Drop-Out Rate, Pass Rate, Time Series Analysis Models, Turn-Out Rate, Viability, Sustainability, BSMS Programme
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This study used mathematical models of time series analyses and questionnaires and interviews to investigate the viability and sustainability of the BSc Mathematics and Statistics (BSMS) programme at Zimbabwe Open University (ZOU) in the Midlands Region. In particular it also explored the trends in the turn-out, drop-out and pass rates of BSMS programme from 2007 to 2015. A mixed methods approach was used to collect and analyze data. Seventeen questionnaires were completed by students in different intakes in 2007 and 13 more students from various intakes in 2014 completed the same questionnaire. Informal interviews were carried out with ten students and five part-time tutors in 2014 and historical records on the studentship in the Midlands Region were collected from the regional archives. The statistical package SPSS 16.0 was used to analyze the data and records, which revealed that there was a low turn-out rate, high drop-out rate and a medium to low pass rate in the BSMS programme. From the informal interviews and questionnaires students expressed dissatisfaction with the quality of some of the modules and how the programme was generally being run. Part time tutors pointed out administrative and financial issues as factors affecting the viability of the programme. They offered suggestions to upgrade the programme to an Honours degree level by incorporating attachment and modules on Computer Applications and Research Methods. An analysis of the coursework marks at the Region showed that most students were doing very well in their courses but examination grades showed otherwise. Since examinations are marked at National Center and not in the regions, students were not happy on how queries on their examination grades were being handled. It is recommended that the resource materials need to be reviewed, new course modules and alternative delivery modes be put in place to improve the viability and sustainability of the programme.