The School of Public Health (SPH) of the National Institute of Public Health (NIPH), has invested efforts to enhance the quality of teaching and learning to produce more qualified human resources with adequate capacity to address the public health challenges at country and regional levels. In order to improve academic quality, there is also a demand for qualified enrolled candidates in these master’s programs. Our study aimed to describe students’ socio-demographic and determine factors associated with the student’s academic performance at the SPH.
The data were retrieved from the student database management system. In total there were 370 students from five cohorts (2014 - 2018). We used descriptive analysis to describe the sociodemographic characteristics of the participants. The multivariate logistic regression was used to identify the independent factors associated with students’ high academic performance.
Approximately half of the students in each academic year completed the two-year master's courses. Of the 186 eligible students in the master's program, about 15% achieved high academic performance, and the other 50% were academically medium performers. Socio-demographic factors found to be significantly associated with high academic attainment include an admission year in 2015 (AOR = 4.7, 95% CI: 1.1 – 19.3), being an MSc. student in Epidemiology (AOR = 13.2, 95% CI: 3.5 – 49.5), and a longer interval between an undergraduate degree and master’s program enrollment (AOR = 0.2, 95% CI: 0.0 – 0.6).
The study highlighted specific cohort years and the epidemiology track as the main determinants of high academic performance. However, with a longer interval between undergraduates and the master's program, there was a lower academic performance among students. Therefore, the SPH should consider services to help students to improve their academic performance, particularly non-epidemiology track and non-recent undergraduates.