The South African Institute for Advancement has published a comprehensive new report into the key access and success challenges facing public higher education in South Africa.
The report, entitled Student Access and Success: Issues and Interventions in South African Universities identifies a wide range of academic, institutional and socio-cultural issues which conspire to stifle student achievement. Among the more telling factors were the poor academic literacy of most high school learners, and the tendency of educators and administrators to problematize the student instead of looking at institutional or systemic failures.
Its urgency is demonstrated by recent research showing that only 27 percent of South African undergraduates complete their studies in the minimum time, and only about half of those entering university ever graduate. The legacy of apartheid appears to reflect in these statistics, as only about 10 percent of black students even gain access to university, and less than 5 percent succeed in getting a degree.
The report calls for a shift in culture among South African universities and recommended:
- that more institutional focus is put on the improvement of teaching rather than a single-minded focus on research;
- that more research be aimed toward the support of teaching and curriculum development;
- and that the issue of student success at university is framed not as a numerical problem, but that of the needed improvements to teaching and curriculums.
Watch the video of the launch: