A large number of South African students are disadvantaged by their education system, with thousands either denied access to tertiary education or struggling to graduate.
The Monash South Africa Foundation Program, a pathway program into undergraduate studies, was formed with the intention of providing an alternative route to Monash University for those students who had not met the minimum degree entry requirements.
Deborah Lees, Head of Monash South Africa Foundation Program, said the program prepared students for the pace and depth of university study as well as the social transition into higher education.
“The Monash South Africa Foundation Program provides an enabling, relevant and challenging curriculum to which students respond well. But it is not only academic competence that needed to be addressed by the program,” Mrs Lees said.
“The current system isn’t preparing students properly for the challenges of university, so students are entering disadvantaged. The psychological aspects of transitioning into higher education, both academically and socially, are major indicators of a student’s success.”
The program has grown rapidly since 2002, from 43 students to more than 500, and it has had to evolve to ensure students are effectively prepared for undergraduate study.
“One measure of the success of the program is that 80 to 85 per cent of students progress into first-year university’ Mrs Lees said.
Students taking part in the program are supported by a full-time teacher and student support officer, a tutor-mentor program and tailored Mathematics and Accounting interventions. Student tutor-mentors guide their peers and help them make an easy transition into student life. Such assistance includes academic as well as emotional and social support.
“The tutor-mentor program has enjoyed much success since its inception in 2003 and has become an essential part of the quality teaching and learning cycle on this campus,” Mrs Lees said.
“Arguably, the most rewarding experience for staff in the MSAFP is to bear testimony to the growing number of former program students who have been provided with a solid foundation and go on to successfully complete undergraduate studies at Monash South Africa.”
For more information and the Monash South Africa Foundation Programme please visit http://www.monash.ac.za/