The Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC)

Visit South Africa's official Covid-19 resource portal
2272  Large

Student attrition has been a perennial theme in South African higher education throughout the past decade. In its National Plan for Higher Education (2001), the Department of Education attributed high dropout rates primarily to financial and/or academic exclusions. Four years later, it reported that 30% of students dropped out in their first year of study and a further 20% during their second and third years.

Against this backdrop, the erstwhile research programme on Human Resources Development initiated a research project to investigate more thoroughly why students dropped out, what led them to persist in higher education to graduation, and what made for a successful transition to the labour market. The chapters in this volume variously address these issues in relation to one or more of seven institutional case studies conducted in 2005.

Although the data analysed pertain to the 2002 cohort of graduating/non-completing students and to institutional data for 2004/5, their currency is confirmed by the recent interest expressed by the new Ministry of Higher Education and Training in exploring ways for continuously improving the access and success, particularly of black students, at all levels of the system (Budget Speech, Minister of Higher Education and Training, June 2009).

The HSRC research programme on Education, Science and Skills Development spans three major social domains: education; science and innovation studies; and the world of work. The education domain focuses on issues of access, quality, relevance and equity at the primary, secondary and tertiary levels. Science and innovation studies explores the link between technology, innovation, and economic development. The world of work researches labour markets, skills, and human resources development. The strength of the programme resides, however, in its unique ability to harness research work at the interface of these three domains.

Product information

Format : 240mm x 168mm (Soft Cover)
Pages : 144
ISBN 10 : 0-7969-2309-4
ISBN 13 : 978-07969-2309-7
Publish Year : 2009
Rights : World Rights

Acronyms and abbreviations

Michael Cosser and Moeketsi Letseka
Background to the Student Retention and Graduate Destination Study
Organisation of the monograph

1 Uniformity and disjunction in the school-to-higher-education transition
Michael Cosser
Findings from the Student Retention and Graduate Destination Study
Observations arising from the analysis

2 Poverty, race and student achievement in seven higher education institutions
Moeketsi Letseka, Mignonne Breier and Mariette Visser
South Africa: Two nations
Poverty in the Student Retention and Graduate Destination Study
Race and poverty
The apartheid legacy in education
Reasons for premature departure
Financing studies
The National Student Financial Aid Scheme

3 Student inclusion and exclusion at the University of the Witwatersrand
Gill Scott and Moeketsi Letseka
Racial desegregation
Staff integration
Curriculum integration
Institutional culture integration

4 Dropout or stop out at the University of the Western Cape
Mignonne Breier
An institutional case study
The Student Retention and Graduate Destination Study at UWC

5 Weighing success and diversity in the balance at Stellenbosch University
Trish Gibbon
Measuring success at Stellenbosch University
Success factors
Non-completion at Stellenbosch University
Changing Stellenbosch Universitys diversity profile

6 The graduate labour market
Percy Moleke
Measuring the performance of the South African graduate labour market
Graduate labour market outcomes among the study cohort
Graduate employment

7 Student graduation, labour market destinations and employment earnings
Haroon Bhorat, Natasha Mayet and Mariette Visser
Higher education transition: A descriptive overview
From higher education to the labour market: A snapshot of trends
Graduation, employment and earnings: A multivariate analysis
The determinants of labour market outcomes: Employment and earnings equations

Michael Cosser

Michael Cosser is a chief research specialist in the research programme on Education, Science and Skills Development at the Human Sciences Research Council.

Moeketsi Letseka is a senior lecturer in the Department of Educational Studies at the University of South Africa (UNISA).

Mignonne Breier is Research Development Cluster Manager in the Research Office at the University of Cape Town.

Mariette Visser is a research manager in the research programme on Education, Science and Skills Development at the Human Sciences Research Council.

Share this

You might also consider these related books

2040  Large

Shifting Understandings of Skills in South Africa
Overcoming the historical imprint of a low skills regime

This volume seeks to critically engage with South Africa's current skills development strategy and to analyse the prospects for a successful upskilling of the population. As the first major South African study within the current international debate on high skills, it is an important and original contribution to the international literature, as well as a major addition to the discourse on South African education, training and development. With chapters by leading South African academics, this collection also includes articles by world-recognised experts on skillsformation systems.

Product information

Format : 148mm x 210mm
Pages : 280
ISBN 10 : 0-7969-2044-3
ISBN 13 : 978-07969-2044-7
Publish Year : 2004
Price R 231.00
1923  Large

The Architect and the Scaffold
Evolution and education in South Africa

A collection of papers presented at the Colloquium on Sciences and Evolution in 2001, this volume attempts to answer the moral and ethical, social, religious and educational questions about the teaching of evolutionary theory in schools.

Product information

Format : 168mm x 230mm (Soft Cover)
Pages : 171
ISBN 10 : 0-7969-2003-6
ISBN 13 : 978-07969-2003-4
Publish Year : 2002
Rights : World Rights
Price R 231.00
2057  Large

Technical College Responsiveness
Learner destinations and labour market environments in South Africa

This monograph investigates the responsiveness of technical colleges within the South African Further Education and Training (FET) sector. The report also explores technical and vocational education elsewhere in Africa and abroad. This study will be of interest to all who are involved in the FET sector, whether as policy-makers, practitioners or students.

Product information

Format : 208mm x 276mm
Pages : 120
ISBN 10 : 0-7969-2037-0
ISBN 13 : 978-07969-2037-9
Publish Year : 2003
Price R 195.00
Skills For The Future

Skills for the future
New research perspectives

How do actors in the educational field respond to the changing skills demands of the future? Research teams from the Labour Market Intelligence Partnership (LMIP) undertook a set of experimental and innovative case studies to improve our understanding of how current research intersects with a rapidly changing future.

Product information

Format : 240mm x 168mm (Soft Cover)
Pages : 192
ISBN 13 : 978-0-7969-2436-0
Publish Year : March 2019
Rights : World Rights
Price R 195.00