|University of Fort hare
|Retention programmes – mplementation – universities.; orientation – supplemental instruction – tracking.; monitoring – tutoring – counselling.
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Using Tinto‟s (1993) interactionalist theory of student retention and Beatty Guenter‟s (1994) students retention strategy as guiding lenses, this study investigated the implementation of five student retention programmes in two universities in South Africa. Specifically the study sought to interrogate a) the mechanisms used to select students and peer facilitators who participate in each of the programmes, b) the delivery strategies that are in place and c) the programme monitoring and/or evaluation mechanisms in place to ensure that programme goals are achieved. The study adopted a concurrent mixed design embedded in the post positivist paradigm. The study revealed minimal student participation in all programmes, including those that were compulsory, owing to inconsistent enforcement of policies, stigmatisation, and poor perceptions about these programmes. In addition, the study found challenges in selection, support and monitoring of peer facilitators in almost all the programmes. This was linked to limited qualified staff, high dependence on borrowed delivery models and poor co-ordination among stakeholders. The study through a proposed Comprehensive Model for Student Retention, suggested collaborated and intensive and ongoing training of all facilitators in functional literacies, basic counselling and handling diversity, as well as co-ordinated selection and monitoring of the five programmes.