• Centre for Research on Higher Education and Development
    Professor Ann-Marie Bathmaker (University of Birmingham) presents seminar at CRHED
    Prof Bathmaker presented an engaging seminar entitled ‘Pathways to social mobility – investing in the future? Moving through HE and into employment’.
    Read more
  • Centre for Research on Higher Education and Development
    ESRC-DfID ‘Miratho’ Project off to an exciting start
    The Miratho Project team spent three weeks working together in March 2017, including two weeks of fieldwork in rural areas across South Africa.
    Read more
  • Centre for Research on Higher Education and Development
    Enabling Success Project celebration and book launch
    Students participating in Prof Merridy Wilson-Strydom’s NRF Thuthuka-funded project were excited to launch their book entitled ‘In Our Own Words’ on 18 March 2017.
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  • Centre for Research on Higher Education and Development
    CRHED staff publish two new books
    Two new books edited/written by CRHED staff and published by Palgrave MacMillan came out in early 2017.
    Read more
  • Centre for Research on Higher Education and Development
    Women in Sciences and Technology
    Dr Mikateko Höppener hosted a science communication and engagement workshop sponsored by the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf).

Botho University Collaboration and Capacity-building Project

Enablers and constraints during the transition to university: A comparative study of Botho University (Botswana) and the University of the Free State (South Africa) (2016-2017)

Merridy Wilson-Strydom, Morgen Chawawa (Botho University, Gaborone Campus) and Roderick Chirau (Botho University, Francistown Campus)

Funder: UFS Research Directorate

This project emerged from a Memorandum of Agreement signed between the University of the Free State and Botho University in late 2015. The focus is a pilot project at Botho University in Gaborone and Francistown, Botswana. The project draws on the methodology used in two studies done at the UFS as an initial step to building a longer term research collaboration between the two universities. Not only will the research be of benefit to the work of each university, but the comparative perspective will contribute to richer understandings in each context as well as more broadly within the SADC region, so addressing the gap in higher education research in SADC. Since the first part of the UFS study is completed and the second study has been underway for three years, this pilot project is centred on research capacity building, data collection and analysis at Botho University, followed by a meta-analysis of the findings from the two countries. 

The overall comparative study has the following aims:

  1. To understand how first-year students/university entrants at the UFS and Botho University experience the transition to university, with a focus on the enablers and constraints identified.

  2. Working comparatively, to identify similarities and differences in student experiences and why these occur.

  3. To theorise transition experiences, using a capabilities-based social justice framework.

  4. Based on the evidence from the research, identify, where relevant, potential interventions to improve the transition experience, and/or lessons of successful practice that could be transferred to other contexts. 


In addition to the research itself, Merridy Wilson-Strydom has run several research capacity-building workshops in both Gaborone and Francistown.




Botho Visit Merridy
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