Transition from high school to university : perspectives of first year students at the University of Zimbabwe College of Health Sciences

Chidzonga, Midion Mapfumo (2014-12)

Thesis (MPhil)--Stellenbosch University, 2014.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Introduction: Literature shows that the transition from high school to university is fraught with challenges and that there is need to appreciate these challenges from the students’ perspectives and devise ways of assisting the students navigate them smoothly. - Aim: To explore the perspectives of first year students at the University of Zimbabwe, College of Health Sciences (UZCHS) regarding their transition from high school to the UZCHS and propose possible ways to manage the transition phase based on the students’ perspectives. - Objectives : The objectives of this study were to determine the students’ perspectives with regards to various factors that are known to affect the transition from high school to university. - Design: An evaluative research study design was adopted using a mixed method research approach sequentially applying a quantitative and qualitative method. - Method: Four hundred and eighty six (486) self-administered survey questionnaires with 23 closeended questions were distributed to all first year students in the UZCHS. Only 16 questions were analysed for purposes of this research project. A total of 49 interviews were conducted for the in-depth structured questions interview on a randomly selected group of students from each of the programmes. - Results : The response rate was 51% (246/486) ; 81.4% of students were in the 19 to 20 years age group; 52% males and 48% females; 44.4% of the students were enrolled in the MBChB programme. The major challenges faced by the students were the heavy workload; poor counselling services; sticking to timetables; using the library; poor teacher-student relationships; poor sense of belonging; living with a diverse population Frustrations at the UZCHS were identified as arising from academic issues: examinations marks; poor facilities; inadequate high school preparation for university grades and poor feedback. Students’ financing at university was also of concern to the students. The students found the orientation week most useful. The motivation for joining the UZCHS was for career prospects, personal desires and parental influence. Preparatory information given by the UZCHS was considered adequate but not sufficiently detailed. Factors that helped students settle in were the initial reception, orientation week, and the relationships between students, staff and lecturers. The role of parents, peers and friends in settling in was also highlighted as important. - Conclusions : The students’ perspectives on transition are similar to those reported in the literature:need for pre-university information, better accommodation, improved library facilities, improved counselling services, lengthening the orientation week, more detailed information about UZCHS before admission, improve pre-university contact with students ,reduced workload in order to accommodate extra-curricular social life. Students’ preparation for life and learning at university should start during high school.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Inleiding: Uit die literatuur is ditbaieduidelikdat die oorgang van studentevanaf die skoolnauniversiteitbaieuitdagend is. Daar is derhalwe ‘n behoeftedathierdieuitdagingsvanuit die perspektiewe van die studentebeskou word in ‘n poging om hulle op die meeseffektiewemanierteondersteunentebegelei. - Doelstelling: Die doel van hierdie studie is om die perspektiewe van eerstejaarstudente aan die Universiteit van Zimbabwe se Fakulteit Gesondheidswetenskappe (UZCHS) te ondersoek wat betref die oorgang van hoërskool na die UZCHS, en wyses voor te stel om die oorgangsfase te bestuur, gebaseer op die studente se perspektiewe. - Doelwit: Die doelwitte van hierdie studie was om te bepaal wat die studente se perspektiewe was oor die verskeie welbekende problematiese faktore teenwoordig in die oorgang van skool na universiteit. - Ontwerp: ʼn Evaluerende navorsingsontwerp is onderneem deur ʼn gemengde navorsingsmetode te volg. Dit is opeenvolgend deur ʼn kwantitatiewe en kwalitatiewe metode toegepas. - Metode: ʼn Self-administrerende vraelysopname met 23 geslote vrae is ewekansig toegepas en versprei aan vierhonderd ses- en tagtig (486) studente van die UZCHS. Slegs 16 vrae is vir die doeleindes van hierdie studie geanaliseer. ʼn Onderhoud met in-diepte gestruktureerde vrae is ook gevoer met ʼn ewekansig geselekteerde groep studente (49) van elk van die programme wat aangebied word by die UZCHS. - Resultate: Die responskoers was 51% (246/486); 81.4% van die studente was in die ouderdomsgroep 19 tot 20 jaar; 52% was manlik en 48% vroulik; 44.4% van die studente was geregistreer vir die MBChB program. Die uitdagings deur die studente ervaar was onder andere die swaar werklading, swak studente-ondersteuningsdienste, om by te bly by die rooster, die gebruik van die biblioteek, swak dosent-student verhouding, ʼn swak gevoel van behoort aan, en om deel te wees van ʼn diverse samelewing. Frustrasies by die UZCHS het hul oorsprong gehad by akademiese kwessies: eksamenpunte; uitslae en swak terugvoering. Studente-finansiering aan die universiteit was ook ʼn bron van kommer by studente. Studente het die oriëntasieweek die nuttigste gevind. Die motivering om aan te sluit by die UZCHS het verband gehou met loopbaanvooruitsigte, persoonlike behoeftes en ouer-invloed. Voorbereidende inligting verskaf deur die UZCHS is beskou is voldoende maar sonder genoeg besonderhede. Faktore wat studente gehelp het om tuis te voel was die aanvanklike ontvangs, oriëntasieweek, en die verhoudings tussen studente, personeel en lektore. Die rol van ouers, portuurgroep en vriende om hulle te laat tuis voel, is aangedui as belangrik. - Gevolgtrekkings: Die studente se perspektiewe op oorgang is soortgelyk aan dié wat in die literatuur gerapporteer word. Daar is ʼn behoefte aan beter studentebehuising en biblioteekfasiliteite en studente-ondersteuningsdienste, en meer gedetailleerde informasie oor die UZCHS voor toelating. Studente glo ook dat die oriëntasie week verleng moet word en dat die werklading verminder moet word om hul buitemuurse sosiale lewe te akkommodeer. Studente se voorbereiding vir die studentelewe en universiteitstudies behoort reeds op hoërskool te begin.

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