n South African Journal of Higher Education - Postgraduate students' experience of poverty and academic success at a university of technology in South Africa




Poverty within a developing context such as South Africa has been deepening, with the pressures of globalisation and neo-liberalism resulting in widening the gap between the rich and the poor. For students from a poor background an opportunity to study at a higher education institution (HEI) is an opportunity to change their economic status at a personal and family level; however, it is difficult for them to achieve this goal when the very economic conditions under which they live have an impact on their ability to succeed academically. This article reports on a study that investigated the poverty under which postgraduate students live, think and learn while studying and how this affects their academic success. Semi-structured individual interviews were conducted with 34 postgraduate students. The main aim of the article is to contribute to an understanding of how funding of academic students by government and HEIs could be utilised to enable their academic success.


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