"We believe we will succeed…because we will 'soma kwa bidii'": Acknowledging the key role played by aspirations for ‘being’ in students’ navigations of secondary schooling in Tanzania

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Abstract

With dramatic global expansion of secondary schooling there has been significant research interest in how education is related to future aspirations, with important calls to acknowledge connections within processes of aspiring to young people’s social, economic and cultural circumstances. This paper presents findings from thematic analysis of interview, participant observation and classroom observation data from an ethnographic study in two secondary schools in Tanzania. It argues that an important, and often overlooked, aspect of this complex process is the way in which aspirations for the future are connected not only to present realities, but also aspirations in the present. Focusing on students’ aspirations relating to ‘being a “good” student’ and being able to ‘soma kwa bidii’ or ‘study hard’, this paper uses the conceptual language of the capability approach to assert the importance of considering aspirations for ‘being’ in education in conjunction with future aspirations for ‘becoming’.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCompare : A Journal of Comparative and International Education
Early online date27 Sep 2022
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 27 Sep 2022

Keywords

  • Education
  • Tanzania
  • agency
  • aspirations
  • capability approach

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education

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