• Developing a strategy to address low youth education attendance in Malawi

      Usi, Michael B.; University of Bedfordshire (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2017-10)
      This study explores the complex factors that contribute to low youth education attendance in Malawi. While current education and youth policy is framed in terms of providing access to quality education for all Malawians, this has proved challenging to implement in practice. A qualitative approach involving a range of stakeholders was adopted. 341 respondents participated in one–to-one and group interviews and provided in-depth insights into the issues affecting educational attendance. Data was thematically coded using NVivo and network analysis was used to determine the complexity of the interrelationships of the factors undermining youth attendance. Human capital theory (HCT) underpins the design of the study and the analysis of the data collected; however, HCT alone was insufficient to account for patterns in the data and therefore post-colonial, women's empowerment, motivation, decentralization, corruption and media development theories were used to complement and extend HCT in the analysis undertaken. Furthermore, while, in HCT, education and training are considered strategies for empowering people to make informed choices, enter employment and contribute to personal and national development, a central concern of the Malawian education system is the preparation of young people, and particularly young women, to undertake traditional roles. This study demonstrates that youth, especially young women in rural settings, face many challenges to their remaining in education and achieving employment outcomes beyond traditional expectations. This also limits the potential for wider-ranging social changes and economic development. Examples provided illustrate how sector-wide patterns of educational resourcing and provision, organisational issues, teacher and learner attitudes, and cultural practices interact. Policy formation and evaluation in Malawi are driven by external funder priorities and political expediency rather than being evidence-based. This study, contrastingly, offers an empirical basis for policy formation and decision-making vis-a-vis youth education, and proposes a strategic plan to improve levels of education attendance.
    • Random responses? understanding sexually exploited young women’s relationships with secondary school education

      Rawden, Helen Doreen (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2019-01-18)
      This thesis aims to explore the relationships that young women who have experienced, or have been at risk of child sexual exploitation (CSE), have had with secondary school education. Previous studies of CSE have not dealt with the effects on young women’s education during and following CSE. Therefore, the educational outcomes for this cohort of young women are poorly understood. To respond to this gap in knowledge, this thesis asks questions about the educational and labour market experiences of young women who have experienced CSE during their secondary school years. In the light of those experiences, what are the policy and practice implications, and what effect does experiencing CSE have on young women’s perceptions of their aspirations for their future. Interviews have taken place with nine young women who have experienced CSE, 16 specialist CSE voluntary sector key workers and three professionals variously working in safeguarding children and in Pupil Referral Units (PRU’s). As a result of these interviews, this study has discovered concerning levels of school exclusion and referral to PRUs among young women who experience, or who are at risk of CSE during their secondary school years. This thesis argues that the experiences of sexually exploited young women are not being taken into account when decisions are made about their education and that their right to an adequate education is not being met. A search of historical literature established that the identification of behaviour among female pupils, which can be recognised as CSE was documented in the Newsom Report (1963). A review has been undertaken to establish how far CSE policy and procedure has advanced to meet the needs of sexually exploited young women since the recommendations made by Melrose, Barrett and Brodie (1999). Conclusions have been drawn from the literature of the previous decade that there has been a lack of attention to the educational outcomes of young women experiencing CSE. Two theoretical foundations underpin this research: firstly, a Feminist Constructivist Grounded theory approach to women who have experienced sexual violence, contributing to recommendations for policy change that will benefit young women. Secondly, the thesis employs Social Pedagogy, in terms of the relationships which can be built with young women who have experienced CSE, to support their engagement with education. This is supported by consideration of the discourse on the rights of a child to an education appropriate to their needs and aspirations. This thesis concludes that young women’s education is liable to be damaged by experiencing CSE and that there is not enough knowledge to resolve this problem. Further research is required to understand what is involved in ensuring that sexually exploited young women’s rights to education are being met.
    • Work and leisure today: a feminist exploration in Sofia

      Kaldaramova, Stefani; University of Bedfordshire (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2017-01)
      Throughout Bulgarian history, the dominant pattern of gender relations has always been the patriarchal one. Since 1989, the wind of change in restructured Europe has blown into Bulgaria many new cultural, political and social ideas and influences, but has subdued little of the conservative values and normative gender discourse. In fact, women‘s position in the public and the private spheres did not change much during the transitional period and consequent democratisation and restructuring of the economy, throughout which, Bulgarian women faced numerous challenges in balancing work/leisure and family. Yet, no comprehensive research study exists, which explores the problematics of the work-leisure relationship for the generation of women that came of age during this transitional period. This research study examines the work and leisure meanings for full-time employed, Generation Y, women in Sofia (Bulgaria) in order to shine light on the way they negotiate gendered constraints in everyday life and propose areas for further investigation. To accomplish this aim, feminist, case study methodology is utilised. Moreover, the epistemological problematics of the feminist research process are addressed by the researcher‘s reflexivity and authoethnography. The method of personal narrative is chosen to reflect the invisibility of neoliberal structural constraints and situates personal experiences in the process of existing inequalities. Thus, a better understanding of the role and position of the researcher in this study is presented. The research findings illustrate the ways leisure and work meanings are constructed in the context of post-feminist guise of equality, in which, young Sofian women are now attributed with capacity. This is exemplified by participant‘s conceptualisations of work, leisure and gender culture. Individual women express contradictory view about gender roles, femininity and masculinity that illustrate a collective sense of rejection of feminism (in its mainstream sense) as a threat to heterosexual gender relations. Findings reveal that Generation Y, Sofian women‘s femininity does not necessarily fit into a simple polarity, that is either 'traditional‘ (women as wives/mothers and labourers) or 'modern‘ (assimilating to 'Western‘ values and lifestyles). Rather, their identities relate to both of these selves and are becoming increasingly hybrid and fluid. Their leisure is central life pursuit and arguably exists to empower women to resist gender inequalities, perpetuated by both new and old gender discourses and ideologies. Drawing from the contemporary field of feminist leisure studies with a an explicit focus on interdisciplinarity and post-structural feminisms the study wishes to contribute to existing debates on women‘s multiple leisure meanings and leisure as an experiences that empower individuals and, more broadly, challenge cultural norms about women‘s embodied capacities. Finally, management and operational bodies of the leisure industries can potentially use this case study to facilitate leisure opportunities, services and products for Generation Y, Sofian women, who are now active participants in the capitalist, consumer culture.