Reaching out to marginalised populations in low-income countries
The Reaching out to marginalised populations in low-income countries (ReMaLIC) project is collecting first-hand accounts of the educational experiences of marginalised young people aged 13-15, their parents and their teachers in four low-income countries in Africa and Asia.
The ReMaLIC project is collecting accounts in order to reflect on the roles of the English language and technology in reinforcing or reducing marginalisation, with the ultimate aim of making recommendations for policy and practice that will support young people at transitional points in their lives.
Marginalisation in education is a global issue and has long existed in high-income countries as well as low-income countries (LICs). Inequitable access to educational resources due to technological and language divides and girls’ marginalisation have been exacerbated in LICs as a result of the educational and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This study explores marginalised young students’ and their parents’ and teachers’ lived experiences of using technology and accessing education, and their perceived value of the English language, in four LICs: Bangladesh, Nepal, Senegal and Sudan. An important parallel aim of the project is to understand, explore and influence change in attitudes towards gender equality in order to ensure that marginalised girls are empowered, and gender equality has been better established in low-resource contexts.
Following a review of literature of marginalisation in education, the project has identified relevant communities in the selected countries and is exploring their engagement with education. The empirical part of the study is focused on collecting accounts of experiences from students aged 13-15 years, their teachers and parents/guardians. Data collection is by way of focus groups, classroom observations and semi-structured interviews.
Activity Theory will be used to analyse the experiences of education practices mediated by technology, English and local languages. The study will draw out policy, pedagogical and research implications for the use of technology, and English - as a medium of instruction, a subject, and a lingua franca of the internet. This study is significant since it reaches out to marginalised students in LICs whose voices are not being heard. Recommended changes in policy and practices will support the students in their access to education mediated by use of technology and the English language.
The ReMaLIC project is connected in an informal network with 5 other projects funded by the British Council in the Widening Participation programme and 5 additional projects funded under its ELTRA scheme.
The role of IET
This international project is led in IET by Professor Agnes Kukulska-Hulme. Other IET academics working on the project are Dr Mark Gaved and Dr Saraswati Dawadi. We draw on our expertise in multiple domains, including:
- technologies for online and mobile learning
- social and educational inclusion
- supporting learning in low-resource contexts
- role of English and other languages in access to education – in digital environments, in different parts of the world
- conducting research with marginalised and vulnerable populations
- working with non-governmental organisations
- teacher development through reflection on practice
- influencing policy at institutional and government levels.
The IET team fulfils multiple roles in the ReMaLIC project, including leading the development of a shared understanding of ethical research practices across multiple partners and data collection sites.
The ReMaLIC project makes a valuable contribution to reducing educational marginalisation in low-income countries. Hence, it will contribute to Sustainable Development Goal 4 (inclusive and equitable access to quality education).
Key impacts of the study are expected at the policy and advocacy levels. The project aims to recommend a mechanism for coordination among the agencies involved in supporting marginalised sections of the population. It will identify the gaps or loopholes in policy and its implementation strategies and will offer guidelines to address such gaps or ambiguities.
The implications of the study should also be realised at the educational practice level, in schools, community centres and in students’ homes. Teachers will be involved in reflecting on, and adjusting, their practices. The study will shed light on the support mechanisms available to assist marginalised children in adapting to the changing technological and language conditions of pedagogical practices.
The insights and recommendations from the project, shared across multiple governments and their agencies, have wider applicability in countries beyond those that are involved in the research. Indeed, the project will generate new evidence on how ministries of education, teachers and other key stakeholders can change their thinking, attitudes, and practices to ensure inclusivity in education.
Finally, the project aims to influence research agendas by identifying issues and avenues deemed important but beyond the scope of the project, for further research.
- British Council
- Dr Ram Ashish Giri, Monash University, Australia
- Prof. Rubina Khan, University of Dhaka, Bangladesh
- Dr Amna Bedri, Ahfad University for Women, Sudan
- Dr Kamal Raj Devkota, Tribhuvan University, Nepal
- Mr Abdou Niane, Regional Centre of Teacher Training, Senegal