Perceptions of stakeholders on the problems facing higher education
Implications for university governance and student engagement
Stakeholder theory analysis and research on the participation of stakeholders in university governance point to differences in the salience of different stakeholders in institutional planning and decision making. Despite their importance as the key public of higher education, students have been reported to be less influential in university governance in comparison to other groups. In this context, the paper investigates whether perceptions of problems facing higher education differ between two stakeholder groups, namely, students and high-ranking administrators. Qualitative research was used to collect information from 20 graduate students and four high-ranking government officials and/or administrators. The analysis of the data points to important differences in the perceptions of the two groups both in terms of the identified problems and the proposed solutions to these problems. This suggests that one reason for the limited and/or more passive role of students in university governance may relate to the fact that they have different views regarding the nature and/or importance of problems facing higher education. The findings of the study are used as the basis for suggestions that can enhance student engagement in higher education, especially in relation to strategic planning, university governance and the formulation of higher education policy objectives.
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