Education is very significant for every country

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Education is very significant for every country on earth. It is the unlocked code key to develop all fragments in countries' system. Economic growth, poverty reduction and human development are accelerated by education. Moreover, it has great influence on the human society-information and knowledge is transformed through education. Every nation cannot ignore the importance of education. And its role in present time becomes even more vital as an absolute need for development in economic and social sectors in the time of globalization and internationalization-more effectively and more efficiently in work forces for educated people comparing to uneducated people. However, education is not widely reached and provided to all people. The causes why those things do not occur are that there are many concerns blocking. In order to solve those difficulties, global governments attempt to stimulate and produce many projects. Similarly, in Cambodia, education is one of the main aspects of the rectangular strategies which indicate that the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sport plays an important role to improve economic, social and cultural domains of the country. In response to its role stated in the strategies, the MoEYS has made concerted efforts to improve quality and equity of education. However, many constraints have made it difficult for the MoEYS to implement the strategies. They are gender inequality, low quality of education, student attritions, financial constrain in maintaining educational processes, schooling problems, and administration in education, policy making and curriculum design. I have noticed that student attrition is one of the many constrains that has an enormous impact on efficiency and effectiveness of the development of the country. To address this, many researches about attritions have been conducted in primary and secondary school levels which EFA 2015 and Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are the core of them; nevertheless, there is very little or almost no research about student attrition in higher education in Cambodia but other countries in the world.

Furthermore, remarkable point here is that attrition is possibly the greatest issue facing higher education institutions. While participation is compulsory in primary and secondary education, participation in higher education is voluntary and there are overabundances of causes why students may possibly select, or be forced, to withdraw (McCubbin, 2003). There are financial and non-financial cost associated with attrition. First of all, non-completion students invested amounts of money in their education both resources and time spending. Second, it has negative impacts to other students, who are still pursuing their courses, in educational attainment and development. It destroys their confidence or making them curious about their commitment to their studies or institution (Tinto, 1975).

Besides education is the most important determinant yet discovered of how far one will go in today's world. Moreover, it has been growing steadily more important in the sense that each new generation … has spent more and more time in schools and taken jobs with higher educational requirements. (Collins, 1979, p.3)

Particularly, this current proposal mentions about the student attrition in higher education at master level. During doing master degree of education at one university in Phnom Penh, I have observed that master candidates of education here have left gradually from term to term. Moreover, by questioning previous cohorts and MEd staff about this issue, the unchanged experiences have existed. I ask myself why that issue occur. This encourages me to conduct this research.

Decisions to go to attend master program are noteworthy points, which is the

perceived value of a maser's degree. According to Anderson & Swazey (1998), there are many factors following:

Desire for knowledge in the field

Desire to do research in the field

Desire to teach in higher education

Desire to benefit others through work

Desire to advance in the current employment

Desire for a job that pays well

The lifestyle of a scientist

The high regard in which scientists are held

Desire to change career

Couldn't think of anything better to do (p.3)

The same what LaPidus (1989) calls "defensive credentialing" and "discontinuities in career ladders" and Collins (1979) states "They want a decent job". Furthermore, Stodt & Thelens (1985) state "Because higher education stands strategically between the elite occupations and those who aspire to them, its degree become prime incentives to prospective and enrolled student." (p.252)

In addition, the OECD (1987) report mentions:

The … intermediate degree was prompted by employment considerations: the need in certain field for people with advanced training and some knowledge of research methods. This shift over fifteen years, from a licentiate reflecting the perceived exigencies of scholarship to a licentiate reflecting the perceived exigencies of the labour market, encapsulates much that has happened in the field of post-graduate education. (p.8)

Moreover, Yeatman (1992) describes development master's programs for almost every field as a trend in Canada, which the Healy (1978) provides the importance of master's programs and the increased number of enrolments.

