Bachelor of Education Programmes Offered in Private Universities in Tanzania within the Framework of the Inter-university Council of East Africa
Internal Stakeholders’ Eye on Quality of Their Products
Elaboration 2019 17 Pages
Table of Contents
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
Conclusion and Recommendations
This study was to analyze whether there were significant differences in perception of stakeholders on quality of the products of Bachelor of education programmes offered in private universities in Tanzania within the framework of the inter-university council of East Africa. Two organisational theories and approaches- open systems and total quality management theory –provided a theoretical lens to explain how various quality variables affect quality of Bachelor of Education programmes offered in private universities in Tanzania. Concurrent embedded mixed-methods design was used in the study, including questionnaires, interview guide, document analysis schedule and observation schedule for triangulation. The sample size comprised of 453 participants including students, lectures, and head of departments, faculty deans, and directors of quality assurance from three private universities offering Bachelor of Education programmes in Tanzania. Quantitative data was analysed using descriptive and inferential statistics while qualitative data was thematically presented and discussed. The t-test was used to establish whether there was any significant difference in perceptions among stakeholders, while a one-way ANOVA was employed in order to examine the difference in perception across the three universities. The findings revealed that there was a significant difference among stakeholders in the quality of products of the Bachelor of Education programmes offered in private universities in Tanzania. The study concluded that aspects of assessing the quality of products of the Bachelor of education programmes offered in private universities in Tanzania were highly rated and/or perceived positively by stakeholders. This is because stakeholders greatly recognize and consider the influence that quality has on the products of the Bachelor of education programmes. It is therefore recommended that privateuniversities should bring stakeholders onboard for they are key players in determining and ensuring that the quality of Bachelor of education programmes meet and satisfy the requirements, standards and framework of the inter-university council of east Africa- IUCEA.
Key words: stakeholders, programme, product, quality, private universities, bachelor of education
University education is expected to yield higher individual income and contributes to the construction of social capital and long-term economic growth. Consequently, an increase in university education desirability and effective demand has been on, with millions of students getting enrolled in universities and other tertiary institutions (Knight, 2013). The fluid trends in higher education advocate that institutions should take cognizant of the effect of globalisation on knowledge. The commodification of knowledge and the vibrant scenario of the international labourforce have definitely impacted not onlyon policy and curriculum reforms, but also on the dynamics related to programme implementation and its quality assurance.Yankson (2013) asserts that the process of assuring society that education standards are adequate in an increasingly global market is paramount.
Knowledge, as an economic commodity, has put pressure on national higher education systems tooto ensure that they are competitively encyclopedic in the dynamic international marketplace.Globally, there has been considerable concern pertaining to the quality and outcomes of university education (Dill, Gornitzka&Maassen, Grigg,Marginson&Wende, and Neave, in Geda, 2014). This is evidenced by recent rapid expansion of university education with new universities being established. Apparently, the scenario has augmented the respective enrolment rates. In the 1990s and early 2000s, the average enrolment rate in developing countries was below 5 percent compared to the current average enrolment rate of above 6.2 percent per year in low- and lower-middle-income countries, and by 7.3 percent per year in upper middle-income countries (Stander, 2016).
According to UNESCO’s Global Education Monitoring Report 2018; the number of enrolled students in African universities and other institutions of higher learning doubled from six million to more than 12 million in the last decade (UNESCO, 2018). In Sub-Saharan Africa, University education is seen by governments as a way to economic development and progress and perceived by households as the surest way to higher wages and future prosperity – especially in the context of poor households (Kwesiga, 2013; Kurasha and Gwarinda, 2010).
The rate of increase in university enrolments in Sub-Saharan Africa, subsequently shall double in 5 years, to hit a growth rate of nearly or above 15 percent per year; the fastest in the world, so far. This notion was underlined by the World Bank Report (2017): “Sharing higher education’s promise beyond the few in sub-Saharan Africa report” – depicting Sub-Saharan Africa, with the fastest enrolment rate in its tertiary/university gross enrolment ratio (GER) amid 1970-2013 at 4.3 percent every year, faster than the worldwide rate of 2.8 percent. Several reasons were adduced to this phenomenon, including: the rising interest driven by enhanced access to primary and secondary education; an increasing youthful populace; and employment moving far from peasant agro activities to advanced manufacturing and service sector (Darvas,Shang, Shen,Bilal,2017).
World Bank (2018) - concludes that, hitherto, the fiscal and management challenges faced by developing countries have posed a considerable challenge to the sustainability of the ever rising number of established universities in these countries. East Africa, with its three pioneer countries and the subsequent admission of Rwanda and Burundi as partner states of EAC with their increasing number of established universitiesare not exceptional.
