Factors that could facilitate a successful transition from high school to post- school education: the case of high school X in Phillipi
This study investigated the factors that could influence Grade 12 learners from low socio-economic backgrounds and their decision-making process with regard to accessing post-school education. The aims of the study were to establish the factors that could facilitate a successful transition from high school to university study, as well as identify the factors that potentially could inhibit the learners’ transition. The objective of the study was to make recommendations, based on the findings of the research data, that could assist the different role players on how best to facilitate, guide and support high school learners’ post-school educational choices. It was proposed that knowledge of the factors that could promote or inhibit the decision-making process of learners would provide valuable insights that could be used to enable more learners to access higher education and, in so doing, increase the participation rates of African and coloured youth at higher education institutions. The student-focused Chapman college-choice model was used as the theoretical framework in order to gain insights into what the factors were that have a significant influence on the choice of learners to pursue studies beyond high school. The study was situated within an interpretative, qualitative research paradigm, using a case study design. The research site was a high school in Phillipi near Cape Town. The research participants consisted of twenty-eight Grade 12 learners who were selected by means of purposive sampling. Three Grade 12 educators also participated in the study. The research instruments included, for the learners, a demographic information sheet, a self-reflective questionnaire and three focus group interviews. Secondary data was included in the discussions. The educators had to complete a self-reflective questionnaire only. Content analysis, using a three-stage open coding process was used to analyse the qualitative data which were organised according to the study’s three sub-questions. The factors discussed in the theoretical framework were used as a guide to group the data into themes and sub-themes. The findings of this study corresponded with the literature reviewed and the factors identified in the theoretical framework, but one finding contradicted the literature, while new factors emerged from the data collected. The findings revealed that there was a greater need of support required from the different role players - family, friends, the community, educators and the school; the Departments of Basic Education and Higher Education; higher education institutions, non-governmental organisations; and companies and other institutions - to ensure that an enabling environment is created to support Grade 12 learners’ transition from high school to university studies. Based on these findings, recommendations were made on how an enabling and supportive environment for Grade 12 learners could be strengthened.