Gender differences in enrollment and graduation rates in private and public higher learning institution in Rwanda
This study provides a situation analysis of enrolment and graduation rates between female and male students in public and private higher learning institutions in Rwanda. The study tracked graduation rates of female and male students for nine years (2004-2013) from 6 colleges of the University of Rwanda and 7 private Universities. For triangulation purposes, the study utilized a mixed method approach. Findings reveal that the number of male graduates from public Universities more than doubles that of females in the same University category (68.9% male to 31.1% female. However, female graduates from private universities outnumbered that of males but with a small margin (53.8% female to 46.25 male). Findings also reveal that in terms of disciplines, the percentages of male graduates outnumbered that of females with high margins in STEM disciplines while females outnumbered males in non-STEM disciplines. This study also found out that access to University education was influenced by many factors that affected male and female students differently. Such factors included: early parenthood, loss of parents/guardians, level of performance in College entrance exams, family responsibilities, and availability of gender–based counseling services at colleges or lack thereof. Other factors included gender stereotype, combining work and studies and financial constraints.
Key words: Gender, access, enrollment, higher education, graduation rates.