The perceived impact of distributional educational policies on students’ admission at Makerere University
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This study was carried out to investigate the perceived impact of Distributional Educational Policies on the admission of female and disabled students at Makerere University. The study was undertaken in order to ascertain why the representation of female and disabled students have remained low despite policy interventions. The study objectives were: to ascertain the perceived impact of 1.5 bonus points given to female students on the admission of students at Makerere University; to establish the perceived impact of the female scholarship initiative policy on the admission of students at Makerere University; and to determine the perceived impact of affirmative action policy on the admission of disabled students to Makerere University. The study used a non-experimental cross sectional design in order to carry out the investigation and both quantitative and qualitative research methods were used. The population of study were all University students including; Females and Disabled students who were the beneficiaries of these policies, University Lecturers and Administrators - the formulators and implementers of these policies. Findings were: Majority of the respondents (71.5%) believed that the bonus points have led to an increase in number of female students at Makerere, although 25.6% of the respondents did not agree while 2.6% were undecided. Majority of the respondents (59.7%) also felt that the FSI scheme had enhanced opportunities of access to Makerere University of the poor female while and 35% felt this was not true. It established that 66% of the students considered the increase in the number of disabled students at Makerere University to be resulting from the affirmative action policy, while 27% of the respondents disagreed. Majority of the respondents (69%) agreed with this fact affirmative action for disabled students has led to increased enrolment of disabled students while 30% disagreed. The study concludes that the impact of the 1.5 bonus points on the admission of female students at Makerere University is perceived to be positive. This is reflected in the fact that majority of the respondents believed that the bonus points have led to an increase in the number of female students at Makerere. Although the overall perception about the impact of FSI is that it has been only satisfactory. The scheme is less beneficial to females from poor financial backgrounds. The list of FSI beneficiaries in Appendix II attest to this fact. Majority of the schools with high number of female students in the scholarship scheme are from powerful schools which are affordable by well to do families. Affirmation action policy for the disabled is perceived as highly beneficial for increasing the number of disabled students at Makerere University. However, the level of awareness among disabled students about the existence of the policy is quite low. Finally, in the first instance among the key recommendations, the study proposed that the University should desist from scrapping off the 1.5 points offered to female students, instead it should develop a criterion that will ensure that girls from poor rural schools would have access to the university education while benefiting from the 1.5 points. At the same time, the study recommends that more funding should be injected to the scheme in order to admit higher number of females especially in sciences. There is also a need for creation of the awareness on nearly all the distributional policies in the University most especially FSI. Besides creating awareness about the existence of affirmative action for the disabled students, a deliberate effort should be made in order to ensure infrastructural facilities are put in place to cater for the educational needs of the disabled students at Makerere University.