Exploring the State of Diversity as an Opportunity to Strengthen Student Tutoring in Institutions of Higher Learning: The Case of Two Higher Education Institutions in South Africa

S. M Kang’ethe, Patricia Muhuro


While student diversity is a common phenomenon in contemporary higher education, there seems to be no consensus among scholars as to whether diversity is valuable or worthless to student learning. Using tutorial programme as one example of academic support strategy where student diversity prominently features, the study explored the importance of diversity in enhancing student learning in higher education. The study employed a case study of two universities in South Africa, one being a traditional university while the other was a comprehensive university. Participants for the study consisted of 24 purposively selected trained tutors who took part in focus group discussions and 6 tutor trainers who responded to in-depth interviews. Document analysis was used to corroborate findings from the focus group discussions and interviews. The study came with the following findings presented by diversity: It allowed for the development of active thinking skills among the students; made tutorials ineffective as different students wanted their cultural diversity to be addressed; made age to negatively undermine the role of the tutors, and also affected the attendance of the tutees; made diverse cultures influence student learning. The researchers recommend diverse classroom diversity awareness sessions.

DOI: 10.5901/mjss.2014.v5n15p241

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This work is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences ISSN 2039-9340(Print) ISSN 2039-2117(Online)

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