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December 2015

Satisfaction of Students towards Quality in Higher Education-A Study of Higher Education Sector Punjab (India)

 

HARPREET KAUR

Research Fellow

Department of Commerce

Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar (Punjab)

Email-id preeti356@yahoo.co.in

 

Dr. G.S. BHALLA

Professor

Department of Commerce

Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar (Punjab)

Email-id hellogsbhalla@gmail.com

 

 

Abstract

Education plays a very important role in the growth and prosperity of any nation. Punjab, a well known state of north India, is a leader in providing education. The Punjab education system has witnessed a significant expansion in the recent years, both in terms of number of institutions as well as students enrolment. But, the quality of education still remains poor. The present study aims to evaluate the effectiveness of the higher educational institutions in providing quality education, from the view-point of students in Punjab. The study covers three districts of Punjab i.e. Amritsar, Jalandhar and Ludhiana. Primary data has been collected to achieve the objectives of the study. A well structured questionnaire containing 32 items has been used for the purpose of the study. The respondents have been asked to rate the quality of education, using a five point likert scale. Descriptive and Exploratory Factor analysis have been used to analyze the data. Percentages, graphs and diagrams also have been used for analysis of the study. The factor analysis has resulted in eight factors showing the satisfaction of students regarding the quality of education in their institution. As per the results, the availability of infrastructure facilities as an important factor followed by placement services, education environment, extracurricular activities, knowledge up gradation, academic facilities, student support services and academic staff.

Keywords: Education, Punjab, Quality, Satisfaction, Students

Introduction

Education is becoming much more of a “product” with varying customers and stakeholders, and what the latter now demand is satisfaction and value for money (Sanhey et.al, 2008). It is education that develop expertise, excellence and knowledge that leads to the overall development of any economy (Tanmay,2011). Higher education is the backbone of any society. It is the quality of higher education that decides the quality of human resources in a country (Mishra,). Quality has become the defining element of education in the 21st century in the context of new social realities (NAAC). But, the quality of Indian higher education system lags behind. The overall quality scenario of higher education in India does not match with the global quality standards. The quality measures play a vital role in the education provided by higher educational institutions. In higher education and institutions must design its basic goals and objectives to satisfy customers by offering market drive academic and career programs by providing quality teaching and learning environment, and by providing adequate student support services (Ibekwe; 2006, Kaur; 2010). Quality could be determined by their internal as well as external resources viz; students experience, faculty experience, infrastructure facilities, learning resources etc. In the present paper an attempt has been made to examine the quality of higher education in Punjab from the viewpoint of students.

Higher Education in Punjab

Higher education department, government of Punjab provided education for undergraduate and post graduate level in various discipline under the supervision and guidance of the education minister and principal secretary higher education, government of Punjab. The state has been also ranked 7th amongst the all Indian states in terms of education.

Number of Higher Educational Institutions in Punjab

Universities

12

Government colleges

46

Government aided colleges

136

Private colleges

303

 

 

Source: Directorate of Public Instruction, Punjab

 

In general development of higher education in Punjab is seen to be relatively superior but higher education suffers from several deficiencies. Lack of infrastructure facilities, excessive tuitions fees, excessive and discriminationary system of Admissions, financial constraints, quota system, political interference, lack of autonomy and poor quality research are some problems in higher education. The quality standards in higher education are low and declining.

