Despite growing agreement overall that children, young people and adults all need education to prepare them to deal practically with the actual situations which confront them, in many rural communities the relevance of formal education is neither perceived nor acknowledged. Many village children in agricultural areas are not given a realistic assessment of the impact of modern technology on farm productivity; therefore they do not have a practical sense of the role of agriculture in the future. High school students remark that their school lessons do not relate either to their cultural or to their employment needs, and in general that school activities do not seem to have any practical application to their situation. People see few incentives for higher education, whether formal or informal. This situation is intensified by the fact that many standardized national curricula allow little room for innovation in subject matter or teaching methods. People are therefore aware of being inadequately prepared to meet the challenges of the technological environment in which they live.
Although training tends to be increasingly tied to the practical needs of employment and social life, education in some communities is still primarily academic and almost exclusively for youth. In communities where the major industry (possibly the very reason the community came into existence) closes down, schools are half empty as much of the population leaves. Without a close tie between the schools and local jobs, young people go elsewhere for further training and employment. The older people who are left behind are untrained for other work even if it were available and, as a result, they retire prematurely from the work force. Those who start their own businesses find themselves lacking modern management and marketing skills. Opportunities for retraining are either nonexistent or restricted to skills that are not applicable to the employment available.