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The Ford Foundation recognized a rapid expansion of the education system at all levels and rededicated itself to this commitment through a global project named ‘Pathways in Higher Education.’ AHEAD received a Planning grant from the Ford Foundation and commissioned seven research teams across East Africa to examine the region’s education pathways with a view to identifying the key constraints that deter female students from accessing and completing higher education. The Pathways Project sought to address the problem of scanty or nonexistent data relevant to the particular problems of rural females and other segments of marginalized university aged populations in East Africa.

The research teams revealed that there were few women interested in pursuing science-related subjects. This was mainly attributed to the stigmatization of female scientists, lack of role models, inadequate teaching staff and methods, lack of self motivation and time for revision, among others.

The findings also pointed to the need for national policies to encourage marginalized societies to send girls to school.

The pathways findings will hopefully be instrumental in setting a precedent for more evidence based research into the barriers to female access and retention in higher education. Despite interventions in introduced by the governments of Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania, more needs to be done to better position females within the education system.