Students Perceptions of Service Quality. A Comparative Study of Public and Private Sector Universities in Pakistan
Keywords:Service quality, SERVQUAL, Students expectations, Students perceptions, students’ satisfaction, service quality gap, Quality education, Higher education institutions
In recent times, efforts to measure the quality of higher education institutions in Pakistan have surged. Several studies have shown that the quality of services comes up short on a quality appraisal device. This comparative study of public and private universities' service quality
provides insight based on students' perceptions and expectations. The study collected data through a well-structured three-part SERVQUAL instrument, administered to a sample of 218 students from 50 universities in Pakistan. The data was analyzed using descriptive statistics, t-Tests and one-way ANOVA. The results showed a gap between students’ expectations and perceptions. Students' satisfaction levels declined during their stay at universities. Public-sector universities reported more decline as compared to the private sector. Consistent with previous studies, students gave high priority to tangible assets such as classrooms, labs, and other infrastructure. Students were mostly dissatisfied with service quality aspects that involved relationships with teachers and administrative staff. Universities need to improve their response mechanisms to sympathetic behavior and work on improving the student-teacher relationship. We collected data during the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, the study provides new information on the service quality gap in the context of the COVID-19 crisis. The changing educational context due to COVID-19 demands universities and policymakers revisit students' needs and prioritization to provide them with personalized support based on social, emotional, and academic well-being.
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