Perceptions of disadvantaged rural matriculants regarding factors facilitating and constraining their transition to tertiary education
While education has been recognised as a route out of poverty, for many black South Africans, equality of opportunity and access to quality post-school education are often hampered by lack of resources and the lingering legacy of apartheid. The main focus of this study is on learners’ perceptions in the disadvantaged rural community of Siyabuswa, Mpumalanga regarding tertiary education and factors affecting their pursuit of such an education. A qualitative research design was adopted and data collection occurred through the use of semi-structured interview schedules administered via face-to-face interviews. The analysis of the data took the form of thematic content analysis, and was framed within a discussion of Paulo Freire’s theory of conscientisation. Findings from the research suggest that respondents perceived education to be important. However, linguistic constraints, under-resourced schools, and a lack of career guidance appear to hinder their aspirations to successfully transition from secondary to tertiary education. Facilitating factors included parental expectations, and academic support, while hindering factors included peer pressure, lack of funding, and the inability to apply themselves to their studies. The study has implications for the enhancement of linguistic skills during primary schooling and the provision of career guidance to secondary school learners to help bridge the gap between school and post-school education.