Determinants of service quality for external quality assurance agencies in higher education: A case study of the Commission for University Education, Kenya
Mutinda, Joyce Babbie Mwikali
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This study sought to identify the determinants of service quality for external quality assurance agencies (EQAAs) in higher education through a case study of Commission for University Education (CUE), an EQAA in Kenya. It was occasioned by inter alia the dissatisfaction expressed by universities on the quality of services they received from CUE. The study, which was conducted between December 2012 and March 2013, used a cross-sectional exploratory survey design. It employed the convergent mixed method approach informed by the pragmatic philosophy. Quantitative and qualitative data were collected concurrently using a self-completion questionnaire and an interview schedule respectively. The study involved 276 participants drawn from 27 accredited private universities in Kenya. Factor analysis was done for quantitative data using the IBM SPSS Statistics version 20.0, while manual thematic analysis was used for qualitative data. The quantitative and qualitative results were then triangulated to form the basis for conclusions and recommendations of the study. The study established that although private universities were not satisfied with the quality of the external quality assurance (EQA) services that they received from CUE, they were aware that the service quality was determined by various factors, which they classified as governmental, organizational, technological and environmental. The findings further revealed that government, organization and the environment were direct determinants of service quality for CUE. However, technology was not considered to be a direct determinant of service quality for CUE. From the results, it was concluded that addressing the issues raised within each determinant would lead to improved service quality of CUE and similar EQAAs. The study therefore recommends, to different stakeholders, the utilization of the identified direct determinants, with their respective dimensions, with a view to improving service quality of EQA services. The identified determinants should also be used as a basis for development of a tool for measuring service quality of EQAAs in higher education.