Waikato Journal of Education


rural schools
rural identity
School governance

How to Cite

Tatebe, J., Choo, L. W., & Valdivia, L. (2024). Governing in crises: Rural school board experiences of urbanisation during Covid-19 . Waikato Journal of Education. https://doi.org/10.15663/wje.a1053


Encroaching urbanisation into small and rural communities across Aotearoa New Zealand is becoming increasingly common. This phenomenon is the result of multiple crises: strong and continued population growth, a housing shortage, rising housing unaffordability, and Covid-19. This paper offers a critical analysis of how these intersecting crises have intensified existing inequities during the Covid-19 pandemic. Focus group data of 18 boards of trustees illustrates how school board trustees navigated a range of social, educational, and economic challenges. Several key aspects of school governance during times of crises emerge from the study findings, including an increasing need for student pastoral care due to widening rural educational disparities such as the digital divide and the ongoing challenge of maintaining a rural identity for students and the local school communities they serve. As part of the second phase of a larger study about the impact of urbanisation on rural schools in Aotearoa New Zealand, study findings build upon existing knowledge and capacity to adapt to educational crises in a new post-pandemic landscape from a rural perspective and will also be of interest to both rural and urban schools experiencing the effects of changing demographics due to urbanisation in their local communities. 

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Copyright (c) 2024 Jennifer Tatebe, Liyun Wendy Choo, Lina Valdivia