ASSESSING THE EFFECTIVENESS OF STUDENT RETENTION STRATEGIES AT ZIMBABWE OPEN UNIVERSITY
Keywords:Student retention, Student retention strategies, Open University
The study aimed at assessing the effectiveness of the student retention strategies at the Zimbabwe Open University. It utilised the qualitative approach to collect and analyse data. The data was collected through interviews. The study sample comprised of sixteen participants, eight staff members and eight students. These were selected through purposive sampling since the study was qualitative. The findings show that ZOU had very lucrative strategies to manage student retention. Among them were management and leadership styles, peer teaching, mentoring and collaboration, orientation, and student-centred active learning. It also noted that ZOU had challenges in student retention which included resources, social influences, soft skills and teaching methods. The study concluded challenges faced by students were basically situational not institute based. Teaching methods like peer tutoring and collaboration were important as they created a conducive environment for learning. The study recommended that ZOU continuously trains its front desk employees and equip them with correct information. It was also recommended that the students be made aware of the learning styles in an ODL setup before taking up the studies.
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