FACTORS CONTRIBUTING TOWARDS DROP OUT IN M.PHIL AT ALLAMA IQBAL OPEN UNIVERSITY
Drop out refers to the phase when a student is not able to complete the program of degree within the specified time. The danger of drop out is very serious in any education system including distance education. This article highlights major factors causing drop out at M.Phil level in Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU), Pakistan. Allama Iqbal Open University is the only chartered Distance Education University which caters for over 1.3 million students across the country. The study aimed at finding various factors leading to drop out of students in different faculties at AIOU which offer M.Phil programs. It also aimed to find out differences of drop out rate among male and female students. The research is basically quantitative in nature with a survey design. The population of the study included all the drop out of M.Phil programs offered at AIOU. The sample consisted of total 101 students from three faculties i.e., Education, Social Sciences and Science 2012 session. The M.Phil prospectus of AIOU focuses on four main factors i.e., assignments, workshops, final exams, and thesis which need to be successfully completed for the award of degree in the program. These four factors were focused to develop an online questionnaire to collect data. Descriptive statistics, t-test and ANOVA were used for data analysis. The results indicated that the major factor of drop out across the three faculties was thesis. The findings further revealed no difference in the drop outrate of male and female M.Phil students due to assignments, workshop, and final exams whereas thesis remained the only factor which showed significant difference on the basis of gender, where more male students dropped out than females. To minimize dropout due to thesis, reforms need to be brought in the conduct of M.Phil research workshop at AIOU focusing specific criteria for monitoring the progress of M.Phil students during synopsis development and research work period and the contribution of supervisor in terms of time and commitment towards the supervisee. Further implementation of the prescribed criteria may be ensured by the academic administration and relevant departments of the three faculties offering M.Phil program at AIOU.
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