Determinants of Female Enrolment in Engineering Courses in Public Technical Institutions in Kakamega County, Kenya
Nthuku, Muthoni Doris
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Despite the tremendous initiatives that have been put in place in the past years in Kenya to increase women participation in Technical Vocational Education and Training courses by the government and other educational stakeholders, the underrepresentation of women in TVET Engineering courses in Kakamega County is still evident. The objectives of the study were to establish how Social determinants influenced female enrolment in TVET engineering; to examine how institutional determinants influenced female enrolment and find out how policy determinants influence female enrolment in TVET engineering courses in Kakamega County. Three hypotheses were tested to show the significance relationship of these determinants on female enrolment and a coefficient of 0.908 was attained showing positive influence. The study was based on the Classical liberal theory of equal opportunity and Ruth Pearson’s theory on gender relations. The study employed descriptive survey research design. The target population was 3 registrars from the TVET Public institutions, 3559 students in engineering departments, 62 tutors, one County TVET Officer from the target population. The sample size of 371 respondents was determined using Morgan and Krejcie table for students, Census approach for registrars and 20% of the target population for tutors as suggested by Gall. Data was collected using questionnaires for students and tutors and oral interview schedule for the registrars. Validity and reliability for instruments were tested through piloting and Alpha method through the Statistical Package Social Science package version 23 was used to determine reliability. Data was analyzed using descriptive statistics. Qualitative data was thematically analyzed while quantitative data was analyzed using descriptive statistics. Inferential statistics F-tests and linear regression was used to test significance. Analysed data was presented by use of tables, bar graphs and charts. The study found out that female student’s lack female engineers to act as a role model for girls affected their decision to enrol for TVET engineering courses. There was negative attitude by the society towards girls enrolling in engineering. Further, policy determinants such as user charges influenced enrolment since majority of students agreed engineering course fees was not affordable. The study also revealed that there is lack of awareness on progression structure and other sources of funding. Institutional determinants such as out-dated technology, inadequate infrastructure were found to influence girls not to enrol in engineering courses. Further, out-dated machines discouraged girls from enrolling. The study concluded that social factors such as societal perceptions, lack of role models, poverty levels and policy factors such user charges, lack of awareness on progression structure, institutional factors such as out-dated technology and lack of awareness on entry requirement to TVET courses by student are the main inhibiting factors to enrolment of female students to TVET engineering courses. The study recommends that the government through TIVETA should come up with ways of reducing negative social perceptions and increase the level of awareness on sources of funding, progression structure, and entry requirements especially in the rural areas.