Traditional Culture and Educational Success in Senegal, West Africa
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This thesis explores the effects of: 1) traditional values, 2) parental involvement, and 3) poverty on student performance. Instead of regarding tradition and poverty as obstacles, this paper argues that they can play a positive role in improving the educational quality. This thesis draws on interviews in three communities with administrators, teachers, students, parents, and elders. They show that traditional culture plays an important role in ensuring student motivation, but it is not clear which aspects of tradition will be incorporated into the curriculum, and by whom. My work also shows that parental involvement in schools is largely limited to fund-raising, and there is demand for more engagement. Finally, this project reveals that poverty is a double edge sword: it contributes to the school drop-out problem but also can serve as a tremendous source of personal motivation for students who want to help improve the economic condition of their families.