1.2 Research Problem

As mentioned earlier, student attritions at master level is a new concern in Cambodian higher education. Time and money investment at this level is much more expensive comparing to the basic education sector. Furthermore, money and time is wasted if the attritions continue to occur. Specifically, it takes two years and half to finish degree here. In addition, the school fee is 2100 dollars excluding academic materials and other academic services; however, other universities in general only 1500 dollars and two years in Cambodian context. As result, it becomes researcher's current interest. Moreover, that issue is likely to continue in the next cohort and so on if no solution to solve it. It will create student's attrition culture in the university, which is really not good.

Furthermore, failure to complete the course has serious impact for the students. According to Collins (1979) "It is known that employers generally do not select employees on the basis of their school grades; rather, they look for the completion of a degree in particular subjects" (p.20). Career, economic and social disadvantages as well as self-esteem and ability damages are mentioned the same in Yeatman (1992) in Canada. In addition, Sternberg (1981) states "Those years are more than waste: each succeeding one bones into one's strength making it harder and harder to walk whole and get on to another task or profession where the prognosis is better and interest higher." (p.33)

Another thing to be considered, according to Simpon (2004), an obvious and undesirable fact of higher education that a number of careless students or a number of students do not have the character to complete the requirement of their course. Some students are not committed enough to finish college or to achieve that goal. To this point, Hackman & Dysinger (1970) state student's attrition is not a result of not being able to meet the requirement of the course work but not caring enough.

The last but not the least, Simpon (2004) mentions:

The departure of individuals can cause serious financial strains upon the

institution by undermining its continuing source of revenue. The financial

impact on the institution could also be quite large and a major concern. Part

of the administrative and/or overhead cost of registration and subsequent

withdrawal must be borne by the institution if the student withdraws prior to a

specific date. Institutions of higher education should strive to provide the best

possible service available in order to retain students. Services could be

improved as specific problems are identified and solved. By doing so faculty,

professors, administration, students, and the institution would all benefit.

Retention is a campus wide effort. (p.5-6)

1.3 Research objective

In this study, there are one main objective and two sub-objectives. The main objective is to ascertain the perspectives of the attrition of the master candidates. Moreover, the first of the two sub-objectives is to determine difficulties that students who leave face. The second is to gather feedback from the leavers to inform policy makers on student retention. In addition, it is obviously seen in Yeatman (1992). Questions were raised to find the reasons particular student who decided to leave in particular circumstances. Because studying in graduate program is voluntarily, the reasons why so many initially start then do not finish is curios to be explained. They must face something while once they participate in the program. Furthermore, the reasons the leavers find the studies in this level hard to complete while others can do it is another to be considered. Thus the experience of those students who leave the program in picture of student's attrition has to be understood obviously and concretely. Besides, it must be understood whether the research department figures of the university or student characteristic mostly influences the decision to withdraw or not. In addition, the reasons that job considerations and family responsibilities which are environmental press issues as a function to decide to leave is also considered.

1.4 Research questions

All in all, this paper is going to be guided by the two following research questions:

What reasons that make the student unable to successfully complete their Master's Program?

What strategies does the Master's Program have to deal with the attrition?

1.5 Significance of the Study

This study is significant for several reasons. First, it will reflect the perspectives of master's student leavers in the current training programs. Secondly, it will indicate challenges that make students leave. Third, it will provide useful information to stakeholders who are involved in discussion on student attritions, especially at higher education level and to inform higher education policy makers in relation to student attrition in higher education. Fourth, it will help the students make an informed judgement on leaving. Last but not least, it will be one significant literature review for next generation researchers in student attrition at master level, which Wright (1964) stated "little is known about the kinds of students who fail to earn the graduate degree to which they have aspired and toward which they have spent at least a semester of time and energy" (p.73).

1.6 Definitions of the Terms

The definition of student attrition can be unclear (Tinto, 1987). For instance, "Should persons who persist in their studies but fail to complete their degree requirement within the five year limit be considered leavers?" (Yeatman, 1992, p.7). For the purposes of this case study a master's leaver is referred to be any master candidates who has been qualified for and participated in the master program, but who has not achieved a degree and is no longer participated in the course. Therefore both "required" withdrawal and voluntary are existed in the definition. (Most of them left voluntarily)

MEd is master of education. The gate keeper refers the person who helps the researcher gain access to the samples researcher wish to conduct the research. The key informants are the people understand and have valuable information about the sample.

