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Examination of national university operating standards within post-1995 universities in Tanzania

Examination of national university operating standards within post-1995 universities in Tanzania
Examination of national university operating standards within post-1995 universities in Tanzania
In an effort to ensure that universities possess the quality of being global, national and local (glonacal) institutions, some developing countries have engaged in setting standards and regulations to achieve the goal. However, unlike developed economies, the gap between the global and local contexts in which universities in developing countries operate is huge. As a result, there is a need to examine the dovetailing of national standards within the operating milieu of young universities in Tanzania. The study has three objectives: (i) to examine how national standards were formulated and enforced; (ii) to examine their relevance, in terms of how they encapsulated the ‘glonacal concept’ of the university, and their compatibility, in terms of how harmoniously they worked with inherent university values such as autonomy and creativity; and (iii) to use the opinions of students and academics to examine the extent to which the standards are reflected by the operating milieu in post-1995 universities, with a focus on resources.

Informed by a dialectic paradigmatic philosophical stance and a convergent parallel research design of a mixed methods approach, qualitative data were analysed using thematic strategy with the help of NVivo 11. For quantitative data, SPSS version 24 facilitated descriptive analysis to understand the milieu of universities in relation to standards, while correlation using Cramer’s V assessed the relationships and their strengths for particular indicators related to standards across universities. The sample consisted of nine university officials, 225 academics, 1146 students from the four post-1995 universities and four officials from the Agency.

The study found that the formulation of standards constituted of policy borrowing and learning from external systems, and that the process of their construction was based on the selective participation of stakeholders. Their enforcement was found to have largely followed soft power approaches. Regarding their relevance, they were found to reflect predominantly global aspects. Despite some complaints, they were largely compatible with inherent university values such as autonomy and creativity. Lastly, notwithstanding the commendable efforts expended by both the Agency and universities, the operating milieu in universities were found to reflect poorly the desired goals of the standards.

These findings reinforce the theory that the dependence of developing countries’ higher education systems on those of developed countries’ systems through policy borrowing and learning has continued to cause stagnation in the achievement of their desired goals. Moreover, the findings confirm that, when applied to resource-constrained or mediatory characterised contexts, ‘soft power’ enforcement approaches are likely to result in precarious results associated with a relative lack of success or success may take longer than when their counterpart ‘coercive’ approaches are applied. Consequently, there exists a need to combine in a smarter way the application of soft power and coercive enforcement approaches and also the need for universities to learn how to enhance the learning experience in a resource-constrained context.
University of Southampton
William, Yohana Stephano
14e5f4ed-698b-46fe-b942-f5c32067ef9b
William, Yohana Stephano
14e5f4ed-698b-46fe-b942-f5c32067ef9b
Tomlinson, Michael
9dd1cbf0-d3b0-421e-8ded-b3949ebcee18

William, Yohana Stephano (2018) Examination of national university operating standards within post-1995 universities in Tanzania. University of Southampton, Doctoral Thesis, 247pp.

Record type: Thesis (Doctoral)

Abstract

In an effort to ensure that universities possess the quality of being global, national and local (glonacal) institutions, some developing countries have engaged in setting standards and regulations to achieve the goal. However, unlike developed economies, the gap between the global and local contexts in which universities in developing countries operate is huge. As a result, there is a need to examine the dovetailing of national standards within the operating milieu of young universities in Tanzania. The study has three objectives: (i) to examine how national standards were formulated and enforced; (ii) to examine their relevance, in terms of how they encapsulated the ‘glonacal concept’ of the university, and their compatibility, in terms of how harmoniously they worked with inherent university values such as autonomy and creativity; and (iii) to use the opinions of students and academics to examine the extent to which the standards are reflected by the operating milieu in post-1995 universities, with a focus on resources.

Informed by a dialectic paradigmatic philosophical stance and a convergent parallel research design of a mixed methods approach, qualitative data were analysed using thematic strategy with the help of NVivo 11. For quantitative data, SPSS version 24 facilitated descriptive analysis to understand the milieu of universities in relation to standards, while correlation using Cramer’s V assessed the relationships and their strengths for particular indicators related to standards across universities. The sample consisted of nine university officials, 225 academics, 1146 students from the four post-1995 universities and four officials from the Agency.

The study found that the formulation of standards constituted of policy borrowing and learning from external systems, and that the process of their construction was based on the selective participation of stakeholders. Their enforcement was found to have largely followed soft power approaches. Regarding their relevance, they were found to reflect predominantly global aspects. Despite some complaints, they were largely compatible with inherent university values such as autonomy and creativity. Lastly, notwithstanding the commendable efforts expended by both the Agency and universities, the operating milieu in universities were found to reflect poorly the desired goals of the standards.

These findings reinforce the theory that the dependence of developing countries’ higher education systems on those of developed countries’ systems through policy borrowing and learning has continued to cause stagnation in the achievement of their desired goals. Moreover, the findings confirm that, when applied to resource-constrained or mediatory characterised contexts, ‘soft power’ enforcement approaches are likely to result in precarious results associated with a relative lack of success or success may take longer than when their counterpart ‘coercive’ approaches are applied. Consequently, there exists a need to combine in a smarter way the application of soft power and coercive enforcement approaches and also the need for universities to learn how to enhance the learning experience in a resource-constrained context.

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Published date: March 2018

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 429612
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/429612
PURE UUID: 94e3fb88-11f5-4cf1-bf71-1e11ed1e306c

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Date deposited: 01 Apr 2019 16:31
Last modified: 01 Apr 2019 16:31

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Contributors

Author: Yohana Stephano William
Thesis advisor: Michael Tomlinson

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