The Fourth Pan-Commonwealth Forum on Open Learning (PCF4)
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Walter Sukati

The Role of Distance Education in Gender Equality and in Empowering Women- A Case Study of the Institute of Distance Education

Walter Sukati
Institute of Distance Education, University of Swaziland

Esampally Chandraiah
Institute of Distance Education, University of Swaziland

Nokuthula Vilakati
Institute of Distance Education, University of Swaziland

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     Last modified: August 4, 2006
     Presentation date: 11/01/2006 10:00 AM in NT Portland A
     (View Schedule)

The third Millennium Development Goal: ‘Promote Gender Equality and Empower Women,’ calls for the elimination of gender disparity in primary and secondary education, preferably by 2005 and at all levels of education by 2015. In the light of this goal, this paper recognises that University education in Swaziland is facing unprecedented challenges, which are especially related to low funding and in turn translated into inaccessibility of higher education to the majority of Swazi men and women, low quality educational programmes and marginalization. Distance education is now offered as an alternative to conventional university education to address these concerns.

This paper focuses on the Millennium Development Goal on gender parity and gender equality in education as the Human Development Report for 1995 declares that ‘If human development is not engendered, it is endangered.’ The paper sets out to critically examine the university distance education reform in relation to the complex and multidimensional concept of gender. The Institute of Distance Education at the University of Swaziland will be used as a case study to make an analysis of whether or not the introduction of Distance Education at the University has increased access to university education to both men and particularly women. Gender patterns will be assessed to draw conclusions and make recommendations.

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