Deconstructing the Challenges of COVID-19 on First-Year Rural University Students in South Africa


  • Bunmi Isaiah Omodan Walter Sisulu University



COVID-19, first-year students, rural communities, rural university


Assumptions and facts exist about the various challenges rural learners face when transitioning into university education in South Africa due to the pedagogical differences between secondary and university education. However, the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic compounded the transitioning challenges of students because most of the universities, especially the selected university, utilise online learning, which is alien to first-year students who are transitioning from rural high schools to the university. This study explores the challenges and solutions associated with first-year students transitioning to a new level of education during the COVID-19 pandemic. An asset-based approach was used to theorise the study within the Transformative Paradigm (TP), while Participatory Research (PR) was used to design the study. These are relevant because both TP and PR are targeted towards transforming people’s predicaments. The participants consisted of ten first-year students selected using a convenient sampling technique. Data was collected using electronic interviews such as email, WhatsApp messages, and phone calls. The data were analysed using thematic analysis. The study revealed that first-year rural university students’ inability to use online learning tools effectively and unstable internet connections in the rural community are major challenges. The study, therefore, concludes that the provision of internet access and students’ readiness for adaptability are the possible solutions.


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How to Cite

Omodan, B. I. (2021) “Deconstructing the Challenges of COVID-19 on First-Year Rural University Students in South Africa ”, African Journal of Inter/Multidisciplinary Studies, 3(1), pp. 229–242. doi: 10.51415/ajims.v3i1.930.