Parents’ perspectives and practices around the schooling of children in rural Northern Nigeria

3rd February 2022

This seminar presents findings from a study which explored rural African parents’ perspectives on, and involvement in, schooling in two rural Yorùbá primary school-communities in North central Nigeria. The study employed an ethnographic approach, embedded within a situated moral ethics framework, and applied thematic and capabilitarian analyses within a Sen-Bourdieu conceptual framework. The study revealed parents’ articulation of complex ethnotheories, or cultural beliefs about children’s lives, which transcended schooling and integrated other valued forms of learning: learning at home, Islamic schooling, and informal apprenticeships. Though parents valued schooling, this was contended by their perceptions of its injustice, particularly the differential outcomes for poor and rich children. In line with their ethnotheories, parents’ involvement in schooling was found to go beyond existing categories of involvement to reveal other basic, communal, disciplinary, socio-cultural and spiritual schooling practices. The study ultimately suggests that research on learning in rural sub-Saharan Africa which narrowly conceives learning as schooling and, therefore, excludes an analysis of values and agency outside school learning, underrepresents and underrecognizes parental and other agency around learning.


A recording of this event can be found here.