Women’s access to higher education in Uganda and its impact on economic growth
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This thesis examines the role of women’s access to higher education for achieving economic growth, based on a study from Kampala, Uganda. Higher education is understood as a tool that can be used to transform society by equipping the population with the right skills and knowledge to participate in the labour market and be internationally competitive. Primary education is free in Uganda, with equally high enrolment rates of boys and girls. During secondary education, many students drop out of school, especially girls, which leads to low enrolment rates in higher education. The research is based on two questions: “In what way does Uganda emphasize the importance of higher education in their plans on becoming an upper middle-income country?” and “How can women’s access to higher education contribute to sustainable development?” The Capability Approach and the Human Capital theory will serve as the theoretical orientation for this thesis. Together, they offer a conceptual structure to understand how women, higher education, and economic growth may be related. The methodology chosen for this study is a case study approach, and the data is mainly gathered through qualitative, semi-structured interviews with women in Kampala, Uganda. This study concludes that Uganda emphasizes the importance of higher education for development by committing to a number of international goals and a national goal of becoming an upper middle-income country by 2040. At this time, the commitment seems to be mostly on paper, but it will be interesting to see what course of action Uganda will take in the years to come. Women’s access to higher education has significant ripple effects that contribute to sustainable development. The main reason why it is substantial to increase women’s participation in education is that they are already underrepresented, but consist of half the population. Everyone in society has to be included for real change to happen.