Why do children go to school : a case study of primary education in Hawassa, Ethiopia
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AbstractThis thesis contributes to an understanding of why children in urban Ethiopia and elsewhere go to school by accounting for children in one Ethiopian city’s own explanations of! their educational participation, and examining the factors shaping these understandings. The findings demonstrate that, for children in this context, education was both an indicator of a ‘good’ childhood, and the route to social adulthood. Children in Hawassa wanted to go to school in order to become good workers, good people and good national! citizens. Their motivations for going to school often overlapped with dominant arguments for the expansion of education, but went beyond the narrow economic instrumentalism of the human capital approach and challenged the neoliberal individualism that has underpinned much work on human capabilities. The thesis therefore asserts the important contribution that children can make to debates about the purposes of education. However, it also demonstrates that children’s explanations of their schooling were constrained!by!the!discourses!and!understandings!available!to!them.!It!argues that children had largely internalised a deficit model of childhood and education that inhibited the expansion of their critical capabilities In demonstrating the constraints upon children’s understandings, the thesis also demonstrates that educational participation in Hawassa was not solely the outcome of children’s rational evaluation of the costs and benefits associated with going to school. However, it does not instead present attendance as resulting from compulsion or normativity. Rather, it argues that going to school was an act of agency that arose from children’s ultimate human concerns, and was constrained and enabled by external ‘generative mechanisms’(Bhaskar 1978). These mechanisms included discourses about the morality and power of education, economic structures rendering school attendance necessary for the achievement of desired indicators of adulthood, and government strategies seeking to minimise civil conflict and dissent.
TypeThesis or Dissertation
Marshall, Lydia (2015) Why do children go to school : a case study of primary education in Hawassa, Ethiopia. PhD thesis, University of Warwick.