1. Origin of Research
Developing education for all and lifelong education and striving to build a learning society have become the general trend of education development in the international community, which is also the basic direction of education reform and development in China. Community education is an effective way to realize lifelong education and the best carrier of socialized education. Its full and comprehensive advantages can meet the educational needs of different groups to the greatest extent. The cause of community education in China started late, and the development of community education in rural areas is even slower  . In 2019, the central government of China issued the opinions on giving priority to the development of agriculture and rural areas and doing a good job in the work related to agriculture, rural areas and farmers, which called for comprehensively promoting rural revitalization to lay the foundation for ensuring sustained and healthy economic development and social stability and achieving the first centenary goal as scheduled. In the strategic plan for rural revitalization (2018-2022) issued by the central government of China last year, specific arrangements were made for the implementation of the first five-year work of the rural revitalization strategy. The proposal of the rural revitalization strategy provided new historical opportunities and challenges for the development of rural education in China, especially community education. Therefore, it is very necessary to find out the new orientation and new ways of rural community education development in the new era, and take effective countermeasures to actively serve the rural revitalization strategy.
From the micro perspective, Chinese rural community education can improve farmers’ cultural quality, knowledge and skills, cultivate new professional farmers and enhance their competitiveness in social development. From a macro perspective, China’s rural community education can develop rural human resources, enhance the construction of new rural spiritual culture, and promote the harmonious development of rural economy, politics and culture. At the same time, China’s rural community education is also one of the important ways to accelerate the urban-rural integration and break the urban-rural dual system. How to realize the sustainable development of China’s rural community education and build a learning rural community is one of the important issues in rural construction under the background of rural revitalization, as well as one of the important ways to promote the transformation of China’s rural economic development mode and accelerate the construction of urbanization.
2. The Current Constraints and Challenges Faced by Rural Community Education
The implementation of the rural revitalization strategy is based on the revitalization of talents and the improvement of people’s quality, and the key lies in the perfection and improvement of the rural education system. Rural community education, as an important part of the rural education system, has played an important role in the overall revitalization of rural services and achieved positive results. However, with the implementation of the strategy of rejuvenating rural people, the rural community education is faced with new opportunities and challenges and endowed with new historical mission. In a new era, we will not only provide personnel and intellectual support for comprehensive revitalization of rural areas, but also participate fully in the country better industries, cultural revitalization, organization development and ecological revitalization, so as to play a unique and irreplaceable role in industry cultivation, cultural transmission in industry, rural governance, the party’s construction and sustainable way on multiple dimensions life.
While fully recognizing the development opportunities and important tasks that rural community education faces in the process of rural revitalization strategy, we should also clearly recognize the problems and bottlenecks confronting rural community education. Currently, the main contradiction of China’s education is between the common and personalized demand for high quality education service of the masses and imbalance and insufficiency of education supply. Likewise, there also exists the contradiction that effective supply cannot satisfy demand very well in the process of rural community education participating in and serving the overall revitalization of rural areas, which restricts the rural comprehensive revitalization. These difficulties and challenges are mainly manifested in the following aspects.
3. Rural Community Education’s Status in the Education System Is Not High Enough
Community education in rural areas is mainly composed of school education, family education and social education. Although in recent years, the country has introduced a series of policies to improve community education in rural areas, which to some extent has aroused people’s attention to community education in rural areas. But some grass-roots leadership’s emphasis on rural community education is not enough. Due to the influence of traditional concepts, some grassroots leaders and some of the rural masses still find it hard to accept the new form of education, the instillation of new knowledge and the cultivation of new skills. They consider the concept of rural community education as unimportant, which leads to the grassroots leaders’ ignorance on the national policies of the rural community education. When these policies are not implemented, the rural community education is thus in a vulnerable position  .