1.7 Proposed chapter outline of your research paper

There are five main chapters in the research papers. First of all, Chapter 1 Introduction shows the background, research problem, research objective, research question, significance of the study, the definition of key term.  According to Wilkinson (1991), the introduction provides readers with the background information for the research paper. It is important to make readers interested in the study, which is the broad description about the area under the study and the links for the problem that leads to the research study (Creswell, 1994). Chapter 2 The Review of the Literature provides the context and background for research problem. It shows the researcher is knowledgeable about the study area (Wiersma, 1995). The closely related studies and prior studies about the research topic are written down to share with the readers (Fraenkel & Wallen, 1990). It is the benchmark to compare the result of finding to other findings. Chapter 3 Methodology is the heart of research paper (Wiersma, 1995). It consists of research design; tool/instruments for data gathering; site, population, sample size and sampling method; data collecting procedures; data analysis; ethical consideration; and strengths and limitation of method. Chapter 4 Finding and Discussion is about the summarized writing obtaining from evaluation process of the data and the judgment the result whether that is consistent or not to the prior research to what extent. Chapter 5 is Conclusion followed by References and Appendix.



2.1 Theoretical Framework

Wetzel et al. (2005) stated it has been long recognized by educational researchers that not all undergraduate and graduate students who initially register in higher education persist till they earn a degree. Many literatures both empirical and theoretical which ascertain the factors related with student attrition in higher education are existed. Furthermore, Tinto's Student Integration Model (1975), Bean's Student Attrition Model (1980), Girves & Wemmerus (1988) and the College Choice Nexus Model (St. John et al. 2000) are the most inclusive theoretical models.

According to Rumberger and Lim (2008), Tinto's theoretical perception is still worthwhile in clarifying withdrawal conduct which is a broadly acknowledged theory of institutional departure at the higher education level. First, personal attributes-- family background, skills and abilities, and prior school experiences, including goals (intentions) and motivation (commitments) to continue their schooling in Tinto's model as the process of departure which is influenced. Second, two separate dimensions, a social dimension dealing with social integration and an academic dimension dealing with academic integration, influence students by both informal and formal structure of the university. For instance, the formal systems of classrooms and the informal system of communications with university in other situations may be existed in academic integration. Moreover, the needs and attributes of graduate students as well as external factors make them leave, which the dimensions can have distinct and free impacts on how the students perform. Third, student mobility is another aspect of persistence. It differentiates between the commitment to the goal of finishing university and the commitment to the university, and how these commitments can be influenced by students' experiences in university over time (p. 115). The theory suggests that universities can have various people or subgroups to provide unneeded accommodations and provision to students (p. 119). In addition, the theory grants the significance of external factors that have influenced student leaving. Besides, Braxton, Johnson, and Sullivan (1997) conducted many studies testing Tinto's model, which they found support from it while Cabrera et al. (1992) found Tinto's theory does not succeed in incorporating external factors to the environment of higher education institution (Wetzel et al. (2005).

Obvious incorporation in external factors is found more inclusively in Bean's Student Attrition Model. The significance of behavioural intentions is stressed in Bean's theory whether the student is willing to leave or stay as persistence predictors (Bean, 1980). According to Cabrerea et al (1992), the role of environmental, personal, organizational variables in modelling intentions and attitudes to continue or to leave have been supported in this model.

Girves & Wemmerus (1988) advanced two models, which is empirical, predicting progress to earn master and doctoral degrees. It is based on Spady (1971), Tinto (1975), Pascarella (1980), and Bean (1980) and includes graduate experience, relationship between students and supervisors and financial support. All in all, this model consists of department characteristics, student characteristics, financial support, and perception of the faculty, which grades, involvement, and satisfaction/alienation are interacted.

