VENUE : Room 126, Curriculum Building, College of Education and External Studies (CEES), Makerere University.
NAME OF CANDIDATE: Mugabo Augustine (2019/HD04/31026U)
TITLE: Student Support Services Management in Masaka City Universal Secondary Education Schools: Implications for Student Retention.
SUPERVISORS: 1. Dr. Ssenkusu Peter
The purpose of this multiple case study was to analyze the way Masaka City USE schools manage Students’ Support Services (SSS) and its implications for student retention. The study was guided by four objectives where first three objectives were to examine the way USE schools manage the guidance and counselling; the co-curricular; and the school feeding services; while the fourth objective was to determine the implication of the way the three SSS are managed for student retention. Management of SSS was benchmarked by Max Weber’s theory of bureaucracy, while student retention was benchmarked by Tinto’s model of student departure. A qualitative approach was adopted, and the pragmatism paradigm provided a basis for the study. The study was conducted in three USE schools in Masaka City, and the respondents included, head teachers, teachers, heads of non-academic Departments, students and dropouts. Data was collected using Key Informant Interviews (KIIs), Nine Focus Group Discussions (FGDs), and Non- obtrusive observation. All respondents were purposively selected. Findings revealed that against all odds, the three schools try their best to provide guidance and counselling, co-curricular, and school feeding services to students. It was also revealed that management of guidance & counselling, co-curricular, and school feeding at the three USE schools was at the bare minimum due to a number of barriers that inhibit effective provision of the three support services. The key barriers identified were structural and logistical in nature. The structural barriers gravitated around the bureaucratic management of the three services that leads to a one size fits all approach to service provision. The logistical barriers were inadequate human, financial, infrastructure and time resources suffered by the three schools. It was also established that the way the three USE schools manage the three support services has far reaching implications for student retention. In keeping with Tinto’s model of student departure, students who are able to cope with the basic provision of the three support services stay in school, while those who cannot cope leave and join other schools or dropout of school completely. The study concluded that the way the three USE schools manage guidance & counselling, co-curricular, and school feeding services leaves a lot to be desired, given the entering behavior of the students that patronize the schools. Secondly, the way the three services are managed largely undermine student retention in the three schools. The study recommends that management at the three USE schools should rethink the one size fits all approach to the provision of student support services and adopt a more customized approach. Secondly, management at the three schools needs to devise innovative ways of mobilizing resources needed to support the provision of adequate services by diversifying their sources of revenue, sensitization of key stakeholders, involving students more in the management of these services, and building capacity to enable staff to provide services more effectively and efficiently.