The increase in poor study conditions and service delivery at many universities

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In the last two weeks since my last posting, I have been doing research regarding study conditions and service delivery at various institutions of higher learning. The reason for this being I got to thinking about all the extra hurdles students have to face outside of their academic challenges.

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Let me just start by stating that I in no way wish to name and shame any academic institution in South Africa, or Internationally by writing this post and I am in no way referring to any specific institution. I am just merely stating information I have gathered during my research into the topic.

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I took the time to speak face to face and on-line with various students both locally and internationally and found an amazing trend of similar issues regarding study conditions and service delivery. Some of these issues include:

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1. Classes that are too large for lecturers to give individual students much needed one on one personal guidance, support and attention.

Why this still occurs in modern teaching is a total puzzle. When we do education studies, it is taught that classroom sizes are to be kept small enough so that each student/learner can receive individual attention. Unfortunately in practice/reality this never really happens.

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2. Lack of modernisation in traditional universities as well as on-line universities.

Many universities are still found to be stuck on old, outdated “traditional” methods of tuition as opposed to new methods that have been proven to work. A good example of this is the fact that most universities still make use of traditional written examinations which don’t really test the students abilities or knowledge.

A more modern approach (that has been tried and tested), is to incorporate practical experience and alternative testing methods. Many students get left behind with traditional instruction/testing methods; which comes as no surprise, since these methods do not cater for all the various learning styles.

I will never forget one particular fellow student when I was studying. He was really a brilliant learner that understood all the subject matter very well. So much so, he explained most of it to everyone else in class. Yet come exam time he almost failed. Why? He couldn’t write very fast and could only do about half the written exams in the time given (two hours). This was something I found to be challenging as well, since I too cannot write very fast (unless I want my written work to come out as one big illegible mess).

Why on earth don’t universities let their students type out their examinations? Or better yet, why not replace all written examinations with portfolio type assignments?

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3. Lack of contact, support and service from on-line learning institutions.

Many students had complaints about receiving almost no feedback of any sort regarding their questions/issues. They (students) found that lecturers were mostly unreachable via telephone or e-mail and that on-line systems were “down” most of the time. Another common issue mentioned was that study materials were found to be poorly structured.

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Do any of you out there face any similar issues? Or can you add anything new to the list? It will be very interesting hearing about some of the challenges you all face regarding study conditions and service delivery at the university or learning institution you study at. Or if you wish, even issues you faced in the past when you were a student can be brought up. Please just bear in mind that we are not here to name or shame any institutions! So please don’t refer to your learning institution by name.

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So start commenting and let the discussion begin.


Academics Can Kill Your Sanity 2016

P.S remember to check out some of our other posts such as;

Is the internet making university obsolete?

Study tips 

Questions to ask at university open days

How to curb your homesick blues

Edit 16/02/2018: –

I came across a very interesting piece online today, dealing with the exact issues discussed above! It is interesting to see that even in a first world country like Germany, these issues prevail. Although it is an older article (from 2013), to me it is still relevant. If you wish to read it, just follow this link.

(special thanks to Michael Gardner of for writing his article, “Student Welfare Service warns of poor study conditions”, the link to which I have posted above).

Added note as per 16/02/2018

Recently I have received some feedback from a few university lecturers themselves, regarding the article above. The main consensus is that poor service delivery is born out of the fact that instructors feel overworked. The second reason given is that most lecturers feel grossly underpaid, making it hard for them to give their all. How do you  feel about these statements? In your opinion, do they ring true?


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