This study (http://www.sussex.ac.uk/wphegt) addressed international policy agendas for the Millennium Development Goals, poverty alleviation and revitalisation of higher education in Sub-Saharan Africa.
It aimed to illuminate the effectiveness of widening participation policies in higher education in relation to gender, socio-economic status (SES) and age. It investigated which groups are entering higher education in Ghana and Tanzania, and how different social groups fared in terms of retention, achievement, and experiences of higher education.
The project gathered qualitative data from interviews with 200 students, 200 academic staff and policymakers and quantitative data on access, retention and achievement in relation to four programmes of study in two universities (one public and one private) in each country. Quantitative data were presented in Equity Scorecards. The mixed methods approach aimed to strengthen the evidence base for policy monitoring.
- Most programmes enrolled low numbers of low SES students.
- Women were in the minority in science programmes - despite evidence of affirmative action.
- The numbers of mature students were very low except on certain programmes e.g. Education.
- Mature low SES students, mature women and low SES women were underrepresented in all programmes. However, once entered, low SES students performed as well as, and sometimes better than, other groups.
- The group most at risk of dropout was mature students.
- In both countries, private universities admitted a higher proportion of women than public universities.
- Poor quality teaching, resources, and assessment were widely reported. However, many students reported the transformational impact that higher education had on their lives.
Morley, L.; Leach, F. Widening Participation in Higher Education in Ghana and Tanzania: Developing an Equity Scorecard. ESRC End of Award Report, RES-167-25-0078. ESRC, Swindon, UK (2010) 11 pp.