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GROUP 1. School-going girls in Kono, Sierra Leone: What do they think about schooling?

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Abstract:

CIES New Scholar Fellows Workshop Application

Applicant: Jordene Hale (jhale@sagefoxgroup.com)
Faculty Chairperson: Meg Gebhard, Language, Literacy and Cultures Department, School of Education, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA, USA
Stage in Program: Beginning Writing- transcribing final data

Dissertation details:
School-going girls in Kono, Sierra Leone: What do they think about schooling?

In the Development literature, educating girls is the panacea prescribed for curing all of the ills besetting Sub-Saharan Africa. Yet, in reality, school for girls is costly, does not yield immediate results, and can be dangerous (Betancourt, Simons et al, 2008; Sharkley, 2008; Shumba, 2001, Wang, 2007). Although research on the correlation between education, health, and family dynamics has been strong, there is little research on the subjective, internal motivation of the girls going to school. Anderson-Fye (2010) conducting research in Belize found that girls’ motivation stemmed from a desire to escape from future gender-related violence. Aboh (2006), working in Benin, found that high school girls who stayed in school continued to feel that education was the way to “Be Somebody” while those who dropped out no longer felt that school would lead to social and economic success. Kendall (in progress), working in Malawi, and Reimer (2008), working in adult education in Botswana, suggest that in many people’s minds education is tied to morality.
The purpose of this study is to build on the findings of Kendall and others and contribute to the research on how girls in sub-Saharan Africa experience school by understanding the situated, personal motivations of these school-going girls. Specifically, my study asks girls who are paying for the majority of their own schooling expenses in Kono, Sierra Leone, why they are staying in school. The focal students are currently in class five or six in primary school and all engage in petty trading of locally produced items to pay for their school fees, uniforms, exam fees, etc. By understanding the lived subjective experiences of these girls the larger pattern of challenges of education in Sierra Leone can be better understood.
The specific questions posed by this qualitative study are:
1) How do the girls describe their motivations for going to school?
2) What do the girls describe as the difference between themselves and those who do not attend school?
3) How do the girls navigate the experience of school? What are the methods of coping with the multiple demands placed on them that counter their desire to go to school?

Three diverse primary sites within Koinadugu City, Kono have been chosen as focal schools, based on religious, economic, and cultural factors. One school serves a predominantly Christian population and one school is run by an international African charity with a poorer mixed religious population. The third school serves the children of the diamond industry business class and has a predominantly Muslim population.
Data was collected through semi-structured recorded interviews of girls in fifth and sixth grades between the ages of 11-13 who are identified as ‘self funding’ their education. Interviews switched between Krio and English according to the ease of the child. Interviews have been conducted with 21 girls initially in February 2010 and again in May 2010. A return visit is planned for February 2011. Headmasters and Assistant Headmasters from all three schools plus 2 teachers and one School Government Head were also interviewed in recorded conversations. Essays from 25 students in one of the schools and letters from 3 girls in a different school have also been collected. Data also includes field notes, interviews with educational officials, non-governmental workers who specialize in education, and selected parents and family members, and classroom/school observations.
Data will be analyzed using a grounded theory approach. Data was coded generatively during the first and second fieldwork to improve data collection. Further data analysis will occur in three phases. Phase one will be an open coding of data from a) interviews with self funding 5,6, and JSS1 girls b) essays written by 25 girls and letters sent to the researcher from the focus girls and c) field notes. These initial codes will be categorized into core concepts (axial coding). Phase two will consist of reviewing all other data for occurrences of core concepts. Phase three will a process of triangulating deeper understanding of core concepts with non-governmental workers and key informants in Kono, Sierra Leone.
The significance of this study rests in its ability to give voice to the motivation and self-perceptions of school-going girls to better understand their lived reality of school.
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Association:
Name: 55th Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society
URL:
http://www.cies.us


Citation:
URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p486384_index.html
Direct Link:
HTML Code:

MLA Citation:

Hale, Jordene. "GROUP 1. School-going girls in Kono, Sierra Leone: What do they think about schooling?" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 55th Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society, Fairmont Le Reine Elizabeth, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, May 01, 2011 <Not Available>. 2014-11-26 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p486384_index.html>

APA Citation:

Hale, J. , 2011-05-01 "GROUP 1. School-going girls in Kono, Sierra Leone: What do they think about schooling?" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 55th Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society, Fairmont Le Reine Elizabeth, Montreal, Quebec, Canada <Not Available>. 2014-11-26 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p486384_index.html

Publication Type: CIES New Scholar Fellow Proposal
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: CIES New Scholar Fellows Workshop Application

Applicant: Jordene Hale (jhale@sagefoxgroup.com)
Faculty Chairperson: Meg Gebhard, Language, Literacy and Cultures Department, School of Education, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA, USA
Stage in Program: Beginning Writing- transcribing final data

Dissertation details:
School-going girls in Kono, Sierra Leone: What do they think about schooling?

In the Development literature, educating girls is the panacea prescribed for curing all of the ills besetting Sub-Saharan Africa. Yet, in reality, school for girls is costly, does not yield immediate results, and can be dangerous (Betancourt, Simons et al, 2008; Sharkley, 2008; Shumba, 2001, Wang, 2007). Although research on the correlation between education, health, and family dynamics has been strong, there is little research on the subjective, internal motivation of the girls going to school. Anderson-Fye (2010) conducting research in Belize found that girls’ motivation stemmed from a desire to escape from future gender-related violence. Aboh (2006), working in Benin, found that high school girls who stayed in school continued to feel that education was the way to “Be Somebody” while those who dropped out no longer felt that school would lead to social and economic success. Kendall (in progress), working in Malawi, and Reimer (2008), working in adult education in Botswana, suggest that in many people’s minds education is tied to morality.
The purpose of this study is to build on the findings of Kendall and others and contribute to the research on how girls in sub-Saharan Africa experience school by understanding the situated, personal motivations of these school-going girls. Specifically, my study asks girls who are paying for the majority of their own schooling expenses in Kono, Sierra Leone, why they are staying in school. The focal students are currently in class five or six in primary school and all engage in petty trading of locally produced items to pay for their school fees, uniforms, exam fees, etc. By understanding the lived subjective experiences of these girls the larger pattern of challenges of education in Sierra Leone can be better understood.
The specific questions posed by this qualitative study are:
1) How do the girls describe their motivations for going to school?
2) What do the girls describe as the difference between themselves and those who do not attend school?
3) How do the girls navigate the experience of school? What are the methods of coping with the multiple demands placed on them that counter their desire to go to school?

Three diverse primary sites within Koinadugu City, Kono have been chosen as focal schools, based on religious, economic, and cultural factors. One school serves a predominantly Christian population and one school is run by an international African charity with a poorer mixed religious population. The third school serves the children of the diamond industry business class and has a predominantly Muslim population.
Data was collected through semi-structured recorded interviews of girls in fifth and sixth grades between the ages of 11-13 who are identified as ‘self funding’ their education. Interviews switched between Krio and English according to the ease of the child. Interviews have been conducted with 21 girls initially in February 2010 and again in May 2010. A return visit is planned for February 2011. Headmasters and Assistant Headmasters from all three schools plus 2 teachers and one School Government Head were also interviewed in recorded conversations. Essays from 25 students in one of the schools and letters from 3 girls in a different school have also been collected. Data also includes field notes, interviews with educational officials, non-governmental workers who specialize in education, and selected parents and family members, and classroom/school observations.
Data will be analyzed using a grounded theory approach. Data was coded generatively during the first and second fieldwork to improve data collection. Further data analysis will occur in three phases. Phase one will be an open coding of data from a) interviews with self funding 5,6, and JSS1 girls b) essays written by 25 girls and letters sent to the researcher from the focus girls and c) field notes. These initial codes will be categorized into core concepts (axial coding). Phase two will consist of reviewing all other data for occurrences of core concepts. Phase three will a process of triangulating deeper understanding of core concepts with non-governmental workers and key informants in Kono, Sierra Leone.
The significance of this study rests in its ability to give voice to the motivation and self-perceptions of school-going girls to better understand their lived reality of school.


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