Gendered School Experiences: the impact on retention and achievement in Botswana and Ghana. Researching the issues 56


This collaborative research study involved researchers from the Centre for International Education, University of Sussex, UK, the University of Botswana and the University of Cape Coast, Ghana. The study explored the gender structure of the school environment in a number of Junior Secondary Schools (JSS) in Botswana and Ghana, and the part that this played in gender differentiated patterns of retention and achievement. The two countries were selected for their different gendered patterns of educational participation and achievement. In Ghana, nationally girls' enrolment, retention and achievement were lower than boys; in Botswana, girls' enrolment and retention were marginally higher but achievement marginally lower. The main interest was to identify in-school culture and practices that made institutional life a gendered experience, to trace the effect of these upon retention and achievement of girls and boys at JSS especially in the core subjects of English, Setswana / Fante, Mathematics and Science, and to highlight potential areas for policy intervention in pursuing gender equity in education.

The first chapter is the introduction. The next chapter provides an account of the research methodology. This is followed by details of the research questions, research design, sample selection, ethics and limitations. The latter section, drawn from the reflections of all the country teams, includes some suggestions for future research design and collaborative research practice. The subsequent chapter presents the country data for Botswana and Ghana respectively. These provide the country overview and then a summary comparison. The full case study reports, starting with the high performing schools in urban, peri-urban and rural contexts, then moving to the low performing schools in the same order of location, are available in Appendices 2&3. Chapter 4 presents the discussion of the findings which includes comparative as well as country specific comment. Examples of good practice are elaborated in the final section of the chapter. The report is completed with Chapter 5, which provides conclusions and policy recommendations.


Educational Paper No. 56, DFID, London, UK, ISBN 1 86192 638 3, 171 pp.

Gendered School Experiences: the impact on retention and achievement in Botswana and Ghana. Researching the issues 56

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