I am currently involved in a research project funded by the UWI-Trinidad and Tobago Research and Development Impact Fund to investigate the life-course trajectories and complex decision-making of school dropouts in Trinidad & Tobago. This project will analyse dropouts' economic productivity and livelihoods and suggest interventions that can improve their income-generating capabilities and prospects.

The study asks three key questions:

  • What are the current household characteristics and economic activities of dropouts?
  • How is education manifest in the lives of dropouts since first leaving school?
  • What is the decision-making process, or the everyday calculus, that results in withdrawal from, or return to, school, shifts in employment, and shifts in residence?
  • Academically, not much is known about the academic trajectory of dropouts or the relationship to crime, formal, and informal employment, nor has this been theorized or modelled. The differing impacts on women and girls is also a gap that this study seeks to address since women and girls will have different decision-making, supports, responsibilities, and formal and informal opportunities, as well as potentially greater risk and vulnerability to sexual and household violence. Social benefits of this research include generating an evidence base that helps to inform policies that keep students in education, facilitates their return, or offers alternatives that are sensitive to gender, ability, and persons’ own ambitions.

    Scholar's prayer: From the cowardice that shrinks from new truth • From the laziness that is content with half-truths • From the arrogance that thinks it knows all truth • O, God of truth, deliver us. •