students in rural and urban areas, rural students should set their mind that education is important to change their lives. When they have a mindset that education is important, they will study hard in order to get a good achievement.
The study presented the differences of performances between students in rural and urban areas. Rural and urban schools are characterized by its unique strength and weaknesses. "Rural and urban schools are much the same when it comes to resources and learning environments" (EQR, 2003, p.45). Yet there are many variables that affect students' achievement and those variables are directly related to whether a school is considered a rural or an urban school. Some factors that contribute to the gap performances between students in these two areas were determined and also recommendations in order to overcome this problem were suggested. Although some recommendations have been highlighted, solutions might not be easy for them. The suggestions for improving the performance among rural students is that they must understand their environment properly, and maintain their inner resources like self-efficacy and self-esteem. From this study we can conclude that, there have differences between students performance in rural and urban schools. Students that lives in urban area will get high performance excel opportunities provided by their location. Urban students have greater access to many resources and therefore have opportunities that are not easily accessible to rural students. Besides that urban parents were more professional and they realize the advantage of education. Parents of rural students were less likely to expect their children to advance their education. From the comparison of this study we can know what the differences between rural and urban schools are.