Examining the impact of the humanities access programme 2001 to 2004 : throughput rates and students' perceptions of the programme.
Tyson, Dean Richard.
MetadataShow full item record
Apartheid education practices have left an indelible mark on Black students in South Africa even after 16 years of democratic rule. For many years tertiary educational institutions have striven to improve throughput and retention rates of Black students who have met the entry requirements for higher education yet seem unable to succeed because of the disadvantaged backgrounds from which they come. Many programmes have been initiated at institutions of higher education throughout South Africa to address this problem; the Humanities Access Programme at the University of KwaZulu-Natal is one of these. This study has investigated the impact of the Humanities Access Programme on the institution, by considering throughput and retention rates, and on the student, through their perceptions of the programme and, by combining the results of these two investigations, has tried to suggest an explanation for the results emerging from the data. A mixed methods research approach was used in this study. Quantitative data was collected to conduct a cohort study of student retention and throughput for students in the programme from 2001 to 2004 and qualitative data from semi-structured interviews with students from this cohort was used to obtain student perceptions. Using Tinto’s Student Integration Model tentative explanations of the throughput and retention results were formulated from the students’ perceptions. This study concluded that students from the Humanities Access Programme outperformed their mainstream counterparts and that students perceived the programme in a positive light and felt that the programme contributed to their success. The social and academic integration to university life that the programme provided appears to be a major contributing factor in these students’ success.