Developing technology to strengthen resilience in san children to reduce school dropouts.

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Namibia University of Science and Technology


School dropouts have been a concern in Namibia, especially among San learners. Thus this research focused on developing a mobile counselling platform for Grade seven (7) primary school learners in Donkerbos village. The aim of the application is to build resilience in primary school San learners for them to withstand adversity by bouncing back. This is to reduce San learners’ high dropout rates in Namibian schools. The study looked into the area of an individual’s life where resilience could be developed more. The study focused on the challenges learners normally face in order to support them in those areas for them to be more positive and develop a strong sense of purpose and meaning in their own lives. There are factors that can enhance resilience in an individual. Factors such as environmental, family, social, cultural, community and personal characteristics can have an impact in an individual’s life (Herrman, Stewart, Diaz-Granados, Berger, Jackson, & Yuen, 2011). The study used a qualitative methodology for data collection for the sampling within the San community to explore and understand the contributing dropout and success factors. For data collection, video recorded interviews were conducted with successful Windhoek based San youth and audio recordings with dropout Donkerbos village based San youth. The primary school San learners also shared their current challenges through a rich picture method which is some form of a narrative. Snowball sampling technique was used to choose the participants for the research study. The mobile counselling platform was developed based on data extracted from narratives of successful, dropout San youths’ school life stories as well as current issues identified by primary school San learners using rich pictures. The collected success and failure stories by the San youth as well as the current issues by the school learners were co-curated for inclusion in the mobile counselling platform. A common tool for qualitative research, namely thematic analysis was used to analyse the data collected to extract themes. Coding was done on the data set for understanding and to interpret their meanings. The themes were then categorised into key themes namely financial, social, emotional, personal, family and education after coding was done. The key themes were then reviewed and examined to gain an understanding of participants’ challenges. Furthermore, the research explored technologies currently being used elsewhere to provide counselling services. Findings demonstrate that online counselling on the web or mobile platforms vi exist and is still increasingly growing. However, most of these online counselling services are rather generic, meaning that they will not be fit in all situations and cultural backgrounds. Findings from the collected data were used as a guide to develop the mobile counselling platform. The platform was prototyped and evaluated with the successful, dropout San youth and primary school San learners for refinement. Feedback from evaluations shows that the youth and learners like the application, however, they would like to see audio and video recordings as well to make it more interesting and emotionally engaging.



Academic Resilience, School dropouts, San learners


Kays, R. (2020). Developing technology to strengthen resilience in san children to reduce school dropouts [Unpublished master's thesis]. Namibia University of Science and Technology.