School of Education


Doctor of Education in Curriculum & Instruction (EdD)


John Duryea


Africa, Burkina Faso, Education, Poverty, Culture-of-Survival


Education | Elementary Education


The purpose of this qualitative case study was to examine the education system of Burkina Faso to better understand how it impacts the lives of the people who live there. The study examined possible reasons of under-education in Burkina Faso and the impact of poverty on the Burkinabé people as it is related to education. The research questions are (1) what are the barriers to education, (2) how does under-education impact the ability of the Burkinabé to earn an income that is sufficient to meet basic human needs such as adequate food, clothing, and medical care, and (3) what are the consequences in terms of human life outcomes, such as health and life expectancy, that are related to chronic poverty in Burkina Faso? The sample consisted of 27 teachers, missionaries, health care workers, and directors of orphanages who understand the depth of the difficulties faced by the Burkinabé people. Semi-structured interviews were the main source of data, along with observations, and documents. Open coding of transcriptions from participant interviews was used to develop themes. The findings of this study indicate there are many barriers to education in Burkina Faso and that a culture of survival and poverty, in particular, were two barriers that had the greatest impact on the ability of a person to receive an education. Future research could re-examine some of the same issues considered in this study, lengthen the time during which data would be collected, and include additional researchers to access a larger sample. Finding solutions to the difficulties encountered by the Burkinabé people in educating their children would also benefit other countries and communities struggling with similar problems.