Fixing schools is the real struggle - study shows shockingly low university graduation at only 4%

03 October 2016 - 09:41 By Penwell Dlamini
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A study following 100 students from matric has revealed that only four of 100 sampled students finished their degree within six years.

A 122-page research paper written by a group of researchers Van Broekhuizen‚ Van der Berg and Hofmeyr reveals how few students made it through university.

Titled 'Higher Education Access and Outcomes for the 2008 Matric Cohort'‚ researchers used matric data from 2008 and followed these students using their ID number into the higher education system‚ where they used information from Higher Education Management Information Systems.

Researchers made this discovery this year‚ when they looked at 100 pupils that started school:

- Only 12 attended a university; - Of these 12‚ nine accessed university immediately and three at a later stage; - Of the 100‚ six got “some kind of qualification” within six years; and - Only four were able to get a degree within six years.

The report also revealed that matriculants who attend schools which charge fees were four times more likely to access university than those from the poorest 60% of schools‚ all of which are no-fee schools.

However‚ researchers were encouraged that of those students from the no-fee schools who finished matric with university qualifying results‚ about 63% to 68% accessed university‚ compared to the 70% from the fee paying schools.

In the context of the #FeesMustFall campaign which has gripped universities across the county‚ researchers said the paper pointed to the fact that unequal access to university is rooted in a highly unequal schooling system where access to high quality education depends on the family’s ability to pay school fees.

“If one looks at the cumulative matric average achievement by race‚ one still finds enormous differentials. While 60% of white matric students achieved 60% or more in matric‚ only 5% of black African matrics score at or above 60%‚” researchers said.

The paper also included a paper presented by Professor Servaas van der Berg which he gave at Stellenbosch University. Van der Berg’s attempted to estimate who actually makes it to university and where they come from in the income distribution.

According to these estimates‚ the research showed‚ there are more students attending university from the richest 10% of the income distribution than from the poorest 80% of the income distribution.

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