Efforts Towards Gender Equity in Academic and Employment Opportunities in The Open University of Tanzania
Education and employment opportunities are complementary concepts. Education opens the doors of knowledge, skills and empowerment, which in turn unlocks the opportunities for employment. The higher and varied are the educational opportunities, the more enhanced are the opportunities for varied and prestigious job opportunities. Job-opportunities specify educational levels, types and quality, which an applicant must have to secure the job opportunity. As such, one cannot discuss employment opportunities without touching on educational requirements and efforts towards combating HIV/AIDS at national and contextual levels because the latter impact negatively on recipients of education and beneficiaries of job opportunities. This paper describes and analyses how The Open University of Tanzania has endeavoured to bring about progress in narrowing down the gap between female and male university students’ enrolment in academic programmes and academics, technical and administrative staff in employment opportunities. The paper starts by highlighting the roles of education as a means of transmitting “knowledge, attitudes and values but focuses on the liberation and the transformative role it plays against physical and mental enslavement because it is dynamic, and the engine that brings about development of oneself and that of the nation at large. The establishment of The Open University of Tanzania was meant to democratize tertiary and university education so that those needing it, the marginalized groups can access it. Measures taken by OUT to reduce gender gap in academic and employment opportunities and students enrolment at non-degree, graduate and post graduate programmes include: the Charter and Rules, other legal provisions, the admission policy, the establishment of gender unit and the technical committee to spearhead its day to day activities. The committee also oversees adherance to the legal and regulatory provisions regarding the composition of decision making organs as far as gender is concerned. Staff development and succession plan, and conditionalities pertaining to the institution; the recruitment and employment policies, institutional and individual efforts all aimed at enhancing female enrolment. There is no doubt that a lot of progress has been made though efforts to realize gender parity in academic and employment at OUT has a long way to go. The legal and democratic instruments, policies and organs are in place, observed and are working relatively well though a lot more determination and practical action are required to fast track the process. There is a need to enhance the national institutions’ capacity to perform and deliver quality outputs which constitute the inputs to OUT. It is high time that a study be carried out on how to improve increased enrolment of women in The Open University of Tanzania.
Descriptors: gender equity, academics, job opportunities, tertiary and higher education and transformative education.