The two reasons for rural community education’s vulnerable position are as follows: First, the long-standing influence of China’s urban and rural dual structure. This kind of dual structure has restricted the equal development of urban and rural public services, and the unequal development between rural education system and urban education system development has influenced the development of rural community education as a whole; Second, the two main designs for general education and adult education mainly based on continuation education have long been influenced by China’s economic development level. Restricted by objective conditions, the government pays more attention to general education in the design and guarantee of general education while attaching importance to adult education. Without adequate security on policy system, adult education is in a relatively weak position in the whole national education system, especially on the shortage of funds, talents and other related systems.
4. The Education System of Rural Community Is Not Sound Enough
As a result of the establishment of the socialist market economy system and the continuous increase of farmers’ non-agricultural income, the structure of agricultural industry has undergone great changes, thus making the system with administration and planned economy as the core losing its previous role. In this case, community education plays a huge role in the construction of a new socialist countryside and has a great impact on the development of the countryside. The rural community education belongs to the adult education with sociability, which needs to unify and coordinate multiple educational factors to implement community education well. Because the rural community culture has a certain degree of closure and coupled with the geographical distribution, the difficulty of organization and management has increased. Education system of rural community refers to the three-level school-running network from district community education center to township adult school (township school) and then to village adult school (village school). The integrity of this school-running network is the constitutional guarantee for rural community education. Influenced by a variety of subjective and objective factors, the three-level system of rural community education is not perfect at present. Many villages and towns no longer have independent adult schools, and there is a lack of relatively independent site, funding and personnel support, so community education is greatly restricted.
5. Rural Community Education Teachers Are Weak
The healthy development of community education cannot be separated from the team of community educators. The imbalance between supply and demand for rural community educators lies in the supply deficiency caused by the instability of the teaching body. Full-time personnel, part-time personnel and community volunteers are the main components of Chinese community educators, among which full-time personnel are the core strength of the team and the guarantee of the quality of community education. Compared with teachers in other fields of education, full-time teachers in rural community education are generally paid less, have fewer opportunities for further study, and have difficulty in professional title evaluation, which leads to a very limited space for teacher development. For example, according to the survey of rural community education conducted by the civil affairs department of Jiangxi Province, 65% of rural community residents are dissatisfied with the teaching staff. The main problems include that the teaching staff is short in number and mostly are local primary school teachers; their education level is low, and teachers with college or above education only accounts for 18%; Professional quality is poor, especially on the lack of operational skills required for the use of digital equipment. The existence of these problems leads to the relatively large mobility of rural community teachers, which is not conducive to the overall function of community education  .
6. The Sustainable Development of Rural Community Education Is Flabby
It is the characteristic advantage of community education in rural areas to give farmers the access to education and carry out teaching and training in fields. Flexibility and pertinence have always been the magic weapon of community education and the attraction of community education. However, due to the impact of a series of recent changes in policy and institutional environment, transportation arrangements and subsidies for rural teachers could not be reasonably solved, therefore the difficulties in rural areas and education delivery had become a common problem. And the flexibility of rural community education was greatly reduced.
7. The New Path of Rural Community Education Serving Rural Revitalization Strategy
First, to improve the institutional construction level of rural community education. Rural community education should be carried out from the party’s rural revitalization strategy while earnestly adhering to the party’s leadership. We will implement a rural community education leadership system under the leadership of the party committee, the responsibility of the government, the leadership of education departments, and the cooperation of relevant departments. We will strengthen cooperation with departments in agriculture, science and technology, poverty alleviation and labor, and jointly cultivate new types of agricultural operators  . We will establish and improve the operating mechanism for rural community education featuring active participation of the society, independent community activities, effective market participation and extensive participation of the masses, and promote the transformation of rural community education from practical agricultural technology training to cultural life, employment and entrepreneurship, vocational and technical training. From paying attention to rural economic construction to emphasizing both spiritual civilization and material civilization construction, we will adhere to the purpose of service development, stick to the employment- and entrepreneurship-oriented path and take the enrichment of the spiritual and cultural life of rural residents as the core. Then we will integrate resources, broaden the educational functions, and comprehensively enhance the rural community education vitality and service capacity.
