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What Is Miratho?



Miratho are informal bridges usually constructed by community members during times of floods or other natural disasters to get across from one village to another. These self-made bridges are usually dangerous, unstable and only the brave tend to use them. In particular, students who study outside their village may find themselves stranded and unable to go to school. When community members then build miratho, opportunities for these students to access the schools of their choice are created.

We have chosen the Venda word ‘Miratho’ for our project name because it symbolizes being determined to access education even in the face of dangers, and to work with others to make progress.

Working with the youth-led Thusanani Foundation ((http://www.thusananifoundation.org/), our four year mixed methods research project will investigate the multi-dimensional dynamics or factors shaping rural and township students’ effective opportunities to access higher education, flourish and participate, and move from higher education to work. Amongst our key objectives, is developing a multi-dimensional learning outcomes index as an instrument of public debate and of policy decisions which can capture this interconnected information that otherwise cannot be presented concisely.












THUSANANI FOUNDATION

In Partnership With

THUSANANI FOUNDATION

Working with the youth-led Thusanani Foundation, our four year mixed methods research project will investigate the multi-dimensional dynamics or factors shaping rural and township students’ effective opportunities to access higher education, flourish and participate, and move from higher education to work.

Amongst our key objectives, is developing a multi-dimensional learning outcomes index as an instrument of public debate and of policy decisions which can capture this interconnected information that otherwise cannot be presented concisely.

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Events

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CRITICAL VOICES

On 4 October 2016, the Miratho research team, national and international university graduate students and lecturers, the Thusanani Foundation and young activists gathered at the UFS for a day of critical discussion, where we asked questions related to what radical/transformed universities ought to look like in South Africa.

Starting in the morning, we talked about how Amartya Sen’s capability approach can help us in thinking this through, and what conceptual gaps in the approach should be considered, in light of the broader question of ‘just’ universities and the challenge of inclusive learning outcomes.

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FIRST DATA COLLECTION

What rural and township students we spoke to say are the big challenges they face in accessing higher education.

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INCLUSIVE HIGHER EDUCATION LEARNING OUTCOMES FOR RURAL AND TOWNSHIP YOUTH

Miratho Project

Our research project is funded by the ESRC and DfID and we plan to undertake a systematic, integrated and longitudinal mixed methods investigation over four years (September 2016-August 2020). This investigation will explore the multi-dimensional dynamics or factors shaping and/or inhibiting disadvantaged students’ capabilities:
i) to access;
ii) participate and succeed in higher education, and
iii) move from higher education to work. This is necessary because we do not know in fine-grained detail from students how they understand and experience disadvantage, equity and quality in relation to learning outcomes, nor how higher education fosters agency and decision-making that empowers young people to work to change their own lives and those of others.



Our aim is to build a Human Capabilities-Based Higher Education Learning Outcomes Index that offers a normative multi-dimensional model for identifying and improving equity and quality in higher education for rural and township youth, using South Africa as the country case study. Aligned with this main aim, the project will address how interacting and complex biographical, socio-economic, policy and educational factors enable or inhibit pathways for students from challenging backgrounds into, their experiences in and their transitions out of, higher education, and relate these specifically to the learning outcomes achieved. We will define and measure multi-dimensional learning outcomes by conceptualising them as capabilities (effective freedoms that individuals have reason to value), shedding light on evidence-informed practice and policy options which advance both equity and quality. Our research methods include a participatory component involving rural and township students supported by the Thusanani Foundation. Central to the project are consultative processes with a diverse range of stakeholders through engaging them in workshops and colloquia which will lead to policy and practice recommendations. By using the capability approach to understand, evaluate and measure educational equity and quality, the project will generate new knowledge about the achievement of valuable outcomes in higher education for youth from two challenging contexts.


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RESEARCH QUESTIONS

How do ‘disadvantaged’ youth from rural and townships schools access, participate in and succeed in higher education, and then move into work? [data]. [What can the TF programme tell us about what works well for these students.]




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THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK

The capability approach and human development as the broader outcome, we think, could go a long way to helping us to think well about practices of transformation and decolonization for quality higher education and in guiding government policy on how to allocate money to universities.



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METHODOLOGY

Complex data sets are required because the distribution of capabilities is embedded in families, schools, university educational and social arrangements, and work-readiness activities. Insights into these processes will be gained by exploring student pathways, experiences, aspirations and plans for their future careers.


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Resources

What is human development?

Amartya Sen - Creating capabilities: Sources and consequences for law and social policy

Conversations with history: Amartya Sen

Introduction to Capability Approach

Creating Capabilities: The Human Development Approach: Martha Nussbaum

Capability Approach: Ingrid Robeyns

One on One: Amartya Sen

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Quotes

Meghna

Amartya Sen

Human development, as an approach, is concerned with what I take to be the basic development idea: namely, advancing the richness of human life, rather than the richness of the economy in which human beings live, which is only a part of it

Get In Touch

Contact Details

Feel free to contact us telephonically or via email, better yet you could meet us in person. details below.

University of the Free State,
205 Nelson MandelaDrive,
9300 Bloemfontein
(South Africa)
Dr. Mikateko Hoppener
Phone: +27 (0) 51 401 7330
Fax: +27 (0) 51 401 7330
Email: HoppenerM@ufs.ac.za
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