Bridging the gap between school and university: a case study of the University of Namibia's Access Programme
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Without neglecting the broader scope of the phenomenon of student access, this study focuses mainly on student academic access. An Access Programme, initiated by the University of Namibia, is used as a case study in order to gain a contextual understanding of such programmes, and to identify and critically analyse both those factors which contribute to its success and those which hinder it. Theoretical perspectives on student access are provided in chapter 1. These shed some light on different notions of access, on the multiplicity of entry paths, on the various forms of access, the targets of access initiatives and the factors driving the need for widening access provision. Attention is also given to access barriers whereby alternative approaches and strategies to illuminate such barriers are provided. Personal interviews, questionnaires, observations and statistical data on student enrollments and end-of-year results, contribute to a triangulation of research methods so that the situation can be viewed from more than one viewpoint by using both quantitative and qualitative data. The study reveals that Access Programmes are increasingly recognized as necessary, and the need for them is likely to increase in future. Findings also reveal consensus on the need for epistemological access which places emphasis on learner success and throughput rates rather than access that is limited to admission and entry. While the study is not an evaluation of the particular Access Programme, the study does contribute to understanding of what makes for an effective Access Programme within the Namibian context and beyond.