This project explores why children from historically disadvantaged groups in the country experience higher rates of dropout (and less potential for social mobility) and attempt to uncover the decision-making processes and factors affecting these rates. Though education has been cited by many scholars as the primary source of equalization in a capitalist society, the Peruvian case underlines the imperative of discussing how —power and inequality mediate people's access to educational freedoms—(Jeffrey et. al., 2008: 31). Social and economic inequality remain primary development challenges for Peru, and education has been promoted nationally as a means for their betterment. This project explores the factors underlying indigenous children's inability to access this supposed source of mobility.
In order to truly understand these factors, a holistic and multi-disciplinary approach is necessary. Drawing on a theoretical framework comprised of social anthropology, educational sociology, and capabilities approaches, this project will address primarily the following research questions:
- Why do children drop out of secondary school at particularly high rates in rural communities of Peru?
- How do children and their household members (parents, caregivers, siblings) negotiate decisions around dropping out of/staying in secondary school; how does hope for and consideration of children's social and economic future factor in to these decisions?
- What are the main personal factors and social characteristics that threaten or support children?s completion of secondary school (e.g. socio-economic status, ethnicity/native language, gender, parental education, birth order, and working status)?
- What are the main environmental factors that threaten or support children?s completion of secondary school (e.g. quality of the education system, teacher and administrator attitudes, etc.)?