Factors influencing the intention of students at a selected TVET college in the Western Cape to complete their National Certificate (Vocational) Business Studies programme
Student dropout, also called ‘early departure’, is a significant problem in South Africa’s post-school education and training (PSET) landscape, specifically in the technical and vocational education and training (TVET) sector. The challenge of student retention and programme completion (the antithesis of dropping out) is equally significant and important to TVET institutions, the state department responsible (Department of Higher Education and Training) and the South African economy. Early departure negatively influences the success rates of educational institutions. It also influences the chances of personal employment and financial well-being of individual students, causing financial ripple effects on society and government. Students’ decisions to remain or leave college or a programme are influenced by a variety of individual and social factors, both internal and external, including people close to the students and the policies, systems and structures within which students interact. These factors also encompass the quality and friendliness of teachers, social interaction with teachers and peers, and the role played by friends in academic achievement. This article reports on a study of student perspectives on the internal and external factors that influence their retention in, and completion of, a TVET college Business Studies National Certificate (Vocational) (NC(V)) programme in the Western Cape, South Africa. An improved understanding of student experiences, intentions, and decision-making processes leading to persistence provides a foundation for improving student retention and programme completion in a TVET environment.
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