African Students at the University of East London: Issues of Participation and Retention in Higher Education

PhD Thesis

Matsvai, Paul 2009. African Students at the University of East London: Issues of Participation and Retention in Higher Education. PhD Thesis University of East London Cass School of Education and Communities
AuthorsMatsvai, Paul
TypePhD Thesis

Issues of Participation and Retention in Higher Education have become topical themes in higher education provision in the UK primarily driven by an agenda of human capital
development which places a high premium on higher education qualifications to enhance international competitiveness on the global stage. Pursuant of this goal, it has become
imperative to target citizens from lower socio-economic backgrounds and those from ethnic minority groups who have been perceived as being under- represented in higher education.
Given the backdrop that studies of ethnic minority students in the UK higher education system had largely failed to disaggregate the relative higher education experiences of
different ethnic minority students, this study focused on a qualitative analysis of the experiences of thirty university students of African descent enrolled at the University of East London (UEL). The study was conducted between 2005- 2007. Its key concern was to unravel the trajectories characterising the respective experiences of both Home and international students of African descent as higher education provision in the UK is not only concerned about optimising participation of all its citizens but is keenly aware of the benefits accruing from the overseas student market. The principal data collection method used was indepth, semi-structured interviews supplemented by observation, documents analysis and use of selected students' diaries. The main theoretical framework informing the study was Critical Race Theory with its key postulate of racism as being endemic rather than aberrational foregrounding the study. The study found that, notwithstanding the negative impact of racism, higher education qualifications remain an extremely valued conduit for upward social mobility and to that end; quite a wide array of avenues were adopted in the quest to circumvent problems which the students experienced both prior to enrolment and during their respective experiences on campus.

KeywordsParticipation and Retention in Higher Education; Ethnic minority students; University students of African descent
Publication dates
PrintDec 2009
Publication process dates
Deposited07 Oct 2013
Additional information

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