Original Research

Higher education and career development experiences of emerging adults: A focus on university students and graduates in Haiti

Louise M. Vital
African Journal of Career Development | Vol 3, No 1 | a30 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ajcd.v3i1.30 | © 2021 Louise Michelle Vital | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 26 October 2020 | Published: 29 March 2021

About the author(s)

Louise M. Vital, Graduate School of Arts & Social Sciences, International Higher Education Program, Lesley University, Cambridge, United States


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Abstract

Background: There is limited empirical research on student experiences in the Haitian higher education system and less so that examined university-based career counselling and the career trajectory of graduates in Haiti.

Objectives: The purpose of this study was to examine the higher education and career development of emerging adults in Haiti.

Method: This study emerged from a larger qualitative case study conducted in 2013 of HigherEdOrg (pseudonym); a higher education-centred organization in Haiti. Data collection included semi-structured and focus group interviews, participant observation, and document analysis. First and second cycle coding was applied to interview data.

Results: Data analysis revealed two overarching themes: Higher Education and Career Challenges in Haiti and HigherEdOrg Strategies. A combination of country-level opportunity constraints and university-specific academic structures contributed to higher education and career challenges for students. Conversely, university students affiliated with HigherEdOrg found the comprehensive support provided alleviated difficulties surrounding higher education and career experiences. Implications include the possibility of a new model of higher education for Haiti that integrates career counselling as a new area of focus.

Conclusion: Though emerging adults in Haiti experience considerable challenges in their higher education and career development experiences, the findings from this study revealed a pipeline between higher education attainment and positive career outcomes for those university students affiliated with HigherEdOrg. Recommendation for future research include an environmental scan of the nature of career guidance offered to university students in Haiti, which will inform the design of targeted and relevant research projects to address this understudied issue.


Keywords

Haiti; higher education; career counselling; emerging adulthood; non-government organizations; low-income country

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