Sustaining a tutorship programme at a university of technology: A systems approach


  • Mashango Phillemon Sithole Mangosuthu University of Technology, South Africa
  • Phiwayinkosi Richmond Gumede Mangosuthu University of Technology, South Africa



Tutorship, Systems approach and tutorship, Tutorship programme and sustainability, Student development, Sustainability in higher education


The role of tutorship programmes at universities is well documented. Given the continual challenges faced by universities such as low pass rates, low retention rates, low graduation rates, under-preparedness of first-year students, low throughput rates, and at-risk students, tutorship programmes have become an indispensable part of teaching and learning at universities. Tutorship programmes are one of the key interventions put in place by universities to ameliorate these challenges as part of student support and development mechanisms. It is said that a positive correlation exists between tutorship and improved student academic performance. Additionally, tutorship programmes are beneficial for tutors as well, as they develop critical skills throughout the programme. As such, it is befitting to reflect critically on the sustainability of the tutorship programme as a tool for student development (both the tutor and the student). This paper adopts a systems approach to reflect on the question of how to sustain a tutorship programme at a university of technology. A systems approach is a management technique used for examining all critical areas of an organisation. Within the context of higher education, it makes it possible to analyse teaching and learning enterprise and enable an appropriate analysis of the critical areas of the tutorship programme. A systems approach is adopted in this paper to demonstrate the holistic functioning of the tutorship programme, its tenets, as well as the factors that affect its sustainability. To understand the sustainability of tutorship, it is not enough to view it merely as a product of teaching and learning and the responsibility of academic departments and lecturers: rather, tutorship should be seen as an integral part of a university system, a more complex phenomenon than a mere sum of its constituent tenets, because the interrelationship between parts of the university plays a critical role for the sustainability of the tutorship programme.


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How to Cite

Sithole, M. P., & Gumede, P. R. (2022). Sustaining a tutorship programme at a university of technology: A systems approach. Perspectives in Education, 40(3), 224-240.