Rural University Education for Sustainable Development in South Africa: A Review

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


University education is envisaged to contribute to and enhance sustainable development in society. Hence there is a desire for quality and effectiveness in the tertiary education system for which huge amounts of money are budgeted annually. However, the quality and effectiveness of rural university education with regard to aiding sustainable development in host communities tends to be questionable. This study explored the relevance of rural university education toward enhancing sustainable development in Africa, using the context of South Africa. A review method was adopted for this study. Relevant literature was reviewed and analysed using themes. The findings of the study show that while rural universities are capable of promoting sustainable development, those in South Africa and by extension developing and underdeveloped nations are hindered by various challenges such as lack of career guidance, globalisation of the curriculum, and poor academic literacy, among others. The challenges render students incompetent in their chosen professions, consequently affecting their ability to give back to society. The study recommends that rural universities should be designed and positioned for glocalisation first. Also, adequate support for rural universities must be made available to enable them to contribute toward sustainable development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)160-176
Number of pages17
JournalAfrica Education Review
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • curriculum development
  • education
  • glocalisation
  • rural university education
  • sustainable development

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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