Socio-Economical factors and the academic performance of postgraduate students at Makerere University
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The study was about socio-economic factors and the academic performance of postgraduate students at Makerere University. The overall purpose of the study was to establish the relationship between socio-economic factors and the academic performance of postgraduate students with specific focus on the effect of employment, financial and marital status of the students on their academic performance. The study was prompted by the fact that the academic performance currently exhibited by postgraduate students in the university leaves a lot to be desired and is quite inadequate when compared to international standards. This is possibly because most individuals enrolling for postgraduate studies at the university are engaged in paid employment, have serious financial constraints and marital responsibilities/interruptions could be interrupting their studies. The study was carried out with the use of both qualitative and quantitative approaches in the form of a cross-sectional survey. Information was gathered using semi-structured questionnaires and an interview guide after which the data was entered into SPSS spread sheets then analyzed using descriptive statistics and ANOVA. The qualitative data was analyzed by grouping similar responses into categories then reporting it using reported and direct speech. The study established that most postgraduate students are in full time paid employment which significantly affects their academic performance. It was also established that most of the postgraduate students are not married and for that matter experience minimal disruption with their studies due to marital and family responsibilities. The study also established that a reasonable number of the students have financial constraints which hinder their progress with school. In conclusion, the study findings established that student employment status significantly affects academic performance thus the institution should focus much more effort on helping students adopt strategies that will enable them balance their studies with employment. On the other hand, as much as financial status and marital status insignificantly affect the academic performance of postgraduate students, they should not be ignored. Some effort should also be directed towards helping students to deal with disruptions and hindrances to academic progress brought on by financial and marital status. From these findings, the researcher recommended that development of semester class time tables should be a participatory process involving both the students and their lecturers. It was also suggested that the institution should establish more linkages with local and international funding bodies that can award scholarships to outstanding and financially constrained students. The researcher also recommended that the University should make better use of its data banks by effectively using student bio-data to identify students that are prone to academic deterioration due to non-institutional factors like marital status then take necessary measures to help them.