School of Education


Doctor of Philosophy in Education (PhD)


Laura E. Jones


rural, education, Ghana, poverty, socioeconomic, ruralness, Bronfenbrenner, achievement, prospects, educational attainment


Education | Higher Education


The purpose of this hermeneutic phenomenological study was to describe the rural school experiences and post-school outcomes of students from rural Ghana. This study examined rural Ghanaian students in the lenses of in-school and post-school lives in terms of their academic achievements, educational continuity, careers, and ability to cope with life through knowledge gained from their education. Qualitative, first-person research method and hermeneutic phenomenology was used to interpret lived experiences of participants and the texts of life of the concept of the phenomenon. The theories that guided this study were Bronfenbrenner's bioecological theory which examines how a child's early development and learning are influenced by multiple systems, including the microsystem (family poverty level), mesosystem (home-school partnership), exosystem (community type, early education policies), and macrosystem (rural culture), and students’ efficacy grounded in Bandura’s social cognitive theory. A total of 13 past rural students were recruited to describe and interpret their lived rural educational experiences, and the perceived impacts on participants. Data-collection techniques included audio-recorded, face-to-face, semi-structured interviews, open-ended, semi-structured, focus group interviews, and notes from a projective technique. Data analysis was done through thematic isolation via data immersion by the researcher using open coding and meaning units approaches. Themes that emerged were (a) family socioeconomic status (SES), (b) parental lack of interest/apathy, (c) lack of essential amenities/scarcity, (d) lack of support and collaborations, (e) teacher recruitment and retention, (f) culture, values, and misunderstandings, (g) student hardship, apathy, and poor performance, and (h) adult life and career prospects.