ERG SES B 01, Interactive Poster Session B 01
Education per se is very often perceived as a mean to improve the quality of person’s life. However, it is often the case that social and pedagogical arrangements in schools do not meet the needs of their students or even seriously deprive them as argued by Unterhalter (2003) stating the high rate of rapes in schools in South Africa. The right to education prioritizes the intrinsic importance of education, but it is often merely rhetorical – the right to free education of both, men and women, yet so many without the opportunity to use this right. In Serbia, for example, ‘Not all children enroll into primary school despite the legally provided, mandatory, universal and free of charge primary education.’ (Government of Serbia, 2007). Children that are not included in the schooling system usually come from vulnerable groups such as Roma and children with special needs and they are the ones who need ‘social elevator’ the most. Therefore, if the right recognized by the state cannot be exercised, the concept of education must stretch beyond legislations and conventions since otherwise it is not sufficient.
This research project intends to evaluate educational provision in Serbian primary schools using capability approach as a normative framework developed by Amartya Sen and Martha Nussbaum. Capabilities approach may provide ‘different lens’ on investigating the quality of instruction in primary school classrooms. Its novelty is to treat each person ‘as ends, as sources of agency and worth in their own right, with their own plans to make and their own lives to live, therefore as deserving of all necessary support for their equal opportunity to be such agents’ (Nussbaum, 2000, p. 58). This support for their equal opportunity is in the core of this research perceived through the educational provision in primary schools and delivered by the school management and primary school teachers.
The question this raises is what kind of instructional climate created by teachers and school management in primary schools in Serbia contributes to development of affiliation in the sense that pupils are ‘Having the social bases of self-respect and non-humiliation; being able to be treated as a dignified being whose worth is equal to that of others’ (Nussbaum, 2000, p. 79). The research has for its aim to investigate the existence of positive recognition as well as relationships of non-humiliation among school management, teachers and pupils.
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