The forth model is known as the College Choice Nexus Model. It shows about the relationship between a student's college choice and student's subsequent persistence in college. Socioeconomic factors, academic ability (performance), college experience, benefits and cost associated with participation in a particular institution which develop the student's perception of economic and non-economic benefit to earn a degree are obviously described in this model (St. John et al. 2000).

2.2 Previous Research

It is hard to find research about student attrition at master level. If they exist, the results are not reliable and generalizable because of small population (Amber, 2010). In addition, Yeatman (1992) stated:

It is a common belief that only candidates who are qualified and capable of

graduate work are selected into master's and doctoral programs. Therefore it

is not clear at first blush why there should be many graduate leavers at all…The implication of these studies is that the phenomenon is complex, with part of the understanding to be found in the institution of learning, part to be found in the external environment and part to be found within the students themselves…Research into graduate attrition, particularly at the master's level, is scant and comes mainly from Europe and Australia with American studies largely devoted to women and minorities in graduate study…there is little current research in this area. For example, in Malaney's (1987) review of the literature on research on graduate students from 1977 -1987, he found only two articles devoted to graduate attrition…have been largely descriptive. Until recently, no theoretical model…..on the master's student (p.15-16)

Thus research about student attrition in higher education both graduate and undergraduate students are combined together to visualize a picture of master's student attrition, which is related or at least providing some awareness.

Master's student attrition at Simon Fraser University: A portrait

Yeatman (1992) conducted this study at Simon Fraser University. The relationship between students and supervisors, the thesis writing tasks (students' lack of research skills, performance standards, and not enough support for students from department), and student displeasure with academic environment (what they need and expect are not met) are obviously illustrated. There was a two stage process to collect data. First, it depended on the summary statistics consisted of all master's candidates who terminated 1985-1990 was extracted via the GRADSTAT program, a graduate statistics program, which is statistical analysis. Second, the use of the in-depth interview were existed, which a questionnaire based on Tucker (1964) and interview based on literature review were the tools. Total population were 69 leavers who left the program 1990-1991. A covering letter describing about the study and a questionnaire asking them to participate in an interview were sent including follow-up phone contact. A narrative and a thematic analysis are used to analyse the data qualitatively.

An analytical study of student attrition and completion of distance education programmes of IGNOU

Biswas & Mythili (2000) conducted this study at Indira Ganhi National Open University. It focused on Master of Arts in distance Education (MADE) and Postgraduate Diploma in Distance Education (PDDE). In addition, it was a quantitative research. 250 the whole population comprised of 150 PDDE and 100 MADE. The samples were selected randomly, which a developed questionnaire was sent to selected students by post.

Finding the real odds: Attrition and time-to-degree in the FSU school of criminology and criminal justice

Lightfoot (2007) conducted this study at the Florida State University (FSU) in the college of criminology and criminal justice. It was about students in Master's of Science and Master's of Art degree. Beleson (1960) and Tucker et al (1964) was the two important literature reviews. The sample was selected from the whole population from Fall semester 1991 to Spring semester 2001. Furthermore, it was a quantitative study. Attrition, time-to-degree, in-program GPA, and program requirement were depend variables while independent variable were admission and student characteristic. Lightfoot (2007) used survival techniques to discover "time relationship in a non-parametric manner" following inferential analysis, which comprised of "the diagnostic testing of regression methods, such

as normality, linearity, heteroscedasticity, autocorrelation, and multicollinearity tests" (p.37).

Reason for Doctor Attrition

Haynes (2008) conducted this study at the University of Georgia (UGA). Bair & Haworth (1999), Attiyeh (1999), Smallwood (2004), Lovitts, 2001, Kritsonis (2006), and Kohun (2007) pictured the cause of doctoral attrition. The population was 144. A form supplying reasons (open-ended questions) for non-completion on a password protected website were sent via email, which the dean of graduate program was the person who contacted the students. Only 57% was replied. A content analysis is used to analyse the data qualitatively.

