Pakistani learners' transition into university : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Education at Massey University, Manawatū, New Zealand

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Massey University
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This study aimed to explore the experiences of Pakistani learners in their transition to university, and to understand how they adapted to the new learning culture in university. Key factors explored included the influence of Pakistani learners’ expectations of and preparedness for university, prior learning experiences and medium of instruction on their transition into university. The research used a mixed methods approach in which data was collected sequentially. The study began with a quantitative questionnaire conducted with 154 first-year undergraduate students enrolled in four majors in the Bachelor of Studies in a public sector university in Pakistan. This was followed by the qualitative phase which consisted of three semi-structured interview rounds with 14 students selected from the participants in the questionnaire that was undertaken over the first semester of their enrolment. The quantitative findings provided a broad picture of the adaptation experiences of the learners and the influence of learners’ prior learning experiences and medium of instruction on their transition experiences. The qualitative findings also provided deeper insights into the transition experiences and how these were influenced and shaped by various pre-university and post-shift factors. Finally, the integration of the two sets of findings provided a more comprehensive understanding of the transition process and how the learners formulated new identities as independent university learners for successful transition into university. The findings of this study revealed that many of the transition experiences of the Pakistani learners in this study are similar to those in the international settings. However, some experiences are of a different nature due to Pakistan’s educational, cultural and historical background as a post-colonial nation. In particular, the country’s parallel public/private school education system and the Urdu/English dual medium of instruction policy have a significant influence on the learners’ transition into university, in shaping the adaptation experiences and the whole transition process. As a result of this study, it is suggested that there is a need to reform the school education system and to review education policies in order to bridge the gap between the school/college and university education and make transition into university a smoother process.
College students, Student adjustment, College student orientation, Pakistan