It is in this regard Nkunya (2008) reiterates that this hitch subsequently culminated into the formation of the Inter-University Council of East Africa (IUCEA)’ quality assurance framework (EAQF) with a common endeavor to initiate standardized procedures and processes for guaranteeing effective and efficient management of regional quality in higher educational institutions across borders. In Kenya, Kenya Commission for Higher Education - CHE (now the Commission for University Education-CUE) is in place. The Uganda National Council for Higher Education (NCHE) was established in Uganda, and The Higher Education Council in Rwanda and the National Commission for Higher Education of Burundi were respectively established. In Tanzania; the Tanzania Commission for Universities (TCU) is also in place to oversee quality in all Universities, therein (Lyamtane,2013: 3).
The IUCEA views quality assurance as a requisite to meet the needs of the stakeholders such as: government, employers, academic world, students, parents, and society as a whole. It aims at: implementing good practices for quality assurance, applying the standards and criteria, as formulated by competent authorities, developing an adequate Internal Quality Assurance Systems (IQAS), and discovering their own quality by offering self-assessment instruments for IQAS, the teaching/learning process, and for some institutions (IUCEA, 2010). The framework is also designed to promote harmonization and comparability of the quality of higher education in the region and also to protect the integrity of East Africa as a credible higher education region (Nkunya & Joseph, 2010).
Private universities in Tanzania are now recognized as key players in the provision of university education, besides public Universities. As a result, the government has continued to encourage the private sector to establish and run higher education institutions to support the government’s effort in providing higher education. At present, there are about fifty (50) registered universities and university colleges in Tanzania;
Table 1 Registered universities and colleges
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TCU Guidebook, (2017/18).
Out of the twenty one (21) fully fledged private universities in Tanzania, nine (9) are currently offering and/or have been approved by TCU to offer / admit undergraduate education Degree programmes for 2018/2019. Admission Cycle for Private as well as public universities and university colleges are registered and regulated by the Tanzania Commission for Universities (TCU).
In thiscontext,Tanzanian government, through the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology(MoEST), has been warning universities to take heed and improve quality. In 2016, the Minister responsible for MoESTrevealed that the government was evaluating a report on the quality of higher institutions in the country, in collaboration with TCU. The Minister further warned that once poor quality was detected, the concerned Universities would be punished accordingly (Ndalichako, 2016). It was hypothesized that education provided in public universities was of better quality (Ishengoma, 2007; Materu, 2007;Nkonongwa, 2012; Matovu, 2017) and therefore it is private universities that must be subjected to quality issues.Nevertheless, issues of wanting quality is alleged to be dual rife.
The empirical literature reveals several gaps in the understanding of quality assurance frameworks in universities, and the topic of assessing quality of programmes offered in universities in relation to private universities in Tanzania within the IUCEA quality assurance framework has received scant attention. A good number of these studies (Tsinidou et al, 2010; Dilshad, 2010; Mazumder, 2013;Regassa et al, 2013, Geda, 2014) investigated the management of quality assurance issues in universities, while others (Lyamtane,2013; Asnake, 2013; SIDA,2015; Seniwoliba and Yakubu,2015; and Stander,2016) assessed the implementation of quality assurance guidelines in universities. Also other studies have examined the effect of service quality on student satisfaction (Manzoor, 2013; Wei and Ramalu, 2011; Jalali et al, 2011; Kumar, 2014; Kandie, 2018). However, none of these works have addressed the central question of “what is the quality of the Bachelor of education programmes offered in private universities- within IUCEA’ quality assurance framework?” Hence the concerns of researchers for this study to establish whether there was any significant differences in stakeholders’ perception on quality of the products of Bachelor of education programmes offered in private universities in Tanzania within the framework of inter-university council of East Africa
Literature review and Related Studies
The rapid increase in the number of private universities offering Bachelor of education programmes in East African region; particularly in Tanzania and the operational trends of such university providers has made it necessary for universities across eastern Africa to formulate a common quality assurance framework (IUCEA, 2015) on quality of university education, so as to ensure quality. According to several scholars in organisational effectiveness and quality (Nyathi, at el, 2011; Luenburg and Orstein, 2004; Tim – Hannagan, 1995; Spencer, 1994; Morgan and Murgatroyd, 1994) quality assurance frameworks play a central role in meeting the expectations of the stakeholders on supply and demand sides of university education.
This study was supported by the Open Systems (OPT) theory and approach, according to Bertalaffy (1950).A cursory review of the literature indicates that the education system in Tanzania is currently undergoing serious problems that are impeding its overall performance and quality, particularly in privately established Universities Makulilo, (2012). According to Mosha in Galabawa, Senkoro, & Lwaitama (2000); Ishengoma (2007) and Makulilo (2012), literature also highlights the possible determinants for this phenomenon, as being: failure to implement effective and efficient reforms, deficient quality of instruction, lack of adequate funding and resources, poorly equipped training institutions, poor physical and social infrastructure, inadequate learning materials, narrow curricula scopes, wide teacher-student ratios, diametrically opposing harmony between general and professional courses, over-emphasis on theory vis- a- vis practice, unclear learning objectives, poor quality of textbooks, defective examination systems, and lack of supervision and accountability, research and evaluation of teacher training programmes.
