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Indigenous Students’ Persistence in Latin American Higher Education Institutions

TitleIndigenous Students’ Persistence in Latin American Higher Education Institutions
Publication TypeThesis
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsSuárez, CI
AdvisorGairín, J, Castro, D
Date Published09/2017
Thesis TypeThesis
Abstract

This dissertation aims to contribute to improving Indigenous students’ persistence in higher education institutions. The main assumption is that higher education constitutes a core phase in the educational development, not only as a stage for academic achievement and egress, but also as a clear indicator of social justice.

The research questions that have guided the study are: How is Indigenous students’ persistence in higher education institutions characterized? What factors promote or prevent Indigenous students’ persistence in higher education institutions? Based on these factors, how could Indigenous students’ persistence be improved?

The general research objectives are as follows: a) Comprehend the development of the persistence of indigenous students in higher education institutions; and b) Analyze the facilitators and barriers that characterize the persistence of indigenous students in higher education institutions.

From a theoretical point of view, we understand Indigenous students’ persistence from an Inclusion perspective in Higher Education. Thus, the theoretical framework for this study is built from a selected set of theories and key concepts.

From a methodological perspective, we draw from a qualitative paradigm to develop a multiple case study. The sample comprises 6 universities (3 cases in the Peruvian context and 3 cases in the Mexican context), where for data collection, we applied a mixed strategy of qualitative and quantitative instruments.

Two previous short-term studies were conducted in Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela (Master's Thesis) and Bolivia (first year of the Doctoral Program) to collect background information. We collected the data by interviewing scholars and getting acquainted with experiences of access and persistence.

In addition, a three-month visit was developed at the Department of Counseling, Higher Education and Special Education, University of Maryland (Maryland, United States). During the visit, we had the opportunity to analyze theoretical perspectives and models being used in the United States to understand students’ persistence and retention. We also exchanged experiences with scholars interested in issues related to college access, retention and minority students in higher education. The security of information allowed a better understanding of the minority students’ persistence process in higher education in this dissertation.

As a main result, we designed a model for the persistence of indigenous students in Latin American universities based on the data collected in this study. Although it cannot be generalized, it is expected that this proposal offers a figure that illustrates the reality of the Indigenous students’ persistence per the findings of this study.

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