Second, to increase funding for rural community education. We will accelerate reform of the financing system for rural community education, and gradually establish and improve mechanisms for financial input in rural community education, donations from society, and reasonable contributions from employing units and students. First of all, rural community education is a non-profit social public service. The government should expand financial investment to ensure the basic operation of rural community education. In rural areas with good economic conditions, education funds can be managed by the county and township governments. In poor areas, education funds are uniformly managed by the county-level financial department. If it is still difficult to guarantee the funding needs, the fiscal support at the next higher level is needed. Second, the national finance should set up special funds for rural community education, with local finance setting up supporting projects and forming a stable input in rural community education. For example, 30% of the education funding of American community colleges comes from the federal government, and 18% comes from the local government, forming a stable supporting financial input mechanism. Finally, the government can establish a diversified community education investment mechanism by cultivating rural “cooperative economy” and other means. Through rural cooperative economic organization, specialized production and industrial management in rural areas have been promoted, and rural economic development has provided a strong economic guarantee for community education.
Third, strengthen the teaching staff construction of rural community education. Compared with urban community education, rural community education’s receivers of teaching are poorly educated and scattered, and it is less effective to develop a large number of part-time teachers from farmers. Therefore, it is necessary to establish a high-level team of professional teachers who will lead to the development of rural community education  . First, local education departments can transfer some teachers in various education fields to take targeted and professional training lessons, so as to master relevant rural community education theories and professional skills as soon as possible and form a stable team of full-time teachers with “high quality and strong ability”. At the same time, it is also necessary to strengthen the training of rural community education managers, improve their management quality and professional ability, and promote the scientific and standardized management of rural community education. Secondly, the government should establish an incentive mechanism to encourage excellent teachers to teach in rural areas, especially in poor areas where the faculty is very weak, and implement a variety of preferential policies for teachers economically and politically. As community education belongs to socialized education with a wide range of education objects, it is not enough to rely on full-time teachers alone. Part-time teachers must be supplemented to form a team of teachers with full-time teachers as the backbone and part-time teachers as the main body. One is to give full play to the power of retired teachers, technical experts, veteran cadres or community members with technical expertise, and constantly expand the troop of part-time teachers. Second, volunteers in various fields are encouraged to actively participate in rural community education. Their participation is open-ended in form and content. Their knowledge and skills are related to different fields, which will inject fresh power into rural community education.
Fourth, insisting take the road of characteristic development for rural community education. Educational center schools in rural community should vigorously implement the “national rural labor transfer training project” and “rural practical talent training project”. On this basis, efforts should be made to meet the diverse educational and training needs of community residents. This will play an important role in improving the comprehensive quality of residents and cultivating new professional farmers. We should continue to vigorously promote the construction of learning-oriented rural areas, propel the establishment and quality improvement of outstanding learning-oriented community organizations in rural areas, and make efforts to integrate and optimize rural community education resources by relying on platforms such as “moral hall”, “achievement exhibition on excellent courses of community education” and “digital learning of continuing education”. We will actively strive for “schools featuring the rural community education” and “training base characterized by rural community education”, and continuously strengthen the rural community education characteristic brand construction. We will endeavor to lead the rural community education to the development of branding, optimization, specialization and modernization. Therefore, farming industry will have a great prospect with farmer becoming attractive career and rural area a beautiful home to live and work in peace and contentment.
This paper was supported by Zhejiang Open University’s 2019 Annual Scientific Research Project (youth project), i.e. “education practice of grassroots community under the background of rural revitalization based on investigation and research of T county (XKT-QN031)”.
 Wang, Z.Q. and Liang, X.D. (2013) Analysis on the Development Path of Rural Community Education under the Background of Urban-Rural Integration: Case Analysis and General Rule Summary of Ningbo. Journal of Zhejiang Wanli University, 4, 32-37.