Empowering disadvantaged students to perform better at a tertiary institution : an assessment

Master Thesis


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University of Cape Town

Over the past decade the racial composition of the student body at University of Cape Town (UCT) has changed to a great extent. More than ever the number of black students seeking tertiary education at UCT has increased. The majority of this student population's academic experience has been in schools run by the former Department of Education and Training (DET). Many of the black students from such disadvantaged educational backgrounds obtain very poor academic results at UCT, even though the institution has put into place empowering mechanisms to address the needs of this specific group of students. The purpose of the study was to assess the structural empowerment mechanisms at UCT, in order to know to what degree UCT has been able to successfully empower its black students to achieve academic success. To achieve this purpose, a framework was adapted for the South African context, which examined four specific areas of concern. They were the institution's belief system, which included its vision, goals and culture; the role structure available to students, from which to learn new skills and become active participants in the institution; the support system, which included both formal and informal systems, with an emphasis on peer-based support; and finally, the leadership at the institution.

Bibliography: leaves 95-99.