20 August 2018 Photo Barend Nagel
WomenOfKovsies Dr Hoppener research affects access of rural youth to university
Dr Mikateko Höppener is also the author of a book titled, Engineering Education for Sustainable Development: A Capabilities Approach, which is based on her PhD research.

Since September 2016, Dr Mikateko Höppener and a team of researchers have been engaged in a four-year long investigation of the multidimensional factors and dynamics that influence low-income learners’ opportunities to access, participate, and succeed in higher education.

Dr Höppener is a Senior Researcher at the university, working under the leadership of Prof Melanie Walker, South African Research Chairs Initiative (SARChI) Chair and Director of the Higher Education and Human Development Research Programme.

Women in academia

Dr Höppener is part of a team comprised of women whom she constantly learns from and who inspire appreciation.. “I am filled with gratitude for being in the position I am in as a young woman. I have the privilege of working with a team of very inspirational, motivating and encouraging women. The Miratho Project is led by a woman and the rest of the team members are also women,” she says.

Access to higher education
The Miratho Project is undertaken in collaboration with Thusanani Foundation, a youth-led, nonprofit organisation. It is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, and the UK’s Department for International Development. Rural and township learners from low-income backgrounds are the subject of this multimethod, longitudinal study which tracks their progress into higher education and through to employment.

Among its key objectives, Miratho aims to develop a multidimensional learning outcomes index as an instrument of public debate and guiding government policy. As such it contributes to transforming and decolonising higher education.  

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