Md kanu


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Md kanu

  1. 1. Mohamed A. Kanu
  2. 2. Introduction “Social being is accomplished through many forms of social interaction, of which the world is particularly pivotal. To gain an understanding of how such social being is accomplished and how social identities are constructed it is essential to enter into the lives of social actors” (Erben 1998, p. 149) This study provides biographical accounts – educational, personal and life history – of some Sierra Leonean students enrolled on one-year intensive Master courses in some London universities (London Metropolitan University, London South Bank University, Greenwich University and Thames Valley University 3
  3. 3. Sierra Leone in brief • Sierra Leone shares boarder with Liberia and Guinea • It is Located on the west coast of Africa, facing the Atlantic Ocean. • It is a small country of about 28,000 square miles (74,000 km2) • It has a varied relief ranging from coastal swamps to the highest mountain – Bintumani 6,390 ft Source: The World factbook 2007 4
  4. 4. Sierra Leone continued… One of the first West African British Colonies It gained independence in 1961 and became a republic in 1971 Its capital – FREETOWN – was set as a refuge for freed slaves in the 18th century The country has experienced a mixture of democratic, civilian and military dictatorship in its 49 years of in dependence. Civilian democracy is the current political dispensation A civil war, spanning 11 years, ended in 2002 Today S/Leone enjoys a Liberalised economy and relative peace (Alghali et al. 2005; Wurie 2007) 5
  5. 5. Sierra Leone Continued... Sierra Leone’s educational system from Independence (1961) to 1993 Primary (Class 1 to Class 7; ages 5 to12; Selective Entrance Exam) Secondary (Form 1 to form 5;ages 11/12 to 16/17; GCE O’level exams) Secondary (Optional: lower sixth form & Upper sixth form; A’level exams) Teacher Training Colleges and University Current educational system (1993 to date) The 6-3-3-4 system of education 6 years primary education 3 years of Junior secondary school (leads to Basic Education Certificate Examination – BECE) 3 years of Senior Secondary School (leads to Senior School Certificate Examination) 4 years of Higher Education 6
  6. 6. Aims of the study 1. How the personal lives of these students (e.g. family) allow them to experience the wider public (e.g. school, University, UK). 2. What are the specific events – both in their local and social context – in the lives of these students that help shape their educational paths and their interpretations of the events? 3. What meanings these students attach to their experiences across their life histories. 4. How smooth was the nature of the transitional period from Sierra Leone’s educational setting to that of the UK. 5. What are the implications of this knowledge for Universities in the UK and Sierra Leone? 7
  7. 7. Justification for the Study 1. No specific study about students from Sierra Leone has been conducted 2. Detailed life histories will generate useful knowledge about their experiences and the meanings these experiences hold for them 3. By doing this research I will be contributing to the history of Sierra Leone 4. These students are part of a diverse international student population whose views are invaluable if the reputation of UK universities is to remain strong (UUK, 2006) 5. This investigation will also add to knowledge on how students from conflict backgrounds cope – war trauma and memory 8
  8. 8. Studies on international students  those that give accounts of statistical trends  some in the form of market research  others conducted to provide support and improve the welfare of students  research studies conducted occasionally by organisations  For academic purposes  those that give accounts of statistical trends  HESA (2010) – There were 284,000 international students (excluding EU) enrolled at UK higher education institutions in 2008/2009 Kemp, N. et al. (2008) UK HE International Unit – in 2007 almost half (42%) of postgraduate research students in the UK were from abroad. UK had 15% of the global share of research students. 9
  9. 9. 10 some in the form of market research UK HE International Unit (2010) – UK HE: a global leader. ‘UK sells more brain power per capita than anywhere else in the world.’(UKHEIU, 2010, p.19) The Work Foundation (2010) – In 2008, the UK’s brain power per capita amounted to about (£118 billion in knowledge services, worth 6,3% of GDP Universities UK (2009) –UK HE’s are worth £59 billion to the UK economy annually and are a major export earner. They are one of UK’s fastest growing sources of export earnings, and in 2008 brought in £5.3bn Van Damme, D. (2000) Internationalization and Quality Assurance: Towards Worldwide Accreditation
  10. 10.  others conducted to provide support and improve the welfare of students  Sovic, S. (2008) – the international students experience project at University of Arts London  Ryan, J. (2005c) The Student Experience; Challenges and Rewards, in Carroll and Ryan (eds.), Teaching International Students, 147-51  UKCOSA (2007) Benchmarking the provision of services for international students in Higher education institutions.  A report on the Institutional Support for Overseas students in Scotland (Hall et al. 1998)   11
  11. 11. 12 research studies conducted occasionally by organisations Higher Education Information Services Trust (HEIST) on non-EU students’ motives for choosing to study in the UK and their experiences of British undergraduate education (Allen & Higgins 1994 for UCAS) A comprehensive picture of international student enrolment in the UK and the likely cost and benefits for the economy and individuals in higher educational institutions (Greenaway and Tuck, 1995) For academic purposes Nishimuko (2006) - are issues of access to primary education in Sierra Leone Kanu and Marr (20007) The Educational Experience of ‘African’ Students at London Met university - a case study. Investigations in University teaching and learning, 4(2) Jackson (2001). ‘Critical incidents across cultures - Jackson mentions ‘the ways in which differing expectations, values, and behaviour can affect communication across cultures’
  12. 12. Methodology Methods Life history using the life-grid Diary Semi-structured interviews A Focus group 13
  13. 13. Life history continued… The life history approach is particularly relevant to the study of these students for an array of reasons:  give them voice The thick description and qualitative richness 14
  14. 14. Methodology continued… Life history – can be conceived as a narrative, a personal reconstruction of what an individual considers significant about his/her life, which is likely to be co-constructed with the researcher using a range of data sources and moves through stages of interpretation so that the narrative becomes contextualised and theorised (Goodson and Sikes, 2001) . Why life history? Life histories can enable researchers to examine the relationship between the details of an individual’s biography – experiences recollected, choices made, actions taken, and consequences felt – and the surrounding local contexts, social structures, and cultural mores that impinge on the sequence of an individual’s life (Slater 2000; Gysels et al 2002) 15
  15. 15. Critics Issue of credibility – it celebrates subjectivity rather than objectivity. Participants can: easily give free play to their imagination; choose what they want to say; hold back what they want to say; and say only what they happen to recall at the moment. In brief, they apparently engage in both deliberate and unwilling deception thus making the method invalid (Plummer,2001; Radley and Billig,1996). According to Plummer (2001) subjects of life history research may tell lies, cheat, and present false front or try to impress the interviewer in some way; subjects may also try to create a consistent and coherent story for the interviewer’s benefit. For Radley and Billig (1996), subjects determine what type of account is most appropriate once they have internalised whom the account is for. 16
  16. 16. Life grid to minimise recall bias in the reporting of health histories (Blane, 1996) to capture reliable retrospective data from elderly respondents (Parry et al. 1999; Hildon et al. 2008). life grids provide a context in which to analyse the semi-structured interviews Helps in the cross-referencing of events A joint endeavour Respondents weave their own stories 17
  17. 17. Diary Diaries are used as research instruments to collect detailed information about the behaviour, events and other aspects of individuals daily lives (Burgess, 1984). Jokinen (2004) describes the analysis of personal journals written by three mothers. Jokinen believed that the information revealed in the diaries can provide an insight into the life of the mothers and maternal subjectivities  Zimmerman and Wieder (1977) used diary-interviews in their work on counter-culture, as an alternative to participant observation. Advantages  reliable alternative to the traditional interview method They can help to overcome the problems associated with collecting sensitive information by personal interview(Wright & Chung, 2001) 18
  18. 18. Diary advantages continued • rich source of information • therapeutic benefits •The opportunity to reveal emotions • facilitates reflexive process. Limitations •sensitive intrusion •Presupposes a range of skills •Varied responses and very little control over the amount and quality of the data recorded (Meth, 2003) 19
  19. 19. Semi-structured interviews Preparation for interview •A setting with the least distraction was chosen •Purpose of interview explained •Terms of confidentiality addressed •Format of the interview explained •Participant told how long the interview – about 1hour 30 minutes •Ask participant permission to start and be taped •Dictation machine, writing pad and pen prepared 20
  20. 20. Focus group Merits 1.The data generated by focus group is interactive as well as qualitative 2.One explanation for the enthusiasm of contemporary social researchers for focus group methodology is that: i. They are social events ii. Time limited and iii. Demand no technical skills of the group members (Bloor et al., 2001) 3. The power of research participants is enhanced in focus group discussions Criticisms Participants may collaboratively take control of the process of context setting and the ensuing discussion. They may interrupt, laugh, joke, make comments and create silences. For Krueger (1988) and Wilkinson (2003), this may mess up the research agenda and need careful management. But Morgan (1988) thinks this will enable researchers to have better access to participants’ opinions and conceptions. 21
  21. 21. Ethics Ethical decisions should be based on principles as opposed to expediency in social research. “Ethical decisions are not being defined in terms of what is advantageous to the researcher or the project upon which they are working. They are concerned with what is right or just, in the interest of not only the project, it sponsors or workers, but also others who are the participants in the research” (May, 2001, p.59) ). The research design of the study was considered in relation to both London Met Ethical Guidelines and BERA Guidelines 2004. The latter states that: “…Researchers must recognise the participants’ entitlement to privacy and must accord them their rights to confidentiality and anonymity, unless they or their guardians or responsible others, specifically and willingly waive that right… Conversely, researchers must also recognise participants’ rights to be identified with any publication of their original work or other inputs, if they so wish. In some contexts it will be the expectation of participants to be so identified. “ (BERA, 2004) 22
  22. 22. Insider research: its implications Advantages: opportunity for me to gain participants easily and to be privy to ‘insider’ information that would not be trusted to a stranger. I know where to go and find my participants. Disadvantages: Prior knowledge, underlying personal bias and preconceived ideas can render disadvantages to this intimate type of ‘insider research In some cases, researching within the community poses problems for the ‘insider’ as certain pockets of information may not be elaborated upon, or conversely over emphasized. But an ‘outsider’ anonymous to the community may be made privy to a differing rendition and provided with an other perspective (Smith, 1999, p. 66) 23
  23. 23. Insider approach continued… 1.Selection of Participants •Posters were displayed in campuses of my target Universities •Participants met at local community gatherings, occasions and restaurants •Snow balling through those that agreed to take part •To ensure multiple perspectives - participants were selected from the four provinces of Sierra Leone; 5 males and 5 females for the life-grid & semi- structures interviews; and 3 males and 1 female for the focus group interview 24
  24. 24. 2. Initiating the Interviews  Participants were approached according to their accessibility; outline of the study given to them; and were given time to consider whether they wish to be involved; their contact phone numbers taken and follow-up calls made.  Participants were sent emails with attachments explaining confidentiality, anonymity of subjects, informed consent to participate and background information of the study.  Further phone calls were made to arrange a meeting time and place.  Some interviews done in campuses and others at participants homes 3. Issues of Confidentiality and Ownership  Verbal introduction of the parameters was given prior to the interview  Participants signed the consent form and their verbal consents were put on tape to show that their story could be withdrawn from the study at their discretion, at anytime. Continued next slide… 25
  25. 25. Copies of transcripts of first interviews were sent to participants to ensure that information has been accurately noted. This gave them the scope to change any of the materials. I was aware of the ethical implications but felt that a transcript would not only protect confidentiality and privacy, it would be a useful historical resources for the participants. It was a way of giving the stories back to the participants. Also help to address concerns raised by researchers like Thomson et al. (1994) - the final product may not be what the narrator had anticipated and could be interpreted as being a breach of trust and confidence. All participants were given pseudonyms after agreeing not to be identified with the research Also masking of descriptive data, which might identify the individual, has been undertaken. 26
  26. 26. 4. Relationships - prior knowledge or preconceived ideas As insiders, ‘we are engaged in direct social interaction, a mutual relationship. And that means we have to confront two subjectivities – our own and that of our narrators’ Gluck, 1994, p.82) In a small group there is a greater chance that the researcher will personally know, or know something of these students taking part in my study. This is the situation. Some of these students knew me back home and we went to the same University. 27
  28. 28. References Alghali, A.M., Turay, E, Thomas E. and Kandeh, J. (2005) Environmental Scan on Education in Sierra Leone. Presentation: Freetown, Sierra Leone, February 16-18, 2005. Allen, A. and Higgins, T. (1994) Higher Education: the International Student Experience. London: HEIST Publications Gluck, S. B. (1994) Remembering and re-visioning: Lessons from Feminist Oral History in the United States. The Oral history Association of Australia Journal, 16, 75-83 Hall J., Hamilton S., Hall S. and Pitcairn J. (1998) Institutional Support for Overseas Students in Scotland. Edinburgh: Scottish Council for Research in Education Osgood, J. (2008) Narratives from the Nursery: Negotiating Professional Identities. Unpublished PhD Thesis. London Metropolitan University. 29
  29. 29. 30 Sovic, S. (2008) Lost in Translation? The international student experience project. Creative Learning In Practice. Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning. University of Arts London UKCOSA (2007) Benchmarking the provision of services for international students in Higher education institutions. London: UKCOSA. Universities UK (2009) Higher education in Facts and Figures. London: UUK. Kemp, N. et al. (2008) The UK’s Competitive Advantage: The Market for International Research Students. London: UK HE International Unit. UK HE International Unit (2010) International higher education in facts and figures. London: International Unit. Van Damme, D. (2000) Internationalization and Quality Assurance: Towards Worldwide Accreditation, European Journal for Education, law and Policy, 4, 1- 20
  30. 30. 31 Hughes, R. (1990) Homes far from home: Housing for overseas students. London: Overseas Student Trust. Wurie, A. T. (2007) Sierra Leone Education Sector Plan: A road map to a better future 2007 – 2015. Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, Sierra Leone The World Factbook 2007