Why Do Students Drop out of University in South Africa? 6 Answers.

South Africa is a country that loves and encourages education still the country records a high university dropout rate. Though many students enjoy going to the institution, they may be forced to quit their academic pursuits, why?

Dropping out of university or any other high institution is a situation when a student is unable to complete their academic pursuit. This happens either when the student willingly or forcefully gives up on education.

South Africa higher number of students quit their academic pursuits after their first year in school. A 2015 research by Dr. Andre van Zyl covered that 50-60 percent of South African dropouts leave after their first year in high institutions.

The question anyone would want to ask is, “Why do Students Dropout of University in South Africa?”. No one would want to quit after enrolling in the university for fun. There are several reasons someone would take that decision.

1. Finance Problem

University Student
Finance is one of the main reasons students quit studying in higher institutions. Image: Instagram.com, @alabamastudents.

Aside from other necessities to be a successful graduate, money is an important factor. Tuition fees, accommodation fees, acceptance fees, textbooks, projects, feedings, among others are all settled with money. The inability to settle these necessities would be a barrier to good academic performance.

The main reason why many students drop out during their first year of study is because of financial problems

Karen Mac Gregor, 2007.

Many students quit education for other choices of career because of the cost of study. The total cost of studying in a higher institution (university or technikon) is relatively higher than that of high schools. Though this depends on the course of study and the institution.

Most students who enroll in the university are from families with average financial status. Students discover that the money they pay for registering is the same as what they for a whole session in high school, what a shock it becomes!

There is funding in place to aid the student with their university finance. Students can apply for a loan, scholarships, bursary, or NSFAS.

2. School Pressure

Student in University
Students drop out of school after they couldn’t adapt to the new way of life in the university. Image: Instagram.com, @alabamastudents.

Academic pressure is another factor that has discouraged many from continuing with their studies. Many students were unable to graduate from the university after they were faced with pressures they couldn’t adapt to.

Unlike high school, the university is an entirely different community. Students encounter certain discouraging pressures that they end up giving up.

Upon meeting an entirely different scenario, they find it overwhelming and difficult to adapt. Academic pressures students encounter in a course have led many into applying for a change of course.

Since they are not used to the system, the examination process could also be challenging. Most times they have relative time to rest as they even burn midnight candles to either read or complete an assignment or project.

Students who are unable to cope with this newfound pattern or way of study may give up on the course of study or the institution.

3. Social life

University student reading
Freedom to make a decision often leads the students to make the wrong ones. Image: Instagram.com, @universityofpretoria.

High school and the university have different social life styles. In high school, most students come from a home where they live with their parents. Parents cater for other necessities of life including food, shelter, clothing, health, and more.

Parents also fill in the gap to advise their children on steps they find difficult. In the university, the students are on their own, parents’ job is only to provide money. Students are treated like adults and given the freedom to take any decision they could account for.

Unlike in high schools, boarding or day, where the students have limited freedom. The decision they take is limited to the rules of their parents or the school, the chance they’d make an irresponsible decision is thin.

Most students live off-campus or on-campus they are left with fewer rules than high schools and homes. Though they receive orientations to introduce them to the activities of the institution. Most times students focus more on their newfound freedom and put in lesser efforts in their academics.

Most times they end up failing the course and quitting their academic pursuit to avoid exclusions from the university.

4. Learning Pattern

Teacher in university
The learning pattern in university is more advanced when compared to high school. Image: Instagram.com, @alabamastudents.

Upon comparing teaching patterns in high school and university, we could conclude that university lecturing is more advanced. Teachers in high school write on the board and explain in details and breaking down the topic.

In the university, though it is similar, the lecturer gives the student an advanced teaching method. Many students find it difficult to adapt to the new way of learning since they are used to the high school pattern since it is believed that students are matured to know some terminologies.

5. Study Environment

Student having a study
A student having a personal study in the school library. Image: Instagram.com, @universityofpretoria.

The high school has a more strict study environment that puts study consciousness in the students when compared to the universities. 

A register is taken to make sure that students attend classes and are in school. In the university, students are seen as mature enough to make responsible decisions.

Most students miss classes thinking they’ll get a better result having a personal study instead. While some students get a good performance others fail. Though tutorials sessions are now in place to help and guide students in the university.

6. Forced into Selecting a Course

Young student
Parents and guardians forcing their choice of study on a child could make a student drop out of school. Image: Instagram.com, @universityofpretoria

Students also encounter challenges that lead them to abandon a course of study. Most times parents or guardians determine what their children are to study since they pay the fees.

The student who loves arts may end up studying for a degree in medicine and surgery. Upon encountering several challenges the student then believes that he or she can not do it thereby giving up.

Forcing a child into doing a course will make him see the study as a duty, not passion. The student would add additional effort and please the parent and may end up having a poor performance.

Cases have been reported that students returned to school after they graduated with the course they were forced to study. Parents and guardians must guide and help students to discover their passion and not take decisions for them.

The drop-out rate in South Africa continues to increase because of the factors explained above. Parents and guardians could be the reason students give up on education after they make them study what they didn’t want to.

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