Contribution of Gender Policies in Technical Vocational Education and Training to Gender Equity among Students in Vocational Tranining Institute, Central Region, Uganda
Nganda, Aidah Trevelynn
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Globally, gender policies exist to boost access to and retention in TVET. Nonetheless, studies report several barriers to their proper implementation which impacted gender equity. Thus, this study investigated the contribution of gender policies in TVET to gender equity among VTI students in the Central Region of Uganda. Specifically, the study explored gender trends in enrolment and transition between 2013 and 2017, examined the contribution of TVET advocacy strategies, financial resources and learning environment to gender equity among VTI students, and proposed policy interventions for boosting gender equity among VTI students. Anchored on Feminist Socialisation and Subject-Task-Value theories, the study adopted a convergent parallel mixed methods research design. It targeted 5,791 students, 240 instructors, 60 institutional leaders, 42 district leaders, 4 ministry officials, and 21 civil society gender advocates. Purposive, convenience and stratified random sampling were used to select 5 districts of the Central region, 6 VTI, 9 institutional leaders, 2 ministry officials, 3 district leaders, 5 CSO gender advocates, 56 instructors, and 185 students respectively. Hence, 260 participants comprised the study sample size. Questionnaires for institutional leaders, students and instructors, interview guides for students and instructors, district leaders, ministry officials, and CSO gender advocates were used. Likewise, document analysis tools for enrolment and retention trends and observation schedules for the learning environment attributes were used. Piloting, split-half, triangulation, and inter-coder agreement techniques tested instruments’ validity and reliability respectively. SPSS software for analysis and Microsoft Excel were used in the analysis of quantitative data related to access and retention. Specifically, percentage, mean, standard deviation, charts and graphs described the TVET advocacy strategies, financing resources and learning environment. Additionally, Pearson chi-square and Pearson product-moment correlation coefficient were used to show relationships between variables. ANOVA showed the difference in enrolment of students based on their institutional settings. Qualitative data were analysed using the thematic approach and verbatim reporting. Results revealed significant disparities in students’ enrolment and transition, based on the rural-urban divide and TVET trades. Further, a significant difference in the enrolment of students based on institutional settings was noted (F= (1,7) =73.04, p=0.05). Likewise, results showed a less significant enrolment and transition increase for females than males between 2013 and 2017. Moderate popularity (50%) of gender policies based on participants’ categories was noted. Further, findings agreed with the use of different advocacy strategies, financing resources and LFE approaches in promoting gender equity of students. The contribution of the different strategies to gender equity was shown. However, an insignificant relationship between TVET advocacy strategies and the gender equity of students was shown. The study recommended increasing capitation and advocacy for TVET, improving infrastructure facilities, and use of gender-sensitive approaches and materials, for boosting gender equity among VTI students.