We invite you to attend the Thesis Presentation of Ebifie Dambo, a Doctor of Philosophy candidate within the School of Social Sciences, in the Faculty of Arts, Business and Law.
Title: A study of educational resilience amongst African refugees in South East Queensland
Presenter: Ebifie Dambo
When: Friday, 9 November - 11:30am to 12:30pm
Where: Building E, room 1.04
Abstract: This is a qualitative feminist study that explores educational resilience amongst African refugee undergraduate students in South East Queensland. Its purpose is to examine the resources that the students draw upon to build and maintain educational resilience. The study was based on a socio-cultural perspective, based on the social-ecological transactional model. The theoretical model deployed to explore resilience phenomenon of the students include Resilience theory, Futures Studies, Bourdieu’s socio-cultural theory, African Indigenous theories of Ukama and Ubuntu, Freire’s Conscientization theory, Postcolonial theory and Black feminism.
The methodology deployed is Causal Layered Analysis which is drawn from Futures Studies. The Futures Triangle was deployed for organisation of the thesis. The study has a social justice focus, hence it placed emphasis on empowerment rather than deficit model. The research methods utilised include focus group interviews and individual in-depth interviews. The research instruments comprised of semi-structured and structured demographic questions. The key research participants comprised of five female and five male university students. The students were recruited through purposive sampling. Some of the students participated in focus group interviews followed by individual in-depth interview while some only participated in the individual in-depth interview. In order to deepen understanding of resilience phenomena amongst the students, seven significant support persons nominated by some of the students were interviewed through individual in-depth interviews.
Based on the aforementioned rationale, also interviewed were members of the Queensland African Communities Council who participated in focus group interviews. Altogether 47 people participated in this study. Drawing from the social-ecological-transactional resilience literature, the following criteria was chosen for determining the occurrence of resilience amongst the students include:
- students expressed continuity in university studies by not dropping out
- reciprocal relationship with supportive others
- utilisation of university-based support services
- future academic and career aspirations
Findings from the study identified a broad range of challenges faced by African refugee university students. Also the study revealed creative ways in which the students sought to build their resilience to overcome these challenges. The study identified seven overlapping areas of importance: 1) agency and empowerment, 2) reciprocal relationships through family, university friendship networks and community networks 3) faith 4) university support services 5) cross-cultural learning 6) personal attributes. These positive dimensions of the educational experiences of African refugees challenge the deficit approaches of previous studies. The findings of the study will be useful for informing educators, university administrators, university lecturers, allied health professionals and policy makers.
Bio: Ebifie is a skilled immigrant from Nigeria, West Africa and has been an Australian citizen for over twenty years. Ebifie’s professional work experience includes many years of teaching at early childhood, secondary and tertiary levels in Nigeria and Australia. In addition, Ebifie has extensive experience working in the Queensland Government sector as a Community Resource Officer. Other relevant work experience involves employment as a Child Safety Officer with the Queensland Government through which she demonstrated skills in engaging with marginalised families and communities including African refugees. Ebifie’s previous qualifications include Masters in Learning Management (Special Education), Central Queensland University, Masters in Teacher Education (Early Childhood Education), University of Ibadan, Nigeria and Bachelor of Education (History), University of Port-Harcourt, Nigeria.
Over a period of several years, Ebifie continues to be a very active member of the African community in Brisbane, South East Queensland where she has established valuable interpersonal relationships with members of the African refugee communities. Furthermore, Ebifie has engaged in serving her community in formal capacity as executive member of the Queensland African Communities Council and continues to volunteer her services as required. Given her background professional experience and firsthand knowledge relating to strengths and challenges facing the African communities in Queensland, Ebifie deploys a social justice focus towards her research project. Prior to relocating to Brisbane a few years ago, Ebifie and her husband Suoton, resided on the Sunshine Coast for nearly twenty years, where they raised their children. Ebifie has a long standing relationship with the University of the Sunshine Coast, where two of her older children graduated.
Should you have any questions about this event please contact FABLHDR@usc.edu.au.
We look forward to seeing you there.