The Capability Approach has become an important paradigm that has shifted the focus of development from economic growth to human well-being as its goal or ‘end.’ As a result of its theoretical and philosophical attractiveness, many scholars have begun to investigate its application and operationalisation within the realm of education. This paper intends to contribute to such a task by investigating how the Capability Approach can be applied to the modality of formal schooling, particularly in regards to school improvement interventions in Tanzania. It will draw upon data gleaned from the researcher’s past experience of teaching in a Tanzanian government primary school in order to elucidate inequalities that affect teachers’ and students’ ability to convert resources into functionings, and the social structures that set the conditions for their agency and freedoms. It will also examine how the restriction and promotion of capabilities is linked to teacher and student well-being, and how this may have an affect on the overall provision of education quality. Moreover, this paper will propose several theoretical and practical applications of the Capability Approach that form the foundation for an actual school improvement intervention in Sub-Saharan Africa. The aim of such an intervention would be to identify the capabilities that teachers and students have reason to value, so that improvement efforts can be designed for their expansion. The achieved functionings of such actions would not only lead to the improved wellbeing and morale of teachers and students, but would also lead to improvements in education quality via its positive reactions.
Bristol, UK: EdQual. ISBN 978-1-906675-26-4, 32 pp.
EdQual Working Paper, Quality No. 11. Applying the Capability Approach to School Improvement Interverventions in Tanzania.