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A Non-Conformist Choice: The Lifeworld of Young Women Pursuing STEM-Related TVET in Upper Secondary Technical Institutes in Ghana



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Amegah, Alice 


Researchers have studied the structural and social constraints that affect the under-participation of females in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and technical, vocational, education, and training (TVET). However, removing these constraints alone has not improved young women’s participation in STEM-related TVET courses. Consequently, this research contends that exploring the lived experiences of girls who study STEM-related TVET courses and analysing TVET policy design can provide insights into enablers that can improve young women’s STEM-related TVET education and career choices. The current study employed the expectancy-value theory of achievement-related choice as the theoretical framework to investigate the research questions. The interpretative phenomenological analysis of 26 young women sampled from four Technical Institutes in Ghana’s Central and Northern regions revealed five core themes. These core themes emphasised the duality of young women’s lived experiences that harnessed their identities, agency, and capabilities. An original contribution of the study is that enablers, such as practical learning modes, career guidance and counselling, and inclusive school environments, are crucial to improving young women’s agency to make STEM-related TVET education and career choices. The study recommends reconceptualising STEM-related TVET policies to move beyond human capital to adopt the critical-capability approach of TVET.





Hayward, Geoffrey


Achievement-related choice, Capabilities, Critical Discourse Analysis, Education Policy, Ghana, Girls, Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis, STEM, TVET, Upper-secondary


Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Awarding Institution

University of Cambridge
Government of Ghana-Scholarship Secretariat, BAICE - British Association for International and Comparative, Forum for World Education