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South African Journal of Education

Print version ISSN 0256-0100

Abstract

MAARMAN, Rouaan. Manifestations of 'capabilities poverty' with learners attending informal settlement schools. S. Afr. j. educ. [online]. 2009, vol.29, n.3, pp. 317-332. ISSN 0256-0100.

In this study I use the notion of 'capabilities poverty', as theorised by Sen, to examine the experiences of learners attending informal settlement schools in North-West Province, South Africa. Sen distinguishes between functionings (what people do or their ability to do something) and capabilities (various combi­nations of what people do, their notions of freedom, what life opportunities they may have). The study was based on a sample of respondents from four schools in the Sarafina informal settlement in Ikageng township in the municipal district of Tlokwe (Potchefstroom). It captured some complexities of schooling within South Africa's democratic educational framework and clearly exposed the mani­festations of capabilities poverty. The precise location of capabilities poverty within the plethora of poverty approaches presents educational research with a reality check when looking at informal settlement schools. The study revealed a multiplicity of barriers for informal settlement learners that prevent them from choosing the educational experience they value and contributes to research into the nuanced nature of the interface between poverty and schooling.

Keywords : capabilities poverty; informal settlement schools; poverty; schooling; schools.

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