Teachers’ Professional Capabilities and the Pursuit of Quality in Sub-Saharan African Education Systems: Demonstrating and Debating a Method of Capability Selection and Analysis

Buckler, Alison (2014). Teachers’ Professional Capabilities and the Pursuit of Quality in Sub-Saharan African Education Systems: Demonstrating and Debating a Method of Capability Selection and Analysis. Journal of Human Development and Capabilities, 17(2) pp. 161–177.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/19452829.2014.991706

Abstract

This paper reports on the methodological approach of a study that examined an important dimension of the global challenge to better understand the ‘quality’ element of Education for All (EFA): the professional lives of women teachers in rural communities in Sub-Saharan Africa. Teachers from five countries (Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa and Sudan) provided a focus for exploring the relationship between official representations of teachers’ work and the professional lives teachers create and experience. Sen’s (1999) capability approach was used as a framework for understanding this relationship and to produce two conceptualizations of professional capabilities for teachers generated by the official and teacher perspectives, respectively. These capabilities are organized around the pursuit of quality in teachers’ work. The paper explains how these two conceptualizations were determined, justifies four key aspects of the method used and highlights key insights into the teachers’ professional lives enabled by this approach.

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