Push and pull factors affecting the retention of university students in a climate of civil war

Daya Somasundaram, Ratnajeevan Hoole, Arjuna Somasundaram
2007 Innovation and Development   unpublished
Despite over 70 years of research, the retention of university students remains a major issue. In countries ravaged by long-term strife, the failure of universities to retain students has both immediate and long-term catastrophic consequences. Tinto (2005) identifies five factors that institutions can influence to increase retention. Somasundaram (2002) identifies psycho-social push and pull factors that affect the behaviour of civilian populations affected by chronic civil war such as that in
more » ... ar such as that in Sri Lanka. This paper compares and contrasts these two conceptual models, illustrating the analysis with examples from individual cases. The forces at play in a community under stress are more complex and aggravated than those at play in calmer communities. The authors conclude that all parties-academics, students, the government and the community-have responsibilities, and often the more important issues in retention are ethical, political and socioeconomic rather than pedagogical. The issue is not only that students who succeed progress in the knowledge economy and may in the long term help towards conflict reduction but also that dropping out may cause serious harm to both the individual and the community, costs that are often not counted. SLEID is an international journal of scholarship and research that supports emerging scholars and the development of evidence-based practice in education. © Copyright of articles is retained by authors. As an open access journal, articles are free to use, with proper attribution, in educational and other non-commercial settings.