In a proactive effort to curb the dropout rate at first year university level, the Discipline of Public Governance in the School of Management, Information Technology and Governance has initiated a Mentorship Programme aimed at promoting academic success to its students.
The Programme is championed by Developmental Lecturer, Mr Jabulani Nyawo, and Academic Development Officer, Ms Jennifer Nxumalo, under the guidance of Academic Leader for Public Governance, Dr Fayth Ruffin.
The Programme enables third-year and honours students to provide first year colleagues with the academic, emotional and social support needed to make a successful transition from high school to tertiary education.
‘A lot of students struggle with the volume of work involved in their first year because it is so different from the work they are used to at school. While tutorship is available for students, they need a more holistic initiative such as this mentorship programme as it will look at all aspects of their development and help them successfully bridge the gap between high school and university,’ said Nyawo.
Nxumalo said the aim of offering the support structure to students is to ensure they don’t miss out on the opportunities available because of poor academic performance.
‘Students who excel in their studies can take advantage of funding opportunities as they can apply for bursaries and scholarships. This is something we want to encourage students to think about from an early stage so that they are aware that in order for them to reap these benefits they have to work hard,’ said Nxumalo.
Ruffin commended Nyawo and Nxumalo for their efforts to help improve academic monitoring and support in the Discipline.
‘We already have 50 students who have signed up and are being allocated mentors. We were targeting first years but will not turn away any students seeking mentorship. I really want to congratulate Jabulani and Jennifer for doing such a wonderful job and I would like to recognise them with the prayer that they will continue to perform well among all the other projects they are working on, including their respective doctoral thesis and full research masters dissertation,’ said Ruffin.
‘Both Jabulani and Jennifer graduated from our undergraduate and honours programmes. Their role in the mentorship programme as well as participation of the mentors and mentees, will help us “grow our own timber” for the benefit of UKZN, South Africa, and beyond.’