The Ministerial Committee Report on Student Housing that was published by the Department of Higher Education and Training provided measures and standards that should be considered when selecting student accommodation. These were highlighted in the previous blog edition. This blog edition follows the former and explores the link between student housing and academic success.
According to the Ministerial Report, there is empirical evidence supporting the theory that quality of student housing does have an impact on academic outcomes. The Report identified factors that have been identified to support the notion and these will be discussed in this blog edition.
1. Travel time and cost:
The daily commute between campus and place of residence directly correlates with the convenience of the student. Distance from campus impacts the length of time it takes to travel to and from campus daily, as well as the cost involved. Cost factors are important to consider too as they impact on the student’s budget, thus impacting affordability of other essential items.
Westwood Lodge is in a prime location for students as it is conveniently positioned to many institutions of higher learning and shopping centre. Our estate is 2km's from the University of KwaZulu Natal (UKZN) Westville Campus, and within 10km's of many other private and public institutions of higher learning in Durban. Westwood Lodge is also within 5km's of Durban's major road networks, including the M13, N2 and N3. These provide convenience for students with private transport, and for those using public transport. Two reliable private shuttle services operate from the estate, transporting students to and from campus on a schedule.
2. Living space conducive to studying:
During the course of their studies, students need to be in an environment that promotes academic progress. This entails having adequate facilities and services that are well maintained. Privacy is important to the student as personal space allows freedom and comfort. Technology is used commonly by students as an aid to their studies. Reliable internet access has become a necessity in this day and age as it is a tool to valuable information.
Whether sharing a room or living alone, each student resident has their own chair, desk and reading lamp for comfortable study conditions. Westwood Lodge has a Study Lab for students to study in a conducive and quiet environment. Each resident has a personal WiFi code which gives them access to secured high speed WiFi in the comfort of their rooms, in the Study Lab and around the estate. This allows students to connect their mobile phone, tablet and personal computer (PC) to connect to the internet at their convenience.
Security is a primary human need. An environment that provides security and peace of mind to students allows them to focus on what matters most, passing their assessments and obtaining their qualification.
In recent times Durban has seen a spate of armed robberies targeted at student-centric areas. This includes universities, residences, communes and other student accommodation facilities. Students have been targeted due to the knowledge that they carry valuables such as mobile phones, tablets and PC's to campus.
Westwood Lodge is a secured estate that has a dedicated security complement onsite around the clock. This includes trained guards overseen by a manager who patrols the estate in a vehicle. Technology is also employed to assist in keeping the estate secure. This includes biometric access, Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) among others. The security threats that exist and students are exposed to, are quelled by the efficacy of the security measure taken by Westwood Lodge.
4. Building a support network:
Learning and studies are not confined to lecture halls and libraries; beyond these platforms’ students need to have a reliable and consistent support network. These include having study groups, mentoring and social activities. Not only do these forums allow for study assistance, they also provide a much-needed support structure that often extends years beyond the tertiary education days.
Westwood Lodge uses a careful house and room allocation method, pooling faculties and fields of study into a house together. This encourages group study as the residents have common modules and assessments. Socially, Westwood Lodge hosts information sessions and social gathering that are arranged by students. Our residents have arranged and hosted information sessions, home cell groups, cultural evenings and book clubs.