Access, pass, throughput and dropout rates: Review of a problem-based learning BPharm curriculum at a previously disadvantaged university in South Africa

L A Mabope, J C Meyer


Background. Students from diverse backgrounds increasingly enter higher education institutions. Universities need to ensure that their programmes are responsive to these diversities. In 1999, the University of Limpopo, Medunsa Campus, Pretoria, South Africa (SA), in partnership with Tshwane University of Technology, Pretoria, SA, introduced a holistic teaching and learning approach with regard to the problem-orientated, integrated, thematic, modular-based Bachelor of Pharmacy programme, which included a student support mechanism. 

Objective. To present access, pass, throughput and dropout rates of students in the problem-based learning BPharm programme over the 14-year period since its inception. 

Method. The records of all BPharm applicants and those admitted to the course from 1999 to 2008 were reviewed. Access, pass and throughput rates, and failure to complete the course, were determined for a cohort of students (n=458).

Results. All applications from 1999 to 2008 indicating pharmacy as first choice (N=3 307) were screened, with just more than half (n=1 832) of the applicants qualifying for the selection process. Twenty-five per cent (n=458), resembling SA’s demographic racial group profile, were selected and entered the BPharm programme. From this cohort, the programme has produced 404 graduates (88.2%), with 74% completing the course in the minimum time of four years. The overall average pass rate for the 14-year period was 92.3%. Finances, personal challenges and exclusions were some of the reasons why students did not complete the course.

Conclusion. The problem-based learning pharmacy curriculum yielded good pass and throughput rates for a diverse group of students. 


Authors' affiliations

L A Mabope, Department of Pharmacy, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Limpopo, Medunsa Campus, Pretoria, South Africa

J C Meyer, Department of Pharmacy, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Limpopo, Medunsa Campus, Pretoria, South Africa

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Access; Throughput; Pass rates; Problem-based learning; Pharmacy education

Cite this article

African Journal of Health Professions Education 2014;6(2):133. DOI:10.7196/AJHPE.287

Article History

Date submitted: 2013-05-28
Date published: 2014-07-30

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