Pandor concerned by high drop-out rate at SA universities

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Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor responded to two days of criticism from opposition parties saying Democratic Alliance "lives on a planet of its own making" on Wednesday 17 February 2016.

Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor responded to two days of criticism from opposition parties saying Democratic Alliance "lives on a planet of its own making" on Wednesday 17 February 2016.

JOHANNESBURG – Higher Education Minister Naledi Pandor has expressed concerns about the number of drop-outs at universities.

She was responding to a report calling for an urgent need to address the problem at institutions of higher learning.

The report found that engineering students in particular had it the worst, with half of students ditching their studies before completion.

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Pandor says while there has been a slight improvement in the drop-out rate, different methodologies are being used.

“What you do see is there is some improvement but nevertheless, in certain undergraduate programmes, the drop-out rate continues to be very high. I think we need to do a lot of work,” the minister said.

She said her department was in communication with universities to provide adequate support, especially in ensuring relevant foundation and bridging programmes were in place to help students succeed in their undergraduate degrees.

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“I think we also need to be looking far more closely at the postgraduate level because we must have success throughout the programmes within our universities.

“There are fairly worrying levels of failure in non-traditional or critical programmes in the critical skills domain for South Africa, like engineering, medicine and so on… Support must be provided so that young people can succeed [in these fields],” Pandor added.

Academic factors and financial constraints were also identified as some of the biggest issues affecting students.

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