Factors contributing toward attrition of engineering students at public vocational colleges in the Western Cape
Currently, there is a high attrition rate amongst students who are registered at public technical and vocational education and training (TVET) colleges in the Western Cape. In this sector, attrition rate has also been referred to as ‘through-put rate’ which both mean that there is a reduction in the number of students completing a programme for a variety of reasons. This study focuses on the reasons why these students are leaving the colleges before completing the programme. Perspectives of students who registered at a technical vocational education and training (TVET) college are analysed. As a result of students dropping out of their studies, emphasis is being placed on what students are experiencing at the TVET colleges, which eventually influences their decision to drop out and become part of the TVET attrition statistics. This study provides information based specifically on the students’ experience in the National Certificate Vocational [NC(V)] civil engineering programme at the TVET college where they were registered. Reasons are provided which will clearly indicate that attrition is not only the result of the students’ inability to cope academically but that student attrition can also be the result of other factors. The topic to be addressed in this study is: Factors contributing toward attrition of engineering students at public vocational colleges in the Western Cape. This study is situated within a critical research paradigm which will allow an analysis of the reasons for attrition in civil engineering programmes at one of the TVET colleges with the ultimate aim of contributing towards social change. This study will apply a qualitative data collection approach and will make use of interviews. This study makes continual reference to the work of Vincent Tinto as he has done much research on the topic of attrition in education.