The educational reform of 1999 changed the structure of the Polish educational system. A new kind of school was created - lower secondary school (gimnazjum). One of the objectives of this change was to equalize the education levels (or rather to reduce the differences) between urban and rural schools. Unfortunately, the results of external exams have shown a systematic deepening of these differences. Rural schools have increasingly poor, and urban schools - increasingly good results. On the basis of a research conducted in lower secondary schools in six selected rural communities, the authoress has attempted to show the factors which influence their poor educational results. In each rural community, many students are brought by school buses from their homes in the countryside to the school located usually in the biggest village of the community. The poorest results are attained by those travelling students, whereas local students are coping better. Only two of the examined schools have implemented a strategy of assistance for students living in the countryside, and only one has any successes in the field. The group of students brought from small villages includes a group of persons in a very disadvantageous economic situation, encountering learning difficulties due to the fact that they fall behind very strongly and they are not looked after appropriately. Many of them have very low motivation to study and they often skip classes. The creation of gimnazjum became an advantage for the inhabitants of those villages in which such schools were established. Definitely too little has been done to provide realistic opportunities for those who are brought to school from the countryside.
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