Urban Versus Rural Areas Education

by Nur Zafirah Mohd Faudzi

If you are asked, between urban schools and rural schools, which gives better education, what is your answer? I think 100% of us would choose urban, right? We assume that urban schools give a better education because they have more money, extraordinary technical ab

ility and quality teachers. These are the reasons for the differences in achievement in urban and rural school students.

Let’s address a few similar studies by the researchers. There was a study by Melvin (1999) on the academic performance between urban and rural areas in Kentucky, United States. The study produced a result showing that the students from both areas performed similarly on tests of educational performance. Another study by Michael (1998) also found out that there is no significant in students’ performance from urban and rural areas in America.

Based on these studies, let’s see whether these studies’ results also imply to the students in Malaysia. Data of Pandai students will be utilized for this finding. Firstly, the students will be categorized according to the city of their schools. The cities are determined as urban or rural based on the number of populations. The number of population is according to the current statistics in Malaysia as of 2020.

Figure 1. Populations of Urban Areas
Figure 2 . Populations of Rural Areas

Next, to identify if there is a difference in the education performance in both areas, the average score of Mathematics, Science, English and Bahasa Melayu of 200 students from Year 6 and Form 3 is being compared. The data are being classified based on the city of their schools.

Figure 3. Average Score of Each Subject Based on Locality (Year 6)

The bar chart shows the average score of Mathematics, Science, English and Bahasa Melayu subjects of 200 students of Year 6 from urban and rural areas.

As the bar chart above shows, students from urban areas scored an average of 59.45% on Mathematics, whereas with less than 2.25 percent, students from rural areas scored 57.20%. For Science subject, urban area’s students scored an average of 61.65% while rural area’s students scored 60.10% with a negative 1.55 percent difference. On the other hand, with a difference of 2.43 percent, urban area’s students overscored rural area’s students in English with an average of 78.87%. There is a 2.15 percent difference in the average score of Bahasa Melayu subject of the students from both areas, favored by the urban area’s students.

Overall, we’re starting to see that the students from urban areas showed an advantage in all subjects’ performance. They surpassed the rural area’s students’ average score in most subjects by more than 2 percent. Now that we’ve seen Year 6 students’ results, we will now take a look at Form 3 students’ performance.

Figure 4. Average Score of Each Subject Based on Locality (Form 3)

The bar graph shows the average score of 200 Form 3 students from both urban and rural areas in subjects of Mathematics, Science, English and Bahasa Melayu.

As can be seen, the average score of Mathematics shows a significant difference of 3.47 percent, which favors the urban. In Science subject, with 2.15 percentage points more than the rural area’s students, the urban scored an average of 58.38%. Besides that, the urban and rural area’s students scored an average of 74.48% and 71.68%, respectively, with a gap of 3.1 percentage points for English subject. While the other three subjects showed an advantage over the urban, in contrast, the rural area’s students surprisingly show a more excellent average score in Bahasa Melayu subject with a slight difference of 1.25 percent.

Overall, it clearly shows a continuous trend that the urban areas’ students scored better than the rural area’s students in most of the subjects since year 6. However, the rural areas’ students have overtaken Bahasa Melayu subjects by a slight difference in form 3.

To better identify whether the urban area’s students performed better than rural, let us look at the top 100 students of Pandai are being analyzed. The city of their school is categorizing the data.

Figure 5. Overview of Top 100 Students Based on Locality

Here’s the pie chart that shows the top 100 students of the urban and rural area from both Year 6 and Form 3 students. The top students were determined by calculating the total score of all subjects attempted by each student.

The pie chart shows that 52%, which is more than half of the top 100 students, is from the urban area. With a small difference, the other 48% are students from rural areas.

Now that we have seen the results, we can say that the urban areas’ students are better in education performance. However, since there is just a slight difference in the percentage, we can also say that educational performance is quite similar between the students from these two areas.

In conclusion, the students from urban schools performed better than their peers in rural schools in the four subjects, Mathematics, Science, English and Bahasa Melayu. Comparing the top 100 students with the highest scores, urban school students are the majority. However, the difference is tiny, proving that the chances of equivalently being excellent in education are similar for students from both urban and rural areas. This study concluded that the study results by both researchers mentioned implying similarly to our country as well.

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