The Academic Persistence of Firstâ€‘Year Firstâ€‘Generation African Students (FYFGAS): A Framework for Higher Education in South Africa
AbstractSince the dawn of democracy, South African universities have seen increased access to higher education from African students, the majority being first-generation students (FGS). This increase to access came with challenges of retention and throughput amongst first-year first-generation African students(FYFGAS). Despite these challenges, there have also been FYFGAS who have successfully passed their first year and completed their qualifications. This article used a mixed method approach with a sample of 311 FYFGAS who were registered in a standard first-year course in three faculties at auniversity in Gauteng. Quantitative data were collected through a questionnaire and qualitative data were collected from individual semi-structured interviews. Analyses included the use of StructuralEquation Modelling which provided interesting insights into the inter-relations between various factors.Â Findings from the data analyses were used to create a framework of persistence for FYFGAS in higher education. The framework focuses on the resilience factors of first-year students and the role of the institution in ensuring that these students are successful. It also provides a guide for institutional interventions aimed at improving the persistence of FYFGAS.
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