Study reveals alarming dropout rates at tertiary institutions
By Celeste Ganga
31 January 2008
According to a recent study conducted by the Human Science Research Council using approximately 34 000 students, 20 000 of them dropped out of their courses, with only 14 000 graduating.
The study showed that in some cases only 15% of students starting a course actually complete it, an alarming number that has driven universities such as TSIBA in the Western Cape to investigate the reasons for students leaving and possible solutions to increase the number of students completing their studies.
Socio-economic circumstances were revealed by the study as a reason for students dropping out, irrespective of the burden of study fees.
“Whilst we run an institution for students at no cost to them, our drop-out rates are similar to the national norm. A reason that is often given by our students is that they should rather be getting a job and earning an income for their families instead of studying for four years,” says Managing Director of TSIBA, Leigh Meinert.
The survey revealed that most leavers left at the end of their first year or midway through their second year. Lack of finance emerged from the data as the major obstacle for completion of studies, particularly amongst students where the household income ranges between R400 and R1600.