This study focused on how accessibility to secondary schools in the Mukono District of Uganda is related to the sex and gender of the student and the distance that separates the student's home from the school they attend. This research is methodological inquiry exploring the use of spatial analysis, specifically how cognitive and metric distances can be used as alternatives to gross enrollment rates (GER) and net enrollment rates (NER) for assessing gender equality in realized accessibility to secondary schools. Student home locations were collected for 756 secondary students, including 437 boarding students and 319 day students from 8 different secondary schools in Mukono District of Uganda. A school accessibility model is presented that suggests that educational policy and delivery efforts to provide school access are mediated by the distances, real and perceived, between students' home locations and available schools. In addition, the relationship between distance and accessibility is moderated by certain characteristics of the schools and the students. Male boarding students were found to travel significantly further than female boarding students indicating that distance more acutely limits their school choices. However, the Ordinal Linear Regression analyses comparing cognitive distance perception with Euclidean, travel and time distances did not find evidence that male and female students perceive the distances they travel to school differently. These findings suggest that building additional quality government schools in urban areas would be an efficient strategy for improving school accessibility in Uganda in general. However, given the particularly restrictive range of travel of many rural female students, additional female-only schools in rural areas would be needed to improve school accessibility for female students living in rural areas.



College and Department

David O. McKay School of Education; Educational Leadership and Foundations



Date Submitted


Document Type





education, school access, gender, equality, Geographic Information Systems, GIS, distance, spatial analysis, Education for All, EFA, Uganda, Africa