This paper discusses work-in-progress on the ESRC-DFID funded research project on Widening Participation in Higher Education in Ghana and Tanzania: Developing an Equity Scorecard. This project is examining patterns of inclusion and exclusion in higher education in two African countries with a view to interrogating the role that universities play in poverty reduction and achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. It is researching strategies and challenges for widening participation via policy analysis, two hundred life history interviews with 'non-traditional' students and two hundred interviews with key academic staff and policy-makers. Working with a public university and a private university in Ghana and Tanzania, the aim is to provide a comprehensive statistical overview of patterns of participation and achievement in higher education in the two countries. The project is developing Equity Scorecards to measure access, achievement and retention of socially and economically excluded groups in the four case study institutions. The statistical data will be illuminated by the multivocality of interviews with stakeholders whose interests are rarely included in international higher education policy arenas. Overarching aims are to build theory about socio-cultural aspects of higher education in low-income countries, to expand the research capacity in the countries concerned, and to provide new knowledge and literature that could contribute to making African higher education more socially inclusive.
Paper presented at the UKFIET Conference, Oxford, 11-13 September 2007. 49 pp.