Education for Rural Transformation

Rural areas, where the largest proportion of the world population lives, have been receiving less priority in terms of resource allocation, service delivery and program interventions. Because of inequitable distribution of resources and investments, rural areas have always been left behind in developing the potentials that are available in the areas. As the home for a large majority of people, rural areas are closely linked not only with their livelihoods but also with their culture and pattern of life, knowledge and sharing, and self and identity. Likewise, rural areas contain resources that provide sustenance and means of development not only for rural people but also for people living in urban areas. At the same time rural areas are also the areas of poverty, exclusion and deprivation. While these areas have been suffering from the neglect of the system, the occurrence of discrimination, exclusion, and hierarchy are common in these areas.

One of the reasons rural areas are lagging behind is due to limited opportunities available for people to receive quality and adequate education that would help them enhance the quality of their life. Several reasons explain why rural areas are deprived in terms of education. One such reason is that the present education system has largely been ignoring the needs and aspirations of rural areas and people there. Moreover, the rigidity of the present education system does not fit well within the rural pattern of life that is much more flexible and rhythmic as per the pattern of the nature. Further, the present education system does not recognize the traditional mode of knowing and thus those modes which are developed through generations of efforts and as per the needs of the people are gradually disappearing. With these losses great human treasures are disappearing.

Several strategic interventions are needed to bring about a change in such situations and transform the rural areas. This includes a prioritized intervention at several fronts including education. It has been well established that education can contribute to transform rural areas but it is equally important to realize that education needs reengineering so that it could recognize the contextualized needs of people and it should be designed in a manner that would support people to build their lives in a sustainable manner. Obviously, such a system needs to be flexible to cater to the needs of all groups of people and communities and at the same time socially just. Such a system should also be trying to build a synergy between the local practices of knowing and the knowledge practice developed elsewhere in the world. It is also necessary to realize that rural areas are vibrant and changing and thus the emerging needs of the changing contexts are to be realized. With these contexts, the idea of education for rural transformation is being practiced and developed with the purpose of contributing to initiate a process of positive, equitable and sustainable development of rural areas in the context of emerging local, national and global challenges and opportunities and taking education as a key means for achieving this purpose.

The 5th International ERT Symposium in Kathmandu

The idea of Education for Rural Transformation (ERT) was first promoted by UNESCO International Research and Training Center for Rural Development (INRULED) in early 2000s. Following this same model, the Institute of International Education (IIE) in Stockholm University began an ERT movement with the main purpose of developing the theoretical base of ERT as a good practice and sharing research and practice-based knowledge, using cases around the world that would contribute to the movement of and research on ERT. Under this movement four international symposiums have already been held - first in Stockholm, Sweden in 2010; second in Chengdu, China in 2011; third in Baroda, India in 2012; and the fourth in Bangkok, Thailand in 2013. In the same line, the 5th ERT international symposium will be held in Kathmandu, Nepal in 2014.

Objectives of the Kathmandu Symposium

The Kathmandu Symposium will be organized with the objective of contributing to build and share the knowledge base on education for rural transformation. Specifically, the symposium will have the following objectives:
  • To share research-based practices of reengineered education along with flexibility and ensuring social justice
  • To deliberate on the aspects like quality, equity, and relevance of education in rural areas
  • To share experiences on building and sharing skills and knowledge base
  • To highlight the socio-economic vibrancy of rural areas
  • To discuss ways to link rural areas with emerging needs and advancements
  • To provide a forum to actors of education and rural transformation to share their knowledge and experiences in ERT and particularly on reengineering of education

  • Symposium Themes

    Staying under the overarching theme of Education for Rural Transformation, the main symposium theme will be Reengineering Education for flexible learning and social justice. Within this broader theme there will be different other sub-themes, such as:
  • Alternative modes of knowing and sharing
  • Identifying and incorporating emerging needs of rural areas in education
  • Quality, equity, adequacy, and relevance of education
  • Assessing knowing and learning
  • Entrepreneurship, employability, and socio-economic vibrancy of rural areas
  • Conceptual and theoretical bases of ERT

  • Call for Papers

    The symposium calls for individual and panel paper with in the themes of the Symposium (*)

    Key Dates
    31 May 2014 First abstract submission
    7 June 2014 Review reports sent back to author/panel leader
    15 June 2014 Final abstract submission
    22 June 2014 Abstract acceptance information
    30 August 2014 Final paper submission

    Abstracts and full papers may be uploaded either in the symposium website or may be sent as an email attachment to

    Submission details are available in [Standard and Quality Guidelines for Paper Submission]

    News and Events

      Key Dates:

    • 31 May 2014:
      First abstract submission
    • 7th June 2014:
      Review reports sent back to author/panel leader
    • 15 June 2014:
      Final abstract submission
    • 22 June 2014:
      Abstract acceptance information
    • 30 August 2014:
      Final paper submission

      Paper Word-Length:

    • Abstract:
      500-800 words::Individual 1000-1500 words::Panel
    • Paper:
      5000-6000 words::Individual 10000-12000 words::Panel

      Registration Fee:

    • Early-bird Registration
      (by 31 July, 2014)

      --Nepali nationals :
      NRs. 10,000
      --Non-Nepali SAARC nationals :
      USD 150
      --Participants from outside SAARC :
      USD 200
      --Students (Nepali):
      NRs. 5,000
    • Late registration
      (by 7th September, 2014)

      --Nepali nationals :
      NRs. 12,000
      --Non-Nepali SAARC nationals :
      USD 200
      --Participants from outside SAARC :
      USD 250
      --Students (Nepali):
      NRs. 6,000
    © 2014 Kathmandu University School of Education