Status of women students in Science, Mathematics and Technology Programmes in Kenyan Universities
Njoroge, John Kamau
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The purpose of the study was to carry out an in-depth analysis of status of women students in terms of performance in science, mathematics and technology programmes and flow from one academic year to another compared to that of their male counterparts in Kenyan public and private universities. The study was also to establish if access to resources is same as that of male students. The theory used in this study was Liberal feminism. It is rooted in the tradition of 16th- and 17th-century liberal philosophy, which focused on the ideals of equality and liberty. The liberal conception of equality was based on the belief that all men had the potential to be rational and that any inequality had to be justified in rational terms. Liberal feminists argue that the inequality of women and men cannot be justified on rational terms and trust that rational men can be convinced of the folly of perpetuating that inequality. The research design used in this study is ex post factor. The term ex post facto according to Landman (1988) is used to refer to an experiment in which the researcher, rather than creating the treatment, examines the effect of a naturally occurring treatment after it has occurred. The study was carried out in 3 Kenyan public and 3 private universities: namely Nairobi, Kenyatta, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Aga Khan, Mt Kenya and Catholic Universities. After coding, organizing observations systematically, the researcher proceeded to process data with aid of computer statistical package for social sciences (SPSS). To establish whether there is any significant difference between men and women in performance and access to learning resources Chi-square statistical test was done. The researcher also used the Wilcoxon - Mann - Whitney Test. This test is a non-parametric analog to the independent t-test and is used when one does not assume that the dependent variable is a normally distributed interval variable (one can only assume that the variable has at least ordinal). Moi, Kenyatta, Jomo Kenyatta and Nairobi seem to be the only universities with fully fledged facilities to comfortably handle SMTs programmes. Adequate qualified personnel remain the number one factor that hinders the full rolling out of SMT programmes besides the expensive equipment in both public and private universities. It is also very clear that in lower levels of education tier boys outdo girls in SMTs in terms of performance. However, at university level, men and women perform equally well. Contrary to general misconception that transition of women is not at same the rate as men, the study has shown that the difference is insignificant. The study has also established that there is no correlation between gender and preference of SMT programmes at university level. Government should set aside lots of capital to equip the SMTs facilities at all the universities.