The Role of Open and Distance Learning in Promoting Women Participation in Higher Education: A case Study of the Open University of Tanzania

Mwankusye, R M, Ally, H. N

Abstract


Women education has remained a global discourse. This paper aimed at assessing the role of Open and Distance Learning (ODL) in promoting women participation in higher education a case study of the Open University of Tanzania (OUT).  Specifically, the study aimed at addressing the following objectives: assessing the trend of female students’ enrolments and graduation at OUT;  determining reasons or pulling factors for women involvement in studying at OUT and examining challenges  facing women participation in higher education at OUT. The study employed a mixed research approach where by qualitative and quantitative approaches were used, with quantitative approach being dominant. The study also used descriptive survey design, whereby a random sample of 100 female students was involved.    Data for this study were collected through documentary and questionnaires techniques. Furthermore, simple descriptive statistical analysis was used to analyze quantitative data, whereas qualitative data were subjected to content analysis. The research findings revealed that male students’ enrolment and graduation exceed that of female students. However, the trend of female students’ enrolment and graduation in postgraduate, undergraduate and non-degree programmes have kept increasing overtime. Moreover, the study disclosed a number of pulling factors for women’s involvement in studying at OUT. These pulling factors were created by pushing factors from conventional educational. The challenges that female students face included among others, family and social responsibilities, technologies, inadequate support from the employer and family members as well as financial constrains. 


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