AN INVESTIGATION INTO THE STATUS OF SOCIAL CHALLENGES AND ACADEMIC DEFICITS OF THE PARENTING LEARNERS AT TERTIARY INSTITUTIONS
There has been an exponential increase in the number of learners with critical social challenges reported at the Botho University. In most cases, the affected students eventually dropout of the school in order to handle their parenting chores, in case their chores become too pronounced. In this study we investigate two issues - the social challenges faced by the parenting students at higher education and the possible mitigation strategies that can be used by the community and the higher institutions to assist these learners to cope with their studies while taking care of their children.
A qualitative research approach was employed to gather information for the study. Data was collected using a questionnaire amongst students randomly selected from three (3) tertiary institutions in Francistown including; Botho University, Botswana Accountancy College (BAC) and Gaborone Institute of Professional Studies (GIPS), (N=45). Semi-structured interviews were also conducted with the students who reported that they had unplanned pregnancies, lacked financial support and/or experienced educational obstacles on campus to gather and assess their academic situation. The results showed that many parenting students lack sufficient support necessary to help them to complete their studies such as; financial, moral, counselling and academic guidance. Furthermore, this study intends to trigger a couple of follow-up studies aimed at designing effective academic integration models for the parenting learners.
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