Huria: Journal of the Open University of Tanzania

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Factors Influencing Prospective Women Students to Enroll at The Open University of Tanzania

MK Rwegelera, EP Bhalalussesa


This study examined the factors which influence prospective women
students to enrol at The Open University of Tanzania (OUT). The study was
guided by distance education ideas drawn from definitions and debates about theories and practice of distance education. These ideas were adopted as major references for theoretical perspective as far as distance education was concerned. Adult education theories were used to highlight on issues concerning women prospective adult learners. In order to identify barriers which prevent women to join OUT, liberal and socialist feminism theories were applied. Qualitative research approach was used in this study. Data collection methods included interviews supplemented with focus group discussion, observation and documentary analysis. A total of one hundred and sixty participants were involved in the study. Then, OUT managers and Regional Directors were included due to virtue of their positions. The study identified factors included internal or individual disposition factors that reflect personal attitude and perception. Learning at a distance was challenging and complex to prospective students. For most  prospective women such a pattern was perceived to be new and an unfamiliar experience different from other learning modes, distance learning is self-directed learning which involves time management. That was a new approach to learning for them. Therefore, they lacked  self-motivation and self-confidence in such new learning activity. Apart from internal factors, situational or external factors were identified. Overall, the study concludes that in a developing country like Tanzania, assumptions about potential benefits of distance learning in widening participation for disadvantaged groups like women should not be taken for granted. The research provides several recommendations in order to solve problems

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