Student Support and Transition Through a Buddy Programme to Foster Social Integration
Keywords:advising, mentoring, buddy system, peer support
The University of Pretoria (UP) began offering formal academic student support in 2011 when the first faculty student advisor (FSA) was appointed. Although many more FSAs were subsequently appointed, assistance to all the students in need of support remained insufficient. However, financial assistance through the collaboration grant received from the Department of Higher Education and Training in 2018 made it possible to explore new areas of support. The UP was able to pilot four innovations due to the availability of additional funds. These included generic workshops across faculties; the creation of a hub in the library, which served as a common contact point for students requiring assistance; the appointment of peer advisors; and a Buddy Programme for first-year students. This article explains the Buddy Programme as perceived by the senior students who mentored the first-year students. The mentors are known as “big buddies”. Our work on this programme is based on Tinto’s (1975) ideas about social integration. The Buddy Programme was introduced to assist first-year students in their transition from school to university life. This paper highlights the challenges that first-year students faced and it explains how the concepts could become institutionalised once university activities have been normalised in the post-pandemic future.
Copyright (c) 2021 Ana Naidoo, Hestie Byles, Sindi Kwenaite
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution Share-alike 4.0 International License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See: The Effect of Open Access).