First Year Attrition of Master's Students: A Springboard to Understanding the Larger


Tokuno (2010) conducted this study at University of Hawai'i at Manoa. It is the most logical which Tokuno (2010) acted to prevent attrition at the first year because master's programs are short and most attrition occurs early, based on PhD research. It was a cross sectional study 1999-2009 cohorts. In addition, attrition definition, attrition measures, accounts for variability across time, accounts for variability across program, correlates of attrition, cause of attrition and attrition intervention were focused.

With their whole lives ahead of them: Myth and realities about why so many students fail to finish college

Amber (2010) conducted this study in 2009 in United Sates. It is based on a telephone survey operating both landline and cellular phones. The sample was 614 young adults aged 22 to 30 years who have experience with some post-secondary education. Furthermore, the interviews via phone took averagely 26 minutes in both English and Spanish and were conducted from May 7 to June 24, 2009-27 percent response rate for landline and 29 percent for cell phone. The sample were Americans, African-American and Hispanic respondents. The phone sample was created by Survey Sampling International, LLC (SSI). Standard list-assisted random digit dialling (RDD) methodology was used. Public Agenda designed and interpreted reflected data in this report and Princeton Survey Research International in cooperation with Princeton Data Source, LLC conducted the interview. Moreover, qualitative exploration was done in five focus groups. They are adults who are between 22 and 30.

The last thing to be considered is about the "Big Picture": Key Causes of Student Attrition & Key Components of a Comprehension Student Retention Plan. Cuseo (2010) developed it at Marymount College. Based on ACT (1975), Astin (1975), Astin et al (1997), Braxton (2000), Braxton (2001-2002), Cabrera (1992), Forrest (1982), Grayson (2003), Noel et al (1983), Noel et al (1985), Levitz (1989), Pantages (1978), Tinto (1975), and Tinto (1993), Cuseo (2010) advanced 4 main root causes of student attrition in higher education. In addition, academic roots (inadequate preparation and disinterest in/boredom), motivational roots (low level of commitment and perceived irrelevance), psychosocial roots (social factors and emotional issues), and financial roots (inability or perceived inability to afford and perception that the cost of college outweighs its benefits) were described in detail.

All in all, 4 most comprehensive theoretical models, 6 previous studies, and one significant article are above mentioned concretely, which in qualitative, quantitative, and summary methodology. They are significant keys to develop tools for collecting the data. Furthermore, they give an ideal picture to visualize student's attrition in master level.

On the other hands, comprehensive student retention studies have also to be described. Retention is a significant tool against attrition. Therefore the following paragraphs indicate them.

Rutledge (2004) listed down taken steps in student retention:

Identifying and understanding the problem.

Annual progressions audit.

Recognition of students reaching doctoral candidacy

Planned initiation of exit surveys or interviews to understand why students leave

Without completing their degrees.

Raising awareness of the issues widely

Improved orientation.

Focus on effective mentoring. (p.1-2)

According to Tinto (2005), there are five conditions that must be within higher education in order to make students away from attrition:

Institutional commitment

High expectations

Academic, social, and financial support

Continuous and frequent feedback regarding student performance

Academic and social involvement on campus, and more importantly, in the classroom

Furthermore, Stallone (2005) mentioned about program culture, faculty-student relations, cohort experiences, and individual factors in retaining students in the graduate program. Besides, Roberts (2007) stated little research has been done on retention in master- and doctoral-level programs. Based on Nelson et al. (2001) and Di Pierro (2007), Robert (2007) suggests that administrators do the following to retain students in graduate programs:

Prepare undergraduates for the graduate environment.

Give students accurate information about graduate programs, requirements, and job placement in their field of study.

Expect all graduate students not working in a lab to teach at least one course per year.

Provide a living wage to all research, teaching, and graduate assistants that is adequate enough for them to survive through the year without going into debt.

Offer full healthcare coverage to all graduate students and their dependents.

Facilitate meaningful advising relationships and provide advisors who have a history of supervising dissertation research and show a strong commitment to graduate students.

Provide training for graduate advising faculty.

