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Title: An exploration into students' perceptions regarding dropout within the chiropractic programme at a University of Technology
Authors: Buthelezi, Nqubeko Lizwilenkosi 
Issue Date: 2018
Introduction: Chiropractic is a health profession specialising in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disorders affecting the bones, joints, muscles and nerves in the body. It is a type of alternative or complimentary medicine concerned with the relationship between the body's structure and its functioning. The Durban University of Technology (DUT) and University of Johannesburg are the two internationally accredited academic institutions in South Africa to offer the chiropractic programme. The Chiropractic Department at the DUT is one of 13 departments within the Faculty of Health Sciences. A student who successfully completes the chiropractic-training programme becomes registered as doctor of chiropractic by the Allied Health Professions Council of South Africa under Act 63 of 1982 (as amended). However, a number of students drop out from the chiropractic programme before completion. Some of these students transfer to other programmes; others deregister and leave the university, while others are excluded because of the progression rule or because of having exceeded the maximum duration of the programme.
Aim of the study: The aim of the study was to explore and describe the perceptions of the students regarding dropping out from the chiropractic programme at the DUT. The study aimed to answer three research questions, which were: 1) what are the perceptions of students regarding dropout from the chiropractic programme at the DUT? 2) what are the determinants of student dropout from the chiropractic programme at the DUT? and 3) how can the dropout rate in the chiropractic programme at the DUT be minimised?
Methodology: A qualitative, explorative, descriptive and contextual design was employed. The DUT was used as a data collection site. Data was collected between May and June 2018 using one-on-one semi structured interviews with 12 former students who were previously registered for the chiropractic programme and dropped out before completion. Tesch’s eight steps of data analysis guided thematic data analysis.

Findings: The students’ perceptions regarding dropout from the chiropractic programme were grouped into five major themes and several subthemes. The major themes included financial constraints, post course employment, personal, course related and socio- cultural factors. All these themes were, according to the participants, determinants of student dropout from the chiropractic programme. Recommendation from the study findings focused on how the dropout rate in the chiropractic programme could be minimised.
Conclusion: The study discovered that, according to the students’ perceptions, there are several determinants of the high dropout rate from the chiropractic programme. Some of these are intrinsic chiropractic programme factors such as course structure, workload and assessment strategy. However, other determinants are outside the programme and generic to all university disciplines/programmes. Nevertheless, it is still critical that attention be given to all determining factors to facilitate retention of students into the chiropractic programme.
Recommendations: The following recommendations with special reference to policy development and implementation, institutional management and practice, chiropractic education and further research, are presented. The national and institutional policies regarding application and administration of financial aid should be reviewed and guidelines for application and appeals procedures should be made known to students. Student teaching and assessment strategies should be reviewed periodically and input from students be invited. The Chiropractic Department should ensure that information about the programme and qualification is made available to the public. The chiropractic curriculum should include entrepreneurship to provide information and guidance on how to set up own private practice. The chiropractic programme should institute measures of decolonising the programme in order to address challenges of racial discrimination. A broader research study on reasons for student dropout is recommended.
Submitted in fulfillment of the requirements for the Master’s Degree in Chiropractic, Durban University of Technology, Durban, South Africa, 2018.
Appears in Collections:Theses and dissertations (Health Sciences)

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