|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.