Review of Literature

Quality management in education is a priority issue today for research and analysis. Various studies have been conducted on examining the quality indicators in higher education. Bagalkoti et al. (2006) investigated the perception of students regarding quality in higher education. Study was conducted at Karnataka University in India. A random sample of 90 students was selected. Ratio analysis was used for analyzing the data. Researcher found the following dimensions of quality management; 1) mode of entry into the courses; 2) nature of curriculum; 3) quality of teaching; 4) evaluation process; 5) infrastructure for higher education. Researcher recommended that multidisciplinary curriculum should be developed to fulfill the expectations of learner, teachers, parents, employers and society; 2) interactive teaching learning process should be adopted; 3) appropriate and effective feedback mechanism should be established. Butt and Rehman (2010) investigated the determinants of students’ satisfaction in higher education in Pakistan and their impact on the level of satisfaction. The sample size comprised of 350 students from different private and public sector universities. Study focused on the factors like; 1) teachers’ expertise; 2) course offered; 3) learning environment and; 4) classroom facilities. The results of regression analysis revealed that all factors have significant and positive impact on student’s satisfaction in higher education. Jenssen et al. (2010) examined the overall satisfaction of students towards students learning experience. The analysis revealed that the academic and pedagogic quality of teaching were crucial determinant of students satisfaction. Khosravi et al. (2013) focused on the determination of factors affecting student satisfaction of Islamic university of Iran. Sample size was included 324 undergraduate and 60 graduate students from 10 colleges of Islamic Azad University. Seven factors were extracted by applying factor analysis. Academic advising effectiveness as a most important aspect of students’ educational experience followed by campus support services, campus life, responsiveness to diverse population, safety and security, campus climate and financial aid effectiveness.

NEED OF THE STUDY

Global competitiveness has necessitated for education industry. With the expansion of higher educational institutions there is a need to develop quality assurance measures to improve quality in higher education. In general development of education in Punjab is seen to be relatively superior but lack of infrastructure facilities, excessive tuitions fees, excessive and discriminationary system of Admissions, financial constraints, quota system, political interference, lack of autonomy and poor quality research are some problems in higher education. An education set up characteristics a large number of interested parties such as students, faculty, supporting staff, administration, parents of the students. (Mahapatra and Khan, 2007). Students are the primary customer and their satisfaction is vital for determining quality dimensions of higher education. So, the objective of the study is to measure the satisfaction of students towards quality in higher education in Punjab.

Research Methodology

Primary data has been collected to achieve the objectives of the study. The study covered three districts of Punjab i.e. Amritsar, Jalandhar and Ludhiana. A well structured self administered questionnaire has been used for the purpose of the study. Data have been collected from various colleges of Punjab through purposive sampling. A total of 210 questionnaires have been distributed and 189 questionnaires have been received. Out of 189 questionnaires 21 questionnaires were found to be incomplete so, finally 162 questionnaires have been considered for further analysis which represents 77.14% of the response rate.

Tools of Analysis

Exploratory Factor analysis and descriptive have been used to analyze the data. Exploratory Factor analysis is a data reduction tool and represents correlated variables with a smaller set of derived variables. Appropriateness of the data to apply factor analysis has been checked with the help of following measures (Kaur, 2010).

Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin Measure of Sampling Adequacy: KMO measure the sampling adequacy. This measure varies between 0 and 1, and values closer to 1 are better. A value of .6 is a suggested minimum 
Bartlett’s test of sphercity: Bartlett’s test of sphercity is a test statistics used to examine the hypothesis that the variables are uncorrelated in the population.
Communalities: communalities are the amount of variance a variable shares with all the other variables.
Eigenvalue: The Eigenvalue represent the total variance explained by each factor.
Factor Loadings: Factor loadings are the simple correlation between the variables and factors.

 

Development of Research Instrument

The literature review (Kwan and Ng, 1999; Gruber et al., 2010; Tsinidou et al., 2010; Annamdevula and bellamkonda, 2012; Uche, 2012; Jain et al., 2013; Ahmad and Masud, 2014) provided the basis for generating questionnaire. Questionnaire divided into three parts. Part A containing 53 statements related to perception of students towards quality of higher education.  The respondents have been asked to rate the quality of higher education, using a five point likert scale ranging from “strongly agree” as 5 to “strongly disagree” as 1. Initial scale was consisting of 53 items. Exploratory factor analysis has been run to improve the survey questionnaire. Factor loading more than .45 retained and 32 items retained for further analysis. Part B contained 3 questions including one open ended question on suggestion about the quality in higher education. Part C contained demographic profile of the students.

