This study employed three interconnected perspectives—student, community, and gender—to investigate the barriers that prevent disadvantaged Jamaican youth from accessing and completing tertiary technical education. The study deepens our knowledge of the barriers that students face in different periods of their educational journey.
The key findings indicate that factors from all three perspectives—individual, community, and gender—had a strong relationship on students’ educational trajectories. From the individual perspective, barriers to accessing and completing tertiary technical education included financial challenges relating to tuition payments and miscellaneous fees and a general lack of awareness of tertiary technical education. From the community perspective, family examples of educational attainment (or lack thereof) and violence in the school environment were important determinants of educational trajectory. From the gender perspective, pervasive sexual harassment and early pregnancy were strong barriers to access and completion of tertiary technical education.
This report presents a picture of the environments, opportunities, challenges, and complex incentives structures that Jamaican youth face each day. The barriers highlighted in this study shape the lives of disadvantaged youth and impact their willingness and ability to access and complete tertiary technical education. Based on these findings, the Advance Program will develop strategies to build institutional capacity to help local institutions facilitate access and improve completion for disadvantaged students.