Academic journal article Management : Journal of Contemporary Management Issues

Quality Assessment in Higher Education Using the Servqual Model

Academic journal article Management : Journal of Contemporary Management Issues

Quality Assessment in Higher Education Using the Servqual Model

Article excerpt

1. INTRODUCTION

It is a proven fact that higher education plays an important role in achieving economic development. In the current economic shift towards knowledge economies, the role of higher education is even more emphasized. Higher education has three vital functions in a knowledge economy: knowledge creation, knowledge diffusion and knowledge transfer. Basically, it is expected that higher education institutions provide skilled knowledge workers with all the necessary technical, managerial, professional and other skills. Higher education should enhance research activities and strengthen ties with the real sector in order to enhance innovation and competitiveness of enterprises. Third function of higher education institutions in a knowledge economy, i.e. transmission of knowledge, takes place primarily through teaching activities. Various studies have confirmed the relevance of higher education for economic development. This relevance is even more important in transition economies, such as Bosnia and Herzegovina. Higher education in this country is facing serious problems, and the most important one is related to the quality of higher education itself.

However, in order to explain the necessity for quality improvement in higher education in Bosnia and Herzegovina, three dominant reasons which put the issue of quality in higher education into the focus of this research need to be explained:

1 Bologna declaration and its requirements regarding quality assurance in higher education.

2 Changed legal framework and requirements made by ministries, accreditation agencies, etc.

3 Increased competition among higher education institutions due to mushrooming of private higher education institutions.

4 Increasing number of students leaving Bosnia and Herzegovina to study abroad.

In this context, higher education institutions can only benefit from quality higher education service as a competitive advantage. According to Bologna Stocktaking reports introduced by Bologna follow-up group in 2007 1 and Bologna process national reports from 2003 until 2012 2, quality assurance, especially internal quality assurance, has been identified as one of the key problems at higher education institutions in Bosnia and Herzegovina. In order to overcome this serious quality problem, higher education institutions need to develop and implement quality management systems and use tools for its improvement.

2. INTEGRATING QUALITY ASSURANCE AND STRATEGIC MANAGEMENT AT HIGHER EDUCATION INSTITUTIONS

Although strategic management and quality assurance in higher education are disciplines which have been developing independently of each other, contemporary higher education institutions management approaches should integrate both of these approaches. The assessment of quality at higher education institutions is in the heart of the quality assurance system. Based on the results of this assessment, an improvement plan should be made. These plans are usually devised for longer periods of time since they include human resources, infrastructure improvement etc. and they can be considered strategic goals for higher education institutions.

The results of service quality assessment should be used as inputs in planning and defining a strategy. Since quality improvement can include improvement in various areas such as human resource management, finance and budget, infrastructure, ICT infrastructure, administrative processes etc. a strategic plan is necessary in order to meet the goals. Quality assessment and quality management should become tools for strategic development of higher education institutions. According to Kettunen (2012), the quality assurance system supplements strategic management, because the purpose of quality assurance is to ensure that higher education institutions meet their strategic objectives. We would argue that vice versa results of quality assessment are used to define strategic objectives of higher education institutions. …

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