Data Analysis and Interpretation

This section shows the details about the descriptive statistics and the results of the students’ rating. Tables and graphs have been used to make the data more understandable. It also gives the details of the factor analysis.

Descriptive Statistics

Description

Percentages

Gender:

Male

Female

 

34%

66%

Total

100

Age:

Below 18

18-20

20-22

Above 22

 

1.9

27.8

51.9

18.5

Total

100

Courses

BA

B.Com

BBA

B.sc

MA

M.com

 

7.4%

24.1%

4.9%

9.9%

8.6%

30.2%

Total

100

 

The results showed that as greater (66%) were female than male (34%). Respondents were aged below 18 (1.9%) followed by 18-20 (27.8%), 20-22 (51.9%) and above 22 (18.5%).In terms of educational background (7.4 %.) students had a background of BA, (24.1%) B.Com, (4.9%) BBA, (9.9%) B.Sc, (8.6%) MA and (30.2%) M.Com.

Students Rating for Overall Quality of the Higher Education

The questions asked to students’ rate the overall quality of higher education in the scale of 1-10, where increasing order indicates good quality. The scale has been given 5 options “1-2 (very poor), 2-4 (poor), 4-6 (average), 6-8 (good), and 8-10 (very good)”. The figure 1 shows the percentage of students rated the overall quality of higher education.

 

Figure 1

 

Optimum Utilization of Resources

Students were asked about the efficient utilization of resources by the higher educational institution. Figure 2 exhibits that majority of students responded that higher educational institution not using its resources optimally.

 

Figure 2

Exploratory Factor Analysis

Factor analysis has been run using principal component matrix and varimax rotation to examine the validity and reliability of the statements. Thirty two statements loaded more than .45 is kept under 8 factors using SPSS 17. In table 1 the null hypothesis is that the variables are uncorrelated in the population rejected by Bartlett’s test of sphercity. The approximate chi square statistics is 2934.554 (very large value) with 496 degree of freedom, which is significant at the 0.05 level. The value of KMO statistics (.863) is also large (.6). Thus factor analysis may be considered an appropriate technique for analyzing the perception of students towards quality in higher education.

KMO and Bartlett's Test

Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin Measure of Sampling Adequacy.

.863

Bartlett's Test of Sphericity

Approx. Chi-Square

2934.554

df

496

Sig.

.000

 

Table 2 states that there are 8 factors which have Eigen value of 1 or more than 1. Eight factors extracted together account for 70.03% of total variance. With only 8 factors, reducing the 32 we have lost only 29.97% of the information content while 70.03% is retained by the 8 factors extracted out of the 32 original factors.

Total Variance Explained

Component

Initial Eigenvalues

Extraction Sums of Squared Loadings

Rotation Sums of Squared Loadings

Total

% of Variance

Cumulative %

Total

% of Variance

Cumulative %

Total

% of Variance

Cumulative %

1

9.726

30.395

30.395

9.726

30.395

30.395

4.033

12.602

12.602

2

2.874

8.981

39.376

2.874

8.981

39.376

3.479

10.873

23.475

3

2.772

8.663

48.039

2.772

8.663

48.039

3.118

9.743

33.218

4

1.875

5.859

53.898

1.875

5.859

53.898

2.952

9.224

42.442

5

1.547

4.835

58.732

1.547

4.835

58.732

2.383

7.448

49.890

6

1.331

4.159

62.891

1.331

4.159

62.891

2.267

7.083

56.973

7

1.232

3.850

66.741

1.232

3.850

66.741

2.126

6.643

63.615

8

1.055

3.297

70.039

1.055

3.297

70.039

2.056

6.424

70.039

9

.885

2.766

72.805

 

 

 

 

 

 

10

.792

2.476

75.281

 

 

 

 

 

 

11

.753

2.354

77.635

 

 

 

 

 

 

