The Challenge of Inequality in University Education: Is the District Quota Scheme Addressing Socio-Economic Disparities in Access to University Education in Uganda?

Godfrey Bagonza, Yuda Taddeo Kaahwa, Nicholas Itaaga


Access to university education is one of the fundamental educational questions in contemporary educational debates. This is because university education is seen as having an array of benefits to individuals, their households, and their nations. However, the challenge of inequality in terms of gender, income, location, and socio-economic status has constrained some individuals and households to access quality university education. In 2005 the government of Uganda introduced the District Quota Scheme to address the social inequalities in accessing university education. This study examined how the District Quota Scheme is addressing the rural-urban divide in access to university; how the District Quota Scheme has increased access to university education for children with parents who have low levels of education; and whether the District Quota Scheme is improving access to university education for children from low-income families. Following the social constructivist research paradigm and integrating both quantitative and qualitative research methods, the study found a change in access to university education by students from rural areas, students whose parents have lower levels of education, and those from low-income families as a result of introducing the District Quota Scheme. The study recommends that the government of Uganda and other stakeholders in the higher education sector should address the structural challenges to ensure that mainly the socially disadvantaged students take the biggest advantage of this scheme. 

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International Journal of Higher Education
ISSN 1927-6044 (Print) ISSN 1927-6052 (Online) Email:

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