Factors Influencing the Quality of Higher Education in Africa: An Explanatory Sequential Mixed Methods Study

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Factors Influencing the Quality of Higher Education in Africa: An Explanatory Sequential Mixed Methods Study

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2020-11

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The unprecedented increase in the number of students enrolled in colleges and universities in Africa coupled with growing unemployment and underemployment of higher education graduates calls for a comprehensive and in-depth inquiry into the quality of higher education for the entire continent. The purpose of this study is to identify factors influencing the quality of higher education in Africa. In this research, the quality of higher education is viewed as a multidimensional construct influenced by a myriad of contextual and systemic factors both within and outside the realm of higher education institutions and higher education systems. The methodology for this research is explanatory sequential mixed methods involving both a quantitative and qualitative phase (Creswell & Creswell, 2018). Cross-national secondary data for 54 countries in Africa from diverse international databases were utilized in the quantitative phase for developing a reliable (coefficient alpha = .80), psychometrically sound multidimensional index for the quality of higher education in Africa. In terms of my analytical statistical work, demographic and educational factors loom much larger than economic ones. Through multiple regression analysis, a nation’s fertility rate was found to be an important predictor of the quality of higher education in Africa. Specifically, the relationship was found to be negative as expected. For the qualitative phase, data from in-depth expert interviews conducted with ten stakeholders were utilized as supplemental data for further addressing the study’s four key research questions and “understanding the story behind the numbers”. A key recommendation of the study is the need for a clear and inclusive operational definition of quality within the higher education context of each country in Africa, based on the unique history and culture of each country. Another key recommendation is the need for a concerted effort at a continental level to expand access to quality higher education for women, especially women from low-income families, marginalized communities, and rural communities.

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University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. November 2020. Major: Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development. Advisors: Deanne Magnusson, Gerald Fry. 1 computer file (PDF); xvii, 348 pages.

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Saidy, Awa. (2020). Factors Influencing the Quality of Higher Education in Africa: An Explanatory Sequential Mixed Methods Study. Retrieved from the University Digital Conservancy, https://hdl.handle.net/11299/252359.

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