Notwithstanding, literature review indicated divergent views on the external quality assurance framework and programme quality. For example, scholars such as Bunoti, 2012; Abdul-Razak, 2012; and Biggs, and Tang, 2007 discuses that effective implementation of external quality assurance frameworks influences programme quality while other scholars (Basaza et al, 2010; Belawati, and Zuhairi, 2007; and Barr, 2001), have challenged the notion that external quality assurance frameworks necessarily translates into quality. Whether external quality assurance frameworks have been implemented effectively and consequently promoted education quality and more particularly programme quality in private universities in Tanzania has been a subject of intense discussion. As a case in point, Lyamtane, (2013) revealed that faculties of education in chartered universities in Tanzania have adopted the IUCEA quality assurance guidelines though the implementation of such guidelines is in different stages.
Table 2 shows the IUCEA quality assurance framework items with 18 variables to be assessed by all Universities for the assessment of the quality of a University programme in place. Private as well as public Universities in Tanzania are members of IUCEA, and are expected to assess their due programme performance.
Table 2 IUCEA quality assurance variables for assessment
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Makulilo, (2012) and Darwin, (2005) have also documented that quality assurance practices such as monitoring and evaluation, infrastructure, and quality of the teaching staff are hardly considered in most private higher learning institutions in developing countries.
Furthermore, the majority of the empirical studies reviewed were conducted from universities outside Tanzania, where social-cultural and economic aspects differ from that of universities in Tanzania, and in private universities in particular where the currentstudywas conducted. Moreover, scholars examining quality assurance in universities in East Africa have not yet fully explored research topics on assessment of quality of the Bachelor of education programmes in private universities in Tanzania using the IUCEA’ quality assurance framework. The current study therefore, was aimed at filling this gap in knowledge byassessing the quality of Bachelor of Education programmes in Private Universities in Tanzania within the framework of the Inter-University Council of East Africa (IUCEA) on quality of university education.
Concurrent mixed-methods design was used in the study, including questionnaires, interview guide, and document analysis and observation schedules. The sample size comprised of 453participants (students, lectures, and head of departments, faculty deans, and directors of quality assurance) from three private universities offering Bachelor of Education programmes in Tanzania. Students and Lecturers were sampled using stratified sampling technique while purposeful sampling technique was used to sample heads of departments/units.According to Creswell (2014) both validity and reliability in concurrent mixed-method’s design are important characteristics, but dealt with separately. Validity should be based on establishing both quantitative validity (content) and qualitative validity (triangulation) for each of the database.Thus, validity evidence of research instruments was determined through: (i) pilot study, (ii) triangulation, (iii) Content validation, and (iv) member checking. A reliability test was carried out to determine the internal consistency of the questionnaires and an observation schedule. Checklist/rating items in both the instruments were used to calculate the internal consistency of the instrument using Cronbach’s alpha reliability test and the Cronbach’s alpha value for determining reliability was found to be 0.87. In this study, the observed variables had a very good reliability coefficient to be used. Quantitative data was analyzed using descriptive and inferential statistics while qualitative data was analyzed thematically.
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
The framework for quality assurance, according to IUCEA (2015), portrays programme quality with the salient indicators of: satisfactory graduate output (balancing intakes with sufficient student retention), satisfactory pass rates, acceptable dropout rates (rates that inflict on institutional productivity to disable service delivery, Owolabi- 2006), student completion rates and employability. Thus, researchers wanted to ascertain if there was a significant difference in the perception of stakeholders onquality of products of Bachelor of education programmes offered in private universities in Tanzania within the framework of the inter-university council of East Africa.
This section thus presents data on the perceptions of stakeholders on quality of the Bachelor of education programmes. The participants (students, lecturers, and HoDs) were requested to choose an appropriate view/opinion on quality products, according to IUCEA quality guidelines. A seven-point checklist was used (1= very critical, 2=critical, 3=unsatisfactory, 4= satisfactory, 5= more than satisfactory, 6= good practice and 7= excellent), to rate respondent perceptions. The value 4 (satisfactory) was considered as a hypothetical mean, against which the mean ratings of the students, lecturers, and HoDs were assessed for their significance - using ANOVA. This means that if the mean rating of the students, lecturers, and HoDswere significantly higher than the hypothesized mean (satisfactory), then it can be assumed that the students, lectures and HoDs perceived the particular quality aspects differently and vice versa.
Using SPSS stored data, arithmetic Mean differences with respective standard deviations were computed. Then after, the statistic of ANOVA was applied to determine the significance of the Mean differences.Table 3 shows the Mean differences in participants’ perceptions on the ten products of the Bachelor of education programmes.
Table 3: Stakeholder perceptions on quality of the Bachelor of education programmes
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Source: Field data (2019)
Table 3 displays ten aspects assessing the perception of stakeholders (within the framework of the Inter-University Council of East Africa) on quality