n South African Journal of Higher Education - Towards a conceptual framework for understanding student dropout from HEIs

Volume 27, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1011-3487



Higher education institutions (HEIs) within South Africa, in particular, have experienced a high rate of student dropout within undergraduate programmes. Reasons for such a high dropout rate, as contained in the extant literature suggest that the majority of students drop out because of biographical and financial reasons. The international literature suggests that student dropout is located within the discourse of students' experience of higher education. This article reports on an institutional study on student dropout at a South African HEI with a view to exploring, through a fine-grained analysis, the issues that researchers need to conceptualise when researching student dropout. Through the analysis of data generated by the mixed methods approach, the article presents a conceptual framework for exploring personal, biographical and institutional issues impacting on student dropout. Through this framework, new insights on this phenomenon are illuminated and one such illumination relating to insidious institutional violence is presented.

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