Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Doctor of Philosophy




Professor Jerald Paquette


Using a grounded-theory approach this study critically examines a development education program of an NGO, the Institute for Development Studies and Practices (IDSP) in Balochistan, Pakistan. IDSP’s Academic Development Program (ADP) is influenced by critical pedagogy, and post-colonial and post-modern studies. IDSP targets out-of-school youth and young adults of marginalized communities who are politically and socially conscious and looking for openings, inspirations, and direction to solve the issues confronting their communities.

In addition to grounded theory itself, theoretical perspectives used in this study include: postmodern critical theory, transformative learning theory, critical pedagogy, and post-colonial studies. Data sources include ADP-related documents and open-ended interviews with four IDSP administrators, three teachers, six female students, and eight male students. I used convenience, purposive, and theoretical sampling techniques to select my research participants. To analyze my data, I utilized two major analytical tools, “content analysis” and “constant comparison” throughout the research process.

The research findings reveal that ADP has developed critical consciousness in marginalized youth, improved their cultural self-esteem, enabled them to reclaim elements of their history and self-worth, and developed in them a sense of ownership and responsibility for their own knowledge. It has given them civic courage to raise their voice against exploitation, nepotism, and corruption and it has motivated them to connect with the world beyond their local region. Finally, it has enhanced their professional development capabilities.

This study traces a model of epistemic empowerment of indigenous youth across eight categories: (i) fostering critical imagination and analytical skills, (ii) strengthening connections with local culture, (iii) mastering professional skills, (iv) initiating praxis, (v) breaking the culture of silence, (vi) embracing ethically and socially responsible knowledge, (vii) encountering resistance in applying emancipatory ideas, and (viii) becoming “universal.”

Case studies, particularly single case studies, are not generalizable in any sense to different contexts and time. However, the IDSP experience chronicled in this study through the eyes of direct stakeholders offers potential lessons for those who find themselves similarly situated in potentially comparable circumstances.