Student retention and throughput rates are a global phenomenon facing higher education that dates back to the 1960s, and currently remains a critical concern, worldwide. It is a particular concern to stakeholders at tertiary educational institutions, who are continuously concerned about improving the throughput rates of registered students.
The throughput rate at tertiary institutions is defined as the percentage of students who register for a module or course and pass the prescribed examination. It is a predictor of the number of years a student takes to complete the degree/diploma/certificate course for which they are enrolled.
In Africa, there are numerous impediments to the improvement of throughput rates at tertiary institutions. These include broad socio-economic and political issues, sluggish progress in a country's development and the influence of encumbrances such as underdevelopment and poverty, on throughput rates.
Juxtaposed to these impediments are compounding factors such as poor preparation for higher education, lack of commitment among students, unsatisfactory academic experiences, the lack of social integration on campuses, financial and health issues, the lack of support structures, the lack of education among parents and family responsibilities. All of these factors have an impact on low student throughput, often culminating in prolonged study periods or the termination of studies.
These negatives frequently have serious implications for the funding of students' education. Such funding often takes the form of grants allocated, either to institutions or directly to students. In some cases, this funding comes from private donations.
By contrast, Mukhanyo has, in the past few semesters and, despite the impact of the COVID pandemic, achieved an overwhelming throughput rate of around 90%. This has been confirmed across degree/diploma/certificate programmes. What is particularly gratifying is that student performance has been enhanced through Mukhanyo's dedicated teaching and learning support facilities, and the success of the academic and social integration of its students. This has been achieved through the tenacity and dedication of staff and students, in pursuit of Mukhanyo’s goals.
The impressiveness of these achievements, both at the academic, personal and social support services level, augers well – we believe – for the future of its funding support, which Mukhanyo receives both from local and international sources.
We praise God for this phenomenal progress and the tenacity and commitment of all stakeholders to this outstanding achievement.
(written by Prof Patrick Palmer, director on Mukhanyo’s board and chairman of the Education Portfolio committee)