12

.703

2.198

79.833

 

 

 

 

 

 

13

.637

1.990

81.823

 

 

 

 

 

 

14

.564

1.764

83.586

 

 

 

 

 

 

15

.501

1.565

85.151

 

 

 

 

 

 

16

.466

1.456

86.608

 

 

 

 

 

 

17

.438

1.369

87.977

 

 

 

 

 

 

18

.389

1.216

89.193

 

 

 

 

 

 

19

.371

1.161

90.354

 

 

 

 

 

 

20

.362

1.131

91.485

 

 

 

 

 

 

21

.351

1.096

92.581

 

 

 

 

 

 

22

.300

.939

93.520

 

 

 

 

 

 

23

.294

.920

94.440

 

 

 

 

 

 

24

.271

.848

95.288

 

 

 

 

 

 

25

.249

.777

96.065

 

 

 

 

 

 

26

.244

.764

96.829

 

 

 

 

 

 

27

.224

.701

97.530

 

 

 

 

 

 

28

.196

.613

98.143

 

 

 

 

 

 

29

.168

.526

98.669

 

 

 

 

 

 

30

.155

.484

99.153

 

 

 

 

 

 

31

.143

.447

99.600

 

 

 

 

 

 

32

.128

.400

100.000

 

 

 

 

 

 

Extraction Method: Principal Component Analysis.

 

 

Factor Analysis Results (Rotated)

Factors

Statements

Factor Loadings

Mean Score

S.D.

Factor 1

Infrastructure Facilities

 

 

 

1

There is enough space for parking in the college.

.814

3.57

1.02

2

Sufficient playgrounds are available.

.789

3.61

1.08

3

Adequate sports material is available.

.770

3.52

1.03

4

Sufficient first aid medical facilities are available.

.759

3.33

1.05

5

Fresh drinking water is available.

.690

3.62

1.07

6

Classrooms are well equipped.

.547

3.27

1.08

7

College has well maintained study rooms.

.483

3.27

1.08

 

Cronbach’s Alfa=.90

Percentage of variance=12.602

 

 

 

Factor 2

Placement Services

 

 

 

1

Number of campus placement is good.

.865

2.97

1.32

2

Placement services are provided by the college.

.831

3.06

1.32

3

Career counseling sessions are conducted at regular interval

.830

2.77

1.22

4

Students get good salary packages.

.829

2.88

1.17

 

Cronbach’s Alfa=.91

Percentage of variance=10.873

 

 

 

 

Factor 3

Education Environment

 

 

 

1

There is a congenial environment for study.

.854

3.83

.882

 

Students respect teachers.

.701

4.03

.824

3

Teachers in the college are innovative.

.676

3.69

.880

4

Teachers in the college give proper attention to students.

.650

3.77

.941

5

Teacher taught ratio is a s per norms.

.645

3.65

.888

 

Cronbach’s Alfa=.824

Percentage of variance=9.743

 

 

 

Factor 4

Extracurricular activities

 

 

 

1

College has a NCC unit.

.801

4.01

.956

2

Students participate in NCC activities.

.800

3.96

.955

3

Students actively participate in extracurricular activities.

.764

3.87

1.022

4

Extracurricular activities are organized by the college.

.745

4.02

.878

 

Cronbach’s Alfa=.827

Percentage of variance=9.224

 

 

 

Factor 5

Knowledge Up gradation

 

 

 

1

Guest lectures are arranged.

.819

3.19

1.04

2

students actively participate in guest lectures

.757

3.36

1.10

3

Educational visits are organized for students

.733

3.10

1.27

 

Cronbach’s Alfa=.81

Percentage of variance=7.448

 

 

 

Factor 6

Academic facilities   

 

 

 

1

Sufficient computers are available in my college.

.781

3.44

1.29

2

Students are informed regularly about updated library collection.

.675

2.91

1.28

3

Libraries are rich and updated with material related to subjects.

