The emergence of private higher education (PHE) in Ghana: an assessment of the internal quality assurance mechanisms in private universities in Ghana

Odjidja, Josephine (2021) The emergence of private higher education (PHE) in Ghana: an assessment of the internal quality assurance mechanisms in private universities in Ghana. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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“An astonishing academic transformation has taken place in Ghana in the last three decades, evidenced by the infiltration of private sector ownership in the higher education sector.”

The 1990s saw a new phenomenon emerge in Ghana – it was the beginning of private higher education following a deregulation of the higher education sector to allow the private sector to venture into the provision of higher education. Since then, there been an upsurge in the number of private universities in Ghana with 98 private universities and private university colleges, currently. While this emergence has made higher education more accessible, the society has some concerns about the compromise of quality and standards at the private universities.

The topic of this thesis addressed an understudied and essential phenomenon in the history of Ghana. Based on the interpretive theory of social constructivism, this study used qualitative research methods such as interviews, questionnaires and document analysis to explore the perspectives of quality assurance leads on quality assurance mechanisms in eight private universities and two regulatory bodies in Ghana. Specifically, the study focused on efficacy of the frameworks used by private universities to assess their inputs, processes, outputs and outcomes with the view to understand their robustness, evolvement of the systems and ultimately model a quality assurance framework for the sector. The findings, which were analysed using thematic analysis, will make a wider impact by generating new knowledge on the dynamics of private higher education, which will, ultimately, be of value to policy makers who develop quality assurance policies to augment the sustainability of private higher education and allay public concerns.

This study is divided into seven chapters. The first three chapters dealt with the development of higher education and quality in both the Ghanaian and international contexts while the latter chapters dealt with the analysis and discussion of the findings and the researcher’s final thoughts and recommendations.

The findings of the study indicated that although each of the participating universities had a quality assurance unit, the existing internal quality assurance practices focused mainly on planning, implementing the plan, monitoring and evaluation. The processes that were identified to be weak or non-existent were data collection, benchmarking and improving quality. On the back of this study was the submission that quality is a matter of agreement and setting of parameters within the specific context of the country. In addition, the focus on quality indicators varied from one university to the other. One applicable theory that underpinned this submission was the Attributive Theory of Quality which posits that quality is made up of dimensions or attributes which must interact with each other to form quality. However, as the study informed us that not all the attributes of quality are captured and assured in the participating universities, coupled with the finding that quality indicators differed from one university to the other, an important theoretical implication is that the National Accreditation Board in Ghana, in consultation with stakeholders must initiate a debate at the national level to set the parameters for quality in Ghana. Ultimately, the major contribution made by the study was the modelling of a quality assurance framework that considers the deficiencies that emanated from the study.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: McGrath, Simon
Thondhlana, Juliet
Keywords: Education, Higher, Ghana; Free enterprise; Universities and colleges; Quality assurance
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher education
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Social Sciences, Law and Education > School of Education
UK Campuses > Faculty of Social Sciences, Law and Education > Institute of Work, Health and Organisations
Item ID: 66874
Depositing User: Odjidja, Josephine
Date Deposited: 31 Dec 2021 04:41
Last Modified: 31 Dec 2021 04:41

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