Get students involved in their field as much as possible by encouraging participation in conferences, seminars, and professional development in their field of study.

Create a hospitable departmental environment.

Describe in detail each phase of the doctoral process, including an average length of time required for each process, so that students are aware early on about the level of commitment they should demonstrate.

Arrange detailed, on-going orientations for all students to encompass each phase of doctoral study.

Encourage development of a dissertation topic early in a student's doctoral career.

Establish a program in which students and their dissertation committees openly discuss the efficiency and effectiveness of their interactions.

Prepare students for the oral defense portions of the dissertation (both proposal and the actual dissertation itself).

Measure completion rates for comprehensive exams as this is one of the first places where students encounter difficulty in the graduate educational process.

Establish a departmental lounge with comfortable seating, journals and books, bulletin boards advertising news and upcoming events, and recognitions of student achievement.

Conduct exit interviews with all departing students-both graduating and non-graduating. (p.12-13)

The last but one the least, Cuseo (2010) has done many studies about retention. 12 Powerful Properties/Principles of Program Delivery are developed.


1. Summer Transition/Summer Bridge Programs

2. New-Student Orientation & Convocation

3. Extended-Orientation Course (New-Student Seminar) (Student-Success Course)

4. Early-Alert/Early-Warning System (e.g., absenteeism reports during first 4 wks.)

5. Midterm-Grade Reports (e.g., at 7-8 weeks into the semester)

6. "Red Flag" Procedures (e.g., failure to pre-register or renew financial aid)

7. Exit Interviews/Surveys (administered during the process of withdrawal)

8. Already-Withdrawn/Departed-Student Surveys (conducted after withdrawal)

9. Re-Recruitment of Withdrawn Students: Converting "Dropouts" to "Stop-Outs"


The program is student-centred, intentional (purposeful), proactive, intrusive, diversified, personalized, comprehensive (holistic), systematic, developmental, durable, collaborative, and empirical (evidentiary). Retention-intervention timeline: a longitudinal continuum of Proactive-To-Reactive practices designed to promote student persistence is existed (p.9).

Furthermore, drawing on Beal (1980), Braxton (2000), Braxton (2001-2002), Lenning (1980), National Institute of Independent College and Universities (1990), Noel (1982), and Terrel (1988) as a base of higher education researcher, Cuseo (2010) developed five potential areas of impact or arenas for retention intervention:

Institutional Research: Student Assessment & Program Evaluation

First-Year Experience: Proactive Programs & Practices

Academic Affairs: Curriculum, Instruction, & Academic-Support Services

Student Affairs: Co-Curriculum, Student Life, & Student-Support Services

College Administration: Institutional Procedures, Policies, & Priorities (p.10)



3.1 Research design

A qualitative method will be used in this research. This will enable the researcher to identify the case of master's student attrition in one university in Phnom Penh.

3.2 Tools/instruments for data gathering

The gate keepers are the university's rector and MEd's director and other key informants such as the MEd's staff (MEd's director assistant). Students, ranging from cohort 1 to cohort 4, will also be invited to participate in this study. They will be contacted through emails and or telephones. However, any unknown change of this information is also something to be considered. Participant observations and in-depth interviewing are the two ways to collect the data. Furthermore, a questionnaire was developed and designed to provide a chance for leavers to explain their decisions (reasons) leaving the course voluntarily (Appendix A). In-depth interview framework was designed with insight from literature review (Appendix B) and a voice recorder is used. A note taking table was also drawn for writing what the researcher observed (Appendix C). The researcher comes into the people's environment where he or she plans to conduct study and a written record of what is observed and heard is systematically kept. Artifacts, photographs, university memos and records supplement this material (Bogdan & Biklen, 2006).

3.3 Site, population, sample size and sampling method

The study will be conducted in one university in Phnom Penh at master program of education. It bases on two types of sample. Fist samples are the student leavers from the program. Second sample are who in charge of university board related to MEd program.

