Access of Women to Higher Education in Uganda: An Analysis of Inequalities, Barriers and Determinants

Type Thesis or Dissertation - Doctor of Philosophy
Title Access of Women to Higher Education in Uganda: An Analysis of Inequalities, Barriers and Determinants
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 1993
The study analyses factors affecting women's access to higher education
in Uganda, where women are under-represented at all levels of education, as
students, teachers, and managers. This reflects women's low status in Ugandan
society. The conceptual framework is derived from literature covering Women in
Development, the human capital concept of investment in education, the indirect
benefits of educating women, and social theories of gender inequality. Literature
on general educational access factors, mainly focusing on Sub-Saharan Africa is
reviewed, using Hyde's (1991) three-fold classification of family, societal, and
institutional factors.
A sample of four primary schools, sixteen advanced level secondary
schools and eleven higher education institutions provided empirical data. A crosssection
of over 600 Ugandan students, teachers in secondary schools and higher
education institutions, political and civic leaders and parents responded to
questionnaires. Decision-makers at sample institutions and the Ministry of
Education headquarters were interviewed, and documentary analysis also
covered official reports, documents and records, previous research and the mass
media. Although focus is on the higher education level, lower levels are
investigated to provide insight into causes of diminishing numbers of female
students as one climbs the educational ladder.
The central conclusion is that the family, society and the state in Uganda
act as if they are constantly weighing the profitability of investing in boys' or girls'
education, albeit not in the conventional way of measuring earnings of educated
workers, but rather assessing the future functional value of the individual. Lower
status within the family structure, lower perceived social value, exacerbated by
general economic constraints and inadequate educational structures make girls'
education, particularly higher education, appear less profitable than that of boys.
This obscures the indirect benefits that families and society would reap from
higher rates of female participation in education.

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