Bristol Conversations in Education - Engaging and responding to local voices: the case of children’s schooling in rural Ethiopia and the implication for Sustainable Development Goals
Dr Tigist Grieve
Room 4.10, School of Education, 35 Berkeley Square, Clifton, Bristol, BS8 1JA
This event is part of the School of Education's 'Bristol Conversations in Education' seminar series.
Speaker: Dr Tigist Grieve
The economic and social benefits of educating all children in developing countries are widely recognised and brought about global and national level commitments to get schooling to all children in the world. Following many years of varied global and national development initiatives, increasingly many of the world's children are enrolled in school. In particular, in the last decade the enrolment rate has increased significantly across the developing world, however, it is widely recognised that bringing to school the specific categories of children such as those who are female, rural, in conflict situations, have physical or intellectual disabilities, are refugees or stateless, or from pastoralist communities has met with persistent problems. In addition, many of those children who enrol in developing countries leave school with little learning and before they complete the full course of primary schooling. Therefore while the considerable increase in enrollment following the global effort is acknowledged, researchers have directed our attention to those children that are still out of school and to questions of equality, quality and learning. According to UNESCO (2015) currently, there are 58 million primary school age children globally that are out of school. This stands in stark contrast to the promises made in the 2000 UN summit to create Education for All children by 2015. The majority of out of school children are currently found in Sub Saharan Africa (SSA), which is an increase from 1999 when the African share of out of school children stood at 40% (UNESCO 2015). Despite earlier optimism (e.g. GMR 2008), recently UNESCO stated that 'there has been virtually no progress in reducing the global rate and number of out-of-school children since 2007' (UNESCO and UNICEF 2015-17). This is a worrying trend, especially regarding rural children, as they experience greatest need deprivation, exacerbated by lack of essential services and infrastructural development (Grantham-McGregor et al. 2007; also see Filmer and Pritchett 1999).
Taking Ethiopia as a case study, and, noting the exclusion of poor, uneducated and rural people's views from ongoing debates as to why problems of schooling access and quality learning persists, I aimed my research on the voices of children, their parents and teachers. Researchers in Childhood studies and International Development previously highlighted the value from hearing people's views on matters that affect them. Following this view, my research towards understanding schooling problems has generated a rare insight into the problems from their own perspectives. With my ESRC funded GCRF project, I work towards disseminating the findings among various stakeholders to further generate interest and spark constructive debate in the way that can challenge policymakers, development practitioners, donors and communities themselves. In this presentation, I will reflect on my ethnographic work during my PhD study and the Postdoctoral journey of taking back the findings to communities it came from as well as broader aspects of the research dissemination process.