n Education as Change - Policy making for secondary schooling in Uganda : will outcomes match intentions for female students?

Volume 7, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1682-3206
  • E-ISSN: 1947-9417
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The promotion of social equality and national unity have been clearly articulated goals of Ugandan education policy since the country became independent in 1962. However, even the most well-intentioned and best-researched policies may, in time and under conditions not anticipated by their makers, produce outcomes at odds with the goals they seek to achieve. As Uganda devises new policies to meet an urgent need to provide secondary and tertiary educational opportunities, this article reviews, form the perspective of the education of girls, the outcomes of past policies, and the possible outcomes of present policy recommendations. In doing so it hopes to facilitate the understanding of the processes at work in the evolution of education systems in developing countries, and for the provision of women's education in particular.

Recent research has addressed the question of why gender inequities persist in education in developing countries, despite increased knowledge about the causes of gender disparities (Swainson et al., 1998; Swainson, 1996; ADEA, 1996; Stromquist, 1995; Yates, 1993). The research suggests that there are many causes for these disparities, including gender initiatives that are mainly donor-driven and dependent on key individuals or male policy-makers, poor dissemination of existing research findings, and lack of a national gender policy into which gender interventions could be placed (Hyde 1989). However, even when particular attention is given to ensuring that gender equity is prominent on the reform agenda, failure to consider specific features of the long-term evolution of the educational system can undermine this goal. Changes made to address gender inequalities at one point in the system may well exacerbate inequalities at another. This article examines the proposals for reform and development of secondary education in Uganda that have been in process since 1992, within this context of unanticipated outcomes for well-intentioned policies - specifically the paradox that by making access to education gender-equal, educational outcomes for female students may be negatively effected.

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