Narratives of educational and psychosocial support amongst black African male students at a historically white university

Saunderson, Claudia Priscilla (2019-12)

Thesis (PhD)--Stellenbosch University, 2019.

Thesis

ENGLISH SUMMARY : The democratic elections in 1994 marked the formal end of apartheid in SA. As part of the action to address the inequalities of the apartheid era, the government compiled a National Plan of Higher Education (NPHE). One of the goals of this plan is: “The promotion of equity of access”. The result of this is that a growing number of students entering universities come from previously disadvantaged backgrounds and sometimes with numerous challenges. Within the South African context, this is especially the reality of Black students entering HWIs. Literature suggest that it is especially black male students that are more likely than any other group to drop out, to underperform or disengage academically. Furthermore, Black male students at HWIs often feel unwelcome and often experience a lack of support and understanding. Therefore, the primary aim of the study was to do an in-depth exploration of Black African male students’ everyday experiences at an HWI and furthermore explore what they and the university may do to enhance their educational and psychosocial experiences on campus. As the theoretical base of this study, critical race theory (CRT) as an overarching theory at a macro level as well as defining properties of micro-aggression theory (MAT) and co-cultural theory (CCT) on micro level, were utilized. Within a social constructivist paradigm, a qualitative research approach was adopted and a case study, as a research design, was most suitable for this study. Through focus group sessions as well as individual interviews, 20 Black African male students were able to share their educational and psychosocial experiences as well as their support needs. The findings of the study demonstrate how race and gender-based treatments like micro-aggressions that include negative stereotyping, criminalization, racial profiling and the questioning of their intellectual abilities impede participant’s ability to thrive at the institution. However, participants also shared positive comments about their experiences and perspectives about the institution. Positive aspects that participants mentioned about the institution include, funding opportunities, well-aligned administration processes, quality of education, supportive lecturers and they refer to the institution as a top-class university. The implication of the study is that transformation within the HE sector necessitates that aspects that are hidden in institutional culture and environment that function as barriers to transformation, needs to be explored and illuminated within a social justice framework, as proposed by CRT. A social justice stance is guided by the belief that all students are equal and entitled to appropriate, equitable, and culturally and racially responsive education and support.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING : Die demokratiese verkiesing in 1994 was die formele beëindiging van apartheid in SA. As deel van die aksie om die ongelykhede in die apartheidsera aan te spreek, het die regering 'n NPHE (Nasionale Plan vir Hoër Onderwys) saamgestel. Een van die doelstellings van hierdie plan is: 'Die bevordering van billikheid van toegang'. Die resultaat hiervan is dat 'n groeiende aantal studente wat universiteite betree, uit voorheen benadeelde agtergronde kom en soms met talle uitdagings. Binne die Suid-Afrikaanse konteks is dit veral die werklikheid van Swart studente wat histories wit universiteite betree. Literatuur suggereer verder, dat dit veral Swart manlike studente is wat waarskynliker is as enige ander groep om akademies te onderpresteer of te ontkoppel. Verder voel Swart manlike studente aan histories wit universiteite dikwels onwelkom en ervaar hulle dikwels 'n gebrek aan ondersteuning en begrip. Daarom was die primêre doel van die studie om 'n diepgaande verkenning van Swart manlike studente se alledaagse ervarings op 'n spesifieke histories wit universiteit te doen en verder ondersoek in te stel wat hulle en die universiteit kan doen om hul opvoedkundige en psigososiale ervarings op die kampus te verbeter. As teoretiese basis van hierdie studie is kritiese rasteorie as 'n oorkoepelende teorie op makrovlak sowel as mikro-aggressie-teorie en ko-kulturele teorie op mikro-vlak toegepas. Binne 'n sosiaal-konstruktivistiese paradigma is 'n kwalitatiewe navorsingsbenadering toegepas en 'n gevallestudie, as navorsingsontwerp, die geskikste vir hierdie studie. Deur middel van fokusgroepsessies sowel as individuele onderhoude kon 20 Swart manlike studente hul opvoedkundige en psigososiale ervarings en hul ondersteuningsbehoeftes deel. Uit die studie is bevind dat ras- en geslagsgebaseerde behandelings soos mikro-aggressies, wat negatiewe stereotipering, kriminalisering, rasprofielering en die bevraagtekening van hul intellektuele vermoëns insluit, die deelnemer se vermoë om by die instelling te floreer, belemmer. Deelnemers het egter ook positiewe opmerkings oor hul ervarings en perspektiewe oor die universiteit gedeel. Positiewe aspekte wat deelnemers oor die universiteit genoem het, sluit in finansieringsgeleenthede, goedbelynde administrasieprosesse en gehalte van onderrig. Deelnemers het ook in n positiewe lug verwys na sekere dosente wat ondersteunend is hulle het na die universiteit verwys as n topklas universiteit. Die implikasie van die studie is dat transformasie binne die HO-sektor noodsaak dat aspekte wat dalk mag weggesteek is in die institusionele kultuur en omgewing wat funksioneer as hindernisse tot transformasie, ondersoek moet word binne 'n raamwerk van maatskaplike en sosiale geregtigheid. Sosiale geregtigheid word gelei deur die oortuiging dat alle studente gelyk is en geregtig is op toepaslike, billike en kultureel en ras-responsiewe onderrig en ondersteuning.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/107139
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