Factors leading to low access to College Education by women in Colleges of Education in Mansa District
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This study was designed to establish factors leading to low access to college education by women in colleges of education in Mansa and then come up with factors which address this issue. To better understand the phenomenon, it was necessary to explore what happens to girls while in school up to college level. The study followed a descriptive research design with a total number of 60 women and 40 men that participated and derived from the three colleges of education in Mansa district. Questionnaires, focused group discussions and interviews were used as methods of collecting data. The research instruments used included self - administered questioimaires and interview guides. Both qualitative and quantitative methods of inquiry were used, and data gathering techniques included literature review, interviews, and observation. The data was analyzed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) to obtain frequencies and percentages and were further subjected for interpretation. The findings included; a high dropout rate for women due to social problems; that women receive marginalized attention when parents have financial constraints; women educational att^nment is lower than that of men due to factors which will be looked into, the education sysj^m contributes to low levels of women's education and training through curricula and sitting arrangements that segregate them from men and policy that perpetuates the problem of under presentation of women. The study also found that women's success is dependent of such factors as their perception of their own future, their willingness to break the traditional barriers that are detrimental to women's success, and support from people around them, ambition and perseverance. The study has established that despite measures put in place to improve female enrollment and completion, there are still a number of factors hindering the accessing of college education by females. The study has established that while the recruitment is on the 50% male and 50% female basis not all the female students manage to complete their training like their male counterparts do. This implies that the progression rate is lower than that of male students thereby affecting the completion rates. Some of the factors the study has established are pregnancies leading to withdrawing fi-om training. This has been worsened by steps taken by colleges who do not allow pregnant students to remain in boarding and if the affected students are not local residents, chances of them renting alternative accommodation are very minimal. The failure rate is higher for female students than the male ones (see figure 1 for statistics on the passing rate). The study has estabhshed that male students who make fellow students pregnant are not affected in any way. They continue with their studies as if nothing has happened. What the study further discovered is that those female students who are sent out because of falling pregnant are made to go through the same process of being subjected to interviewed like any other newly applicant and findings showed that there were some who could fail the interview and therefore fail to continue with their training. The study concludes with some pertinent recommendations. They include changing women's attitudes toward their roles, educating society on the value of educating women, creating opportunities to enable more women to get ftirther education and training, encouraging and preparing women with potential for leadership positions, providing enabling services such as day-care facilities, workshops, forums, organizing task forces, opening women's Centre where women in education can critically discuss women's issues, creating a roaster for women in educational management, inclusion of more women in policy-making positions and training of educational policy makers. The study concluded by recommending interventions to reduce low levels of women accessing college education. Key players, stakeholders, education authorities and women are all called upon to address the issue by playing their part in remediating the challenges posed by women not receiving education.
University of Zambia
Master of Education in Educational Magement