.536

3.48

1.04

 

Cronbach’s Alfa=.714

Percentage of variance=7.083

 

 

 

Factor 7

Student support services

 

 

 

1

The college has students’ grievances redressal cell

.823

3.13

1.14

2

Grievances are redressed effectively.

.783

3.11

1.05

3

The teachers pay considerable attention to the personality development of students.

.544

3.32

1.18

 

Cronbach’s Alfa=.784

Percentage of variance=6.643

 

 

 

Factor 8

Academic staff

 

 

 

1

Teachers inspire students for study

.777

3.96

.806

2

Teachers are easily accessible

.703

3.72

.927

3

Teachers share a cordial relationship with students.

.676

3.87

.842

 

Cronbach’s Alfa=.707

Percentage of variance=6.424

 

 

 

 

 

Percentage of total variance has found to be 70.03%. The reliability for each factor were tested by Cronbach’s alpha (α).The value of α  for each dimension was .90, .91, .82, .83, .81, .71, .78, .70 respectively. The overall reliability coefficient (α) of .924 is far above the thumb rule i.e. 0.6.

In the rotated factor matrix factor 1 has high coefficient for statement ( There is enough space for parking in the college, Sufficient playgrounds are available, Adequate sports material is available, Sufficient first aid medical facilities are available, Fresh drinking water is available, Classrooms are well equipped and College has well maintained study rooms). This factor has been labeled as infrastructure facilitiesand it accounts for 12.602% of variance. This factor is given average rating. Students responded neutral for statements related to infrastructure facilities.

Factor 2 has high coefficient for statements (Number of campus placement is good, Placement services are provided by the college, Career counseling sessions are conducted at regular interval and Students get good salary packages). So, this factor labeled as placement servicesaccounted for 10.873% of variance. Students were disagree  with statements related to placement services.

Factor 3 has high factor loadings for statements (There is a congenial environment for study, Students respect teachers, Teachers in the college are innovative, Teachers in the college give proper attention to students, Teacher-taught ratio as per norms). This factor may be labeled as education environment with 9.743% of variance and attitude of students were positive towards education environment.

Factor 4 has high coefficient for statement (College has a NCC unit, Students actively participate in NCC activities, Students participate in extracurricular activities, Extracurricular activities are organized by the college).Therefore this factor may be labeled as extracurricular activities with 9.224% of variance. Students respond positively for statements related to extracurricular activities.

Factor 5 named as knowledge up gradation accounted for 7.448 % of variance whereas item loadings ranged from .733 to .819.Students were agreed with these statements.

Academic facilities being factor 6 have recorded with 7.083% variance. And item loadings ranged from .536 to .781. Students responded disagree for statements related to academic facilities.

Factor 7 has high coefficient for statements (The college has students grievances redressal cell, Grievances are redressed effectively, The teachers pay considerable attention to the personality development of students). This factor may be labeled as student support services and accounted for 6.643% of variance. Positive respond was found for all statements.

Factor 8 has high factor loadings for statements (Teachers inspire students for study, Teachers are easily accessible, Teachers share a cordial relationship with students) and this factor may be labeled as academic staff with 6.424% of variance. Positive respond was found for all statements.

One open ended question has been asked to students to give suggestions for the improvement of quality in higher education. Majority of the students suggested and demanded for good placement services by the higher educational institutions, improvement in infrastructure, provision of more practical training and focus on the skill development, proper parking facilities, hostel facilities and transportation facilities for rural area students.

Conclusion and Implications

The question of quality in higher education is directly related to the quality of teachers, students and infrastructure facilities provided by the educational institutes (ullah et al, 2011). The study showed that students view infrastructure facilities as an important factor followed by placement services, education environment, extracurricular activities, knowledge up gradation, academic facilities, student support services and academic staff. So, higher educational institutions should try to engage themselves in the campus placement activities. Infrastructure of the institutions should be improved. The students should be provided with up-to date equipment and learning material.

 

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