A Comparative Analysis of International Education Satisfaction Using Servqual

Article excerpt

University education, the world over, has undergone significant transformation and reform with respect to higher education systems meeting the growing role of information and communication revolution, and the demand for knowledge, which represent the new challenges of globalisation. These challenges are seen as threats as well as opportunities for higher education systems around the world. The driving force of globalisation is competition and the international education market has become fiercely competitive with different marketing strategies being implemented by educational institutions to attract the growing number of students seeking higher education. The objective of this paper is to examine the relationship between the SERVQUAL constructs proposed by Parasuraman et al (1988 & 1985) and the country of origin and satisfaction among four cohorts of Asian international postgraduate students studying in Australian universities. Country of origin is recognized as an important predictor of satisfaction and choice in the international education environment. The data used in this study is derived from a mail survey conducted among international postgraduate students from China, India, Indonesia and Thailand studying in five universities in Victoria, Australia. An adapted version of the SERVQUAL instrument was used to collect the data and was designed to measure the gap between student responses on expectations and perceptions of the university as a study destination on a seven point bi-polar scale. The responses were sought on 36 statements representing aspects of the operations and services of the university under desired (ideal) expectations of choice and post-choice perceptions. Scales were developed to investigate the relationship between the SERVQUAL constructs of reliability, responsiveness, assurance, empathy and tangibles and the country of origin and were shown to be reliable. Using ANOVA and MANOVA techniques, the study found significant differences between country of origin and the SERVQUAL constructs and discusses strategic implications and opportunities for higher educational institutions.

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INTRODUCTION

University education, the world over, has under gone significant transformation and reform with respect to higher education systems meeting the growing role of information and communication revolution, and the demand for knowledge, which represent the new challenges of globalisation (Salmi, 2001; Marginson, 1998). These challenges are seen as threats as well as opportunities for higher education systems around the world. Drucker (1997) has boldly predicted the demise of "traditional universities" with the growth of open and online universities. The extent to which these new learning institutions would impact on campus based teaching and learning is yet to be seen. This challenge, however, has produced significant changes in the way that higher educational institutions operate. These changes include the emergence of new types of institutions, patterns of financing and governance, curriculum reforms, and technological innovations (Salmi, 2001).

The driving force of globalisation is competition and the international education market has become fiercely competitive with different marketing strategies being implemented by educational institutions to attract the growing number of students seeking higher education. A study by International Development Programs (IDP) Australia estimates that the global demand for international higher education will grow fourfold to approximately 7.2 million students, by 2025, representing a 5.8% compound growth rate between 2000- 2025. According to this study, the major growth will come from the Asia Pacific, accounting for a compound growth rate of 7.8% and over 70% of the world demand. As regional blocks within Asia Pacific, South Asia and East Asia are expected to record the highest growth rates of 8.6% and 8. …