Improving retention and academic achievements of African students in higher education through community development
School of Arts and Humanities
Internationally, higher education stakeholders are constantly looking for ways to improve their students’ retention. Normative approaches, which tend to involve student support services, have been found to do little to retain students, particularly those from low socio-economic status backgrounds. We propose peer-mentoring programs that promote community development as a practical approach to improving student retention. The paper draws on lessons learned from an HEPPP-funded case management and peer-mentorship initiative designed in 2015 to support African domestic students at Edith Cowan University. While the project is on-going, the results achieved so far have shown promise in peer-mentoring programs that heighten students’ networking and integration. The sense of community created through the initiative has inspired the participants, most of who have demonstrated enhanced understanding of academic learning skills, which are expected to translate into their retention and improved academic achievements in the rest of their academic journeys at Edith Cowan University.