Experiences of undergraduate nursing students in an extended curriculum programme at a South African University of Technology
Extended Curriculum Programmes (ECP) were introduced by the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) to increase access and throughput of students entering universities. ECP allows a student to complete a tertiary qualification at least a year after the prescribed period. The Nursing Department at Durban University of Technology commenced the ECP in 2013. This study explored the experiences of students enrolled in the ECP since its inception. Audio-recorded indepth interviews were conducted with thirty-three purposively selected ECP students. The interview data were transcribed and analysed thematically. Findings indicated that the majority of the students felt unhappy with the prolonged period of training and the discrimination that they experienced from mainstream students and some lecturers. However, the majority of students agreed that the academic literacy modules addressed many challenges that they faced with their studies, which included computer and information literacy, English language communication, and critical thinking skills. The students enrolled in the ECP require support to mitigate the problems affecting their throughput rate. The ECP proves to be a successful programme in providing a smooth transition from high school to university and empowers students with the necessary academic literacy skills.
Keywords: Academic success, extended curriculum programme, higher education institution, nursing, under-preparedness
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