Student Affairs and Services during Covid‑19 in Africa: Mitigating the Pandemic’s Impact on Student Success
The Covid‑19 pandemic has highlighted the challenges that present obstacles to equitable learning and development in higher education in various parts of the world. African higher education and Student Affairs and Services (SAS) are faced with a set of challenges that are in part related to the resources within the institutions and in part due the sociocultural context into which the institutions are embedded. It is with this background that this study explores the impact of Covid‑19 on SAS in Africa, as part of a wider lens on SAS across the globe.
The study was conducted with an online survey which generated 781 responses of Student Affairs practitioners from across the globe, of which 118 were from the African continent. The data show SAS’s critical role in mediating the various domains within and beyond the higher education institution that impact on student success. The domains that impact on student success include the students’ personal experiences, the public domain, the sociocultural community and familial milieu, and the institutional/SAS domain. Thus, this article discusses SAS’s critical role in mediating the impact of these four domains on the student living and learning experience.
The purpose of this article is to discuss the data and to use the data to gain insights into the way SAS has played a role in mitigating the impacts of Covid‑19 in four domains relevant for student success. Based on our findings, a systemic-contextual model is proposed that illustrates the relevance of four domains that need to synergise for students to be successful. Our data suggests that while SAS and universities do a great deal to support students in their learning, factors in the public domain, factors in the sociocultural community and familial milieu need to be conducive to learning to enable more student success in Africa.
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