n South African Journal of Higher Education - The role of the tutorial system in enabling students' academic success

Volume 29, Issue 4
  • ISSN : 1011-3487



A worrying trend in South Africa has been the high attrition rate for first-time university students. At the University of Johannesburg (UJ), one intervention used to address this low throughput rate is the tutorial system. While it is important to broaden formal access to universities, it is also crucial to provide first-year students with access to the epistemologies of their discipline to ensure their academic success. This can potentially be enabled through the tutorial system. While tutorials are growing in size due to increased numbers, the tutorial still has a role to play in giving students the opportunity to engage with each other and their tutor in a smaller group than that of the lecture. For the tutorial system to enable students' academic success, however, tutors need to support their students not only in their acquisition of the target epistemologies, but also to take cognisance of their students' ontological needs.

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