About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 7081-7090
Publication year: 2016
ISBN: 978-84-617-5895-1
ISSN: 2340-1095
doi: 10.21125/iceri.2016.0618

Conference name: 9th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 14-16 November, 2016
Location: Seville, Spain

WOMEN SCHOOL LEADERS: ENTREPRENEURS IN LOW FEE PRIVATE SCHOOLS IN THREE DEVELOPING NATIONS

P. Cordeiro, C. Brion

University of San Diego (UNITED STATES)
In 2000, for the first time in world history, the United Nations created a blueprint consisting of eight goals to address the needs of the world’s poorest people. These goals ranged from universal primary education to ensuring environmental sustainability. Known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), a target date of 2015 was set for achieving them. Although considerable progress occurred on the targets within each of the eight goals, full achievement did not occur. However, the fact that 198 of the world’s nations and leading development institutions set goals and began to gather baseline data in order to measure progress is, in itself, a major achievement. In fact, these goals led to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are now underway.

This paper focuses on MDG 3: To promote gender equality and empower women. A few of the targets of this goal include: achieving equality in primary education between girls and boys, increasing the political participation of women, and expanding work opportunities for women since they are largely relegated to more vulnerable forms of employment. In particular we focus on expanding opportunities for women school leaders.

In his seminal research about private schooling in developing nations, Tooley (2007) discovered that many countries had large numbers of affordable private schools (APSs).* In some cases governments do not recognize these schools and often deny their existence. However, the reality is quite different since thousands of LFPSs exist and since Tooley’s original research, other scholars (Cordeiro 2012; Kwan 2012) and have reported on how NGOs have been working to expand and strengthen the Low-Fee Private sector through micro-lending and small business loans. The jury is still out on the quality of these schools; however, it is vital to study their exponential growth since they serve millions of children in developing nations.

Methods and Findings:
After conducting interviews with male and female proprietors in three developing nation an interesting phenomenon emerged; although female proprietors talked about themselves as entrepreneurs, while most male proprietors did not, these women also described a calling to open a school in spite of considerable obstacles. In attempting to better understand this phenomenon, we conducted additional interviews with women school leaders. In this paper we report on twenty-two, in-depth digitally recorded interviews with female school proprietors conducted in English or French in three West African nations: Burkina Faso, Ghana and Liberia. After reviewing the literature about women school leaders in developing nations (Arar 2014; Oplatka, 2006 & 2009; Sugrue 2015; Zhong & Ehrich 2010), we explore the challenges they face, why there is such a strong desire on the part of these proprietors to offer an education to (very) low income children, and to recognize and address the importance of girls' education.

*The literature uses the terms Affordable Private Schools (APSs), Low-Cost Private Schools (LCPSs) and Low-Fee Private Schools (LFPSs) interchangeably. We prefer the more common term: Low Fee Private Schools.
@InProceedings{CORDEIRO2016WOM,
author = {Cordeiro, P. and Brion, C.},
title = {WOMEN SCHOOL LEADERS: ENTREPRENEURS IN LOW FEE PRIVATE SCHOOLS IN THREE DEVELOPING NATIONS},
series = {9th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation},
booktitle = {ICERI2016 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-617-5895-1},
issn = {2340-1095},
doi = {10.21125/iceri.2016.0618},
url = {http://dx.doi.org/10.21125/iceri.2016.0618},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Seville, Spain},
month = {14-16 November, 2016},
year = {2016},
pages = {7081-7090}}
TY - CONF
AU - P. Cordeiro AU - C. Brion
TI - WOMEN SCHOOL LEADERS: ENTREPRENEURS IN LOW FEE PRIVATE SCHOOLS IN THREE DEVELOPING NATIONS
SN - 978-84-617-5895-1/2340-1095
DO - 10.21125/iceri.2016.0618
PY - 2016
Y1 - 14-16 November, 2016
CI - Seville, Spain
JO - 9th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
JA - ICERI2016 Proceedings
SP - 7081
EP - 7090
ER -
P. Cordeiro, C. Brion (2016) WOMEN SCHOOL LEADERS: ENTREPRENEURS IN LOW FEE PRIVATE SCHOOLS IN THREE DEVELOPING NATIONS, ICERI2016 Proceedings, pp. 7081-7090.
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