Local and international students' perception on service quality: A case study on a South African University. Paper presented at the 1st Namibia Customer Service Awards & Conference, 2014.
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The quality question has now been thrust to the fore in the academic market because students and their sponsors more rigorously shop around for quality of programmes and of modes of delivery. Universities, especially those that thrive on intake of foreign students, must therefore accommodate this trend in their academic and support services. This paper conceptualises service quality within a university environment, teases out the economics of service quality, and determines if there are differences in the way local and international students at the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal perceive quality of academic and support services, using the SERVQUAL model for data collection and the Mann-Whitney test. Data was collected from a sample of 380 students drawn from all five campuses of the University. The Mann-Whitney test results indicate that there is no statistically significant difference in the Gap scores between local and international students on service quality at the 95% level; that expectations of foreign students on services provided by the international office were not met; and that students ranked the University’s services as “poor”. The management of the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal should therefore seriously consider the strategies recommended here for improvements in quality of academic and support services and in the institution’s ranking inside and outside South Africa.
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