Monday, 6 January 2020

Student residences research in the spotlight

Finally, the Journal of Student Affairs in Africa publishes an issue covering the research into the student residences sector. While the articles in JSAA 2019, Vol. 7(2) are not the first on residence matters in JSAA,  the pressing topic needs much more research and as it has since its inception, JSAA seeks to stimulate precisely further research. Check out the journal here.

Taabo Mugume and I wrote a few years back on the student politics involved in the establishment of a public-private partnership in the South African student residence sector, investigating the case of the University of the Western Cape's Kovacs Residence in Cape Town.  Since then, numerous private student residence developments have mushroomed (ironically around the wealthier universities and uni suburbs), by private providers operating as Campus Key, Unilofts, and the like. At the same time, student affairs departments in many universities have established accreditation criteria and processes  for private student housing providers,  and they have given them, in some cases, preferential access to campus facilities for their resident students. The SA Department of Higher Education and Training has also done it's own investigations into the provision of student housing, the backlog of provision and costs, and developed some standards in this respect. The situation in rural universities is particularly precarious with substandard provision (both by universities themselves and privates) and a dearth of available, academically conducive, safe and affordable student rooms. The residence provision - as is with the higher education system as a whole - remains highly unequal and unfair, as rural universities, and other historically black metropolitan universities and universities of technology are almost entirely attended by black and poorer students who are not receiving the same kind and level of service.

Much more research must be done on the important topic of residence life and student housing in Africa. With this journal issue, JSAA is again seeking to stimulate such research. Here there are articles on the relationship between student accommodation and academic success, as well as articles on topics that go beyond the residence theme and research students with disabilities as well as student politics. The issue can be downloaded open access at