Factors influencing gender party in female enrolment of private Universities in Kenya
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Disparity in enrolment of male and female students in public universities is evident, with female enrolment accounting for only 31 % of total student population in 200712008 (Ministry of Education, Science & Technology, 2009). On the other hand, enrolment of female students in private universities during the same period stood at 51 % (Sunday Nation, 2009). The attainment of gender-parity in private universities motivated the researcher to investigate factors influencing female enrolment in private universities in Kenya. To achieve this objective, the study used descriptive survey design. From 14 private universities in Kenya, the researcher employed purposive sampling technique to select a sample of three private universities that were located in Nairobi to form the base of the study. The three selected private universities were USIU, Daystar and KCA. The main tools of data collection were questionnaires and interview schedules. The two data collection tools were supplemented by documentary analysis from the respective universities that were sampled. A sample of 300 undergraduate students and 3 registrars in charge of admission were selected from the three (3) private universities. The findings showed that private universities had attained gender parity unlike in public universities. Female enrolment at Daystar University, for instance, was 51 % in 2010, while in USIU and KCA it was 54% and 52%, respectively. The study found that the following were the major factors influencing gender parity in private universities: 95% of the respondents joined private universities because of flexible selection of degree programmes; 85% ,choose private universities owing to shorter period of degree completion; proximity to the university and good facilities were cited by 84% and 70% of the respondents, respectively. The study offered the following recommendations to the Ministry of Education and other stakeholders. First, the government through the Joint Admission Board should ensure that public universities' undergraduate degree completion period is as short as that of private universities, by removing the two year waiting period before admission. Second, the Joint Admission Board should lower further female university admission cut-off points through the use of affirmative action. Finally, public universities should upgrade their facilities through expansion of lecture halls and laboratories, libraries and hostels.