The leavers are about the master candidates of education who left the program. Total population of leavers from cohort 1 to cohort 4 (academic year 2009-2011) is 37- 7 females. They will be sent a cover letter informing about the study and a questionnaire in which they are asked to participate in an interview (Appendix A). With much encouragement and follow-up telephone contact with all the leavers, a least around one third of this is the sample around 10 to 12 (5 to 6 females) people are expected to involve in the interview. In addition, purposive sampling is selected to be used. Purposive sampling is one of the most common sampling approaches. Sample sizes can or can not be fixed prior to data collection. They depend on the times and resources available as well as the study's objectives (Denzin & Lincoln, 2000). Besides participant observation in cohort 4 is another.

Vice-rector of university, stakeholders in research department, and MEd director will be interview. In addition, retention policy will be visualized.

3.4 Data Collecting Procedures

Using two procedures to collect data-in-depth interview and participant observation. For in-depth-interviewing, contacting the samples via phone or email to interview is first point. MEd's director assistant provides the samples' contact list including sex, phone numbers and email address, which is an adequate key to access to contact the leavers. Then contact them and make sure that they understand the objectives of the study and have willingness voluntarily to take part in the study. Setting and time is set up as affordable as available. While in-depth interviewing, an unstructured interview which is based on literature review, following up on what the participant says and not interrupting, asking questions when they don't understand, avoiding leading questions, sharing experiences on occasion, tolerating silence, expressing polite ways to the participants is done. This approach is very useful as a data collection in situation where in-depth information is needed. The flexibility and comparability in interviews is available to obtain as the freedom (Kuma, 1996, p.109). While interviewing, voice recorded is also done for later review. The rest is about the participate observation. The settings are the classroom, MEd room, canteen, restaurants, clubs, etc.-where the cohort 4 students are with the researcher. The participants are the researcher's classmates. Attrition stuff is normally talked among them while break time, meal time, entertainment time, etc. That is informal and unplanned activities. Participant observation is when the researcher is a part in the group activities which being observed in the same situation and manner as its participants, without or with their senses that they have been observed (Kuma, 1996, p.106). Narrative is done as the method of recording observation. It is a description of the researcher's interaction in his own words. While observing the interaction, the researcher makes brief notes. After that the narrative form are made from the detailed notes. Moreover, narrative recording makes available deeper understanding into the interaction (Kuma, 1996, p.107). Rich-thick description for the readers is written in the research report and the trustworthiness is concerned.

3.5 Data analysis

The collected data will be analysed qualitatively. The transcripts of interviews must be many pages. And each interview transcript will be initially coded into thematic categories of personal perspective, difficulties and feedback. Any response that connected more than one category will be coded into all related categories (Gay et al, 2009, p. 452). Addition to it, meaningful and appropriate format of summary of the answer from qualitative questionnaire will be done as well along with the summary of note taking. At the end, matrixes, concept maps and graphs will be illustrated (Gay et al, 2009, p. 454). It will display perspective, difficulties and feedback of the dropout candidates. In short, a narrative and a thematic analysis are used to analyse the data qualitatively.

3.6 Ethical Considerations

The participation in in-depth-interviewing is completely voluntary. Research participant information and consent forms are designed and used. The interviewees have specific rights. They are free to reject to answer any questions and to withdraw from the interview any circumstances. Furthermore, the interviewees can check the transcription of the interview to make sure it is not harmful to them. The data is strictly confidential and anonymous.

3.7 Strength and Limitation of method

Flexibility and emphasis on the context is the strength of the methodology-case study. Moreover, this study has several limitations which affect the generalizability of the results. They consist of time constraint and financial issues. Because of these things, only one university and only one master program is thoroughly selected to be conducted so to some extent its result can reflect issues of only one university. Moreover, all relevant information depends on data and documents from interviewees and the MEd stakeholders, so self bias may exist. Moreover, the sample is only from cohort 1 to cohort 4 excluding cohort 5 the new cohort 2010-2012.The researcher works as a full-time staff for a private international school in Phnom Penh so only weekend time that the study can be done. The last thing is that the researcher has limited budget.