QUALITY EDUCATION POLICIES AND CONCEPTUALISATIONS OF QUALITY IN EDUCATION

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INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY

My interest in pursuing this area of research was prompted by my observations during the training of teachers on the implementation of the Revised National Curriculum Statement (RNCS). The RNCS was introduced in the quest to improve the quality of the education curriculum. The South African national Department of Education acknowledges that the curriculum plays a part in influencing the quality of education outcomes. Accordingly, the new curriculum was designed to produce a lifelong learner who is independent, literate, numerate, multiskilled, and compassionate, with a respect for the environment and capable of making a meaningful contribution to society. The RNCS builds on the values and vision of both the South African Constitution and Curriculum 2005, which emphasises the acquisition and development of knowledge, skills, attitudes and values (DoE, 2002a).

EXPOSITION OF THE PROBLEM

The number of orphaned children is rapidly increasing. Salaam (2004) reports on USAID, UNICEF and UNAIDS estimates in respect of the number of children under the age of 15 who have lost one or both parents to AIDS in Africa. It is estimated that, at the end of 2001, there were 13.4 million orphaned children in Africa with the majority (82%) in sub-Saharan Africa. It is expected that, by 2010, more than 20 million children will be orphans (UNESCO, 2004a). In addition, it is predicted that, owing to the 10-year time lag between HIV infection and full-blown AIDS, the number of orphaned children in Africa will continue to rise even after the rate of HIV has begun to decline. In Uganda, for example, although the epidemic appears to be declining, the number of orphans under the age of 15 continued to rise for 10 years after the infection had peaked.

PURPOSE OF THE STUDY AND THE RESEARCH QUESTIONS

The purpose of this study is to explore the lived experiences of African orphaned learners in
relation to their educational experiences with the aim of exploring whether the type of education
received and the inferred quality thereof correlates with official conceptions of quality education
as articulated in government policies.

Research questions

The central research question guiding this study may be formulated as follows: What is the possible relationship between the intended official policy on the provision of quality education and the type of education experienced by orphaned learners? In order to explore this central question fully the following sub-questions will also be explored: What are the lived experiences of orphaned learners in relation to schooling? How do orphaned children’s lived experiences at home and at school impact on their schooling experience? What possible indicators of the quality of education received may be inferred from lived experiences?

CHAPTER 1:INTRODUCTION
1.1 Introduction and background of the study
1.2 Exposition of the problem
1.3 Purpose of the study and the research questions
1.3.1 Research questions
1.4 Study context
1.5 Conceptualisation of quality education
1.6 Narrative research
1.7 Establishing the trustworthiness of the study
1.8 Ethical considerations
1.9 Delimitation of the study
1.10 Overview of chapters
1.11 Conclusion
CHAPTER 2: QUALITY EDUCATION POLICIES AND CONCEPTUALISATIONS OF QUALITY IN EDUCATION
2.1 Introduction
2.2 Quality education: the policy context
2.2.1 International declarations on the quality of basic education
2.2.2 Other perspectives on quality education
2.2.3 Quality and education traditions
2.2.4 Key education policies geared towards education quality
2.3 Conclusion
CHAPTER 3: UNDERSTANDING LIVED EXPERIENCES FROM A SOCIOCULTURAL PERSPECTIVE
3.1 Introduction
3.2 Sociocultural theory
3.3 The African view of reality
3.3.1 Ubuntu philosophy
3.3.2 Paranormal beliefs: a way of knowing in african epistemology
3.4 The erosion of traditional sociocultural practices
3.5 What would quality education mean within a sociocultural perspective?
3.6 Conclusion
CHAPTER 4:RESEARCH DESIGN
4.1 Introduction
4.2 Philosophical assumptions
4.3 The research process
4.3.1 A qualitative case study
4.3.2 Data collection
4.3.2.1 Identifying the data collection site
4.3.2.2 The sampling process
4.3.2.2.1 Selection of the participants
4.3.2.2.2 Initial exploratory meeting with orphaned learners
4.3.2.2.3 Second meeting with the learners
4.3.2.2.4 Individual interviews with the learners
4.3.2.2.5 Selecting four data-rich learners
4.3.2.2.6 Observational field notes
4.3.2.2.7 Interviews at the learners’ homes
4.3.2.2.8 Document review: Acts, White Papers and policies
4.4 Data processing and analysis
4.5 Enhancing the credibility and trustworthiness of the study
4.6 Conclusion
CHAPTER 5: THE LIVED EXPERIENCES OF ORPHANED LEARNERS IN RELATION TO SCHOOLING
5.1 Introduction
5.2 The stories of the four orphaned learners
5.2.1 Emerging themes from Foustina’s story
5.2.1.1 Relocation to a different environment.
5.2.1.2 Increased levels of poverty
5.2.1.3 Emotional changes experienced as a result of changed family circumstances
5.2.1.4 Support for learning
5.2.1.5 Cultural practices of dealing with grief.
5.2.1.6 Maintaining a relationship with the deceased
5.2.1.7 Peer support.
5.2.1.8 Educator response to the needs of orphaned learners
5.2.2 Emerging themes from Thapelo’s story
5.2.2.1 Need for food and clothes
5.2.2.2 Effects of parental death on learner behaviour
5.2.2.3 Responsibilities at home
5.2.2.4 Emotional changes resulting from changed family circumstances
5.2.3 Experiences of learners in sibling-headed households
5.2.3.1 Emerging themes
5.2.3.1.1 Need for food
5.2.3.1.2 Impoverished household
5.2.3.1.3 Safety and security in the learner’s home
5.2.3.1.4 Absenteeism
5.2.3.1.5 Support for learning in sibling-headed households
5.2.3.1.6 Belief in witchcraft and traditional healing practices
5.2.3.1.7 Taking care of the parent
5.3 Common themes emerging from orphaned learners’ interviews and implications for schooling
5.3.1 Career choice and aspirations of orphaned learners
5.3.2 Fear of losing the main caregiver
5.3.3 Morals and values
5.3.4 Relationship of orphans with other orphaned learners
5.3.5 Behaviour of orphans
5.3.6 The role of the extended family and other structures in supporting learning
5.3.7 The role of the community in supporting learning
5.4 Summary of findings and implications for schooling
CHAPTER 6: EDUCATION QUALITY AND THE LIVED EXPERIENCES OF ORPHANED LEARNERS, FURTHER RESEARCH AND CONCLUSION
6.1 Introduction
6.2 Lived experiences in relation to quality education
6.2.1 The educational experiences
6.2.1.1 The role of the extended family system
6.2.1.2 The community as a source of support
6.2.1.3 Sibling-headed households
6.2.3 The sociocultural context
6.2.3.1 Care-giving
6.2.3.2 African beliefs and value system
6.2.3.3 Poverty
6.2.4 Change in the orphaned learner
6.2.4.1 Behaviour of orphans and the emotional aspects
6.2.4.2 Relationships with other orphans
6.2.4.3 Increased home responsibilities
6.2.4.4 Relocation of orphaned learners
6.3 Did the orphans in the study experience their education as quality education?
6.4 Suggestions for further research
6.5 Conclusions and Recommendations

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The relationship between education quality policies and lived experiences of orphaned learners

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