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Research Reveals Lack of Attention to Students’ Needs Is Fuelling University Dropouts

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Academic performance and programme satisfaction are the most important reasons students drop out of higher education, new research conducted by a GBSB Global Business School management member reveals.

Hind Naaman of the department of Education Management at GBSB Global researched the topic of higher education dropout and studied over 200 pupils at two Catalan-based public universities, and developed a five-dimensional ‘Dropout Wheel’ to project why students choose to discontinue their university education. 

Students were observed to develop more serious and frequent thoughts of dropping out as they progressed in their degrees, with many beginning to feel unprepared to start a professional career. These feelings demotivate students in their studies and encourage a dropout mentality.

Weak support structures and poor complaint resolution procedures only increase the likelihood of students leaving university without completing their courses. ‘It shows a lack of attention to students’ needs and weakens their feeling of belonging to the institution,’ says Naaman. 

‘There must be a positive relationship between organisation and individual to create a sort of institutional satisfaction that can lead to perseverance in studies, a sense of belonging in students, and a decrease in dropout chances.’ 

The results of Naaman’s study, published in The European Educational Researcher, are invaluable to universities trying to improve student retention, mainly since the commitments in the Europe 2020 commission.

By understanding why students drop out of education, universities can introduce relevant strategies to encourage students to stay on to course completion or redirect them to transfer to other institutions where they can continue their learning.

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