Equity implications of district quota and disabled students’ scholarships in public universities in Uganda
Kaahwa, Yuda Taddeo
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District Quota System and Disabled Students’ Scheme were introduced in 2005 and 1998 respectively to improve equity in government scholarships. The research set out to examine how these admission tracks were achieving equity of opportunity and process for the targeted beneficiaries. The study employed a cross sectional survey design over a sample of 332 students using random and convenient sampling techniques. In addition, the study purposively sampled registrars in charge of admissions, officials from the Gender Mainstreaming Department and Department of Higher Education Ministry of Education and Sports. Questionnaires, interviews and document analysis were done. Data were analyzed using thematic description and Excel Stat. The study discovered that majority of students on district quota system come from peasantry background. There is numerical geographical equity on the district quota system but there is geographical inequity on the disabled students’ scheme. The district quota system is more gender equitable. These admission tracks have not affected the process of education for the beneficiaries. The study concluded that the District Quota System and Disabled Students’ Scheme have increased equity of opportunity but have not addressed equity in the process of education for the beneficiaries. District Quota System has increased girls’ access to university, but it has not affected the rural-urban inequity in access to and process of university education. The study recommends that for students to qualify for District Quota System under a certain district, they should have studied both primary and secondary school in that district. The percentage of district quota should be increased from the current 25% to 50% of government scholarships. Urban districts should not be included in district quota. Finally, the study recommends establishment of information support services for disabled students.