Motivations, Ambitions and Options : of Secondary School Students in Rural Mozambique
Abstract: Previous research attributed many positive developments to education, such as increasing employment opportunities, reducing gender inequality and stimulating empowerment. This research will, however, look more closely into what secondary education means to the students themselves by involving their own perceptions. It further looks into how secondary education, on local level, changes the options secondary school students have after graduating, both according to the students and according to other actors in the educational field. The emphasis on the youth perspective and their options creates an understanding and overview of the role education plays in students’ lives, which can create a basis to deal with the high unemployment in the country. The aim is also supported by the literature review, which demonstrates a gap in literature that deals with in-depth qualitative research to gain knowledge of youth’s own perspective on educational matters and what secondary education means to them. To gather information, a five week long field-study in the district of Lago, north Mozambique, was conducted. In order to fill the existing gap and to understand in depth what secondary education means to the youths in the district, interviews with students, parents and other actors that had a relation to the education offered in the district (e.g. school directors, school councils, local political structures), were organised. This thesis is based on an abductive, qualitative research and does not aim to be representative, as the main objective is to present the perspective of the youth in the district. With an emphasis on the motivations, ambitions and options of youth in Lago, the findings have been analysed with Friedmann’s (dis) empowerment model (1992), complemented with a gender and development approach. The analytical model creates a better understanding on the role secondary education plays and can play in rural development. In the findings difficulties and gender differences are revealed, but also the strong motivations and ambitions of the students, indicating a high commitment level. The analysis indicates that the students in the Lago district can be and are empowered by retrieving knowledge and education from the secondary schools. At the same time it has been indicated that it is so to a limited extent, that the school has not reached its fullest potential.
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