Challenges of First-Year Extended Curriculum Programme Students at a University in South Africa


  • Funmilola Kemi Megbowon
  • Makhetha-Kosi Palesa
  • Kavi Bongiwe
  • Mayekiso Sipokazi


Extended Curriculum Programme; Foundation; Higher Education; Teaching and Learning; Challenges


The Extended Curriculum Programme (ECP) is an academic foundation programme established and supported by South Africa’s Department of Higher Education and Training as a route and an enabling environment for educationally disadvantaged, underprepared, unprepared, and at-risk students to access and succeed in higher education. However, beyond the academic concerns for students enrolled on this programme, there are social issues that could hinder the success of the enrolled students. This study examines the challenges of students enrolled in Extended Curriculum Programme in a selected university in South Africa. Using a qualitative research method, data was collected following a focus group discussion comprising twelve groups in the Faculty of Management and Commerce ECP first-year students. This study found that students face a number of challenges including information asymmetry, mismatch between high school subjects and university courses, transitioning from high school to university setting, inadequate and unequal academic support, and stigmatization. The findings imply a need for guidance and counselling in the choice of a future career at high school level, an awareness about ECP, and strengthened support beyond academic support by improving social integration and boosting ECP students’ self-confidence. Government and institutions need to introduce educational anti-stigma interventions to correct individuals’ and society’s misinformed perceptions about ECP programmes and to promote awareness about the potential and possibilities of the programme.


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