Why Context Matters: The Material Conditions of Caring in Zambia

International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 22(4), 379-398, August 2009

20 Pages Posted: 9 Sep 2012

See all articles by Monisha Bajaj

Monisha Bajaj

Columbia University - Teachers' College; University of San Francisco

Date Written: August 7, 2009

Abstract

This study utilized in depth interviewing, participant observation, and student diaries completed by participants to examine the quality of teacher-student relationships at a low-cost private school in the townships of Ndola, Zambia. Amidst economic decline and the HIV/AIDS epidemic facing Zambia today, teachers and students developed strong relationships that differed from those found in government secondary schools and were shaped by the economic and social realities in the larger society. These caring relationships were facilitated by official school policy, deliberative spaces created for caring such as longer school hours and smaller class sizes, and strict oversight of teachers by the school administration. Teachers’ efforts to provide students advice and resources related to the economic and health crises affecting their community resulted in the development of caring relationships that students noted were unique given their experiences in and exposure to government secondary schools. The findings of this study suggest that scholars of caring in the US and internationally should consider the material conditions of both students’ and teachers’ lives beyond the school environment in order to understand how caring relationships are structured, limited, and enabled in distinct moments by larger socio-economic and political realities.

Keywords: comparative education, Zambia, african education, teachers

Suggested Citation

Bajaj, Monisha and Bajaj, Monisha, Why Context Matters: The Material Conditions of Caring in Zambia (August 7, 2009). International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 22(4), 379-398, August 2009, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2143435.

Monisha Bajaj (Contact Author)

University of San Francisco ( email )

2130 Fulton Street
San Francisco, CA 94117
United States

Columbia University - Teachers' College ( email )

525 W. 120th St.
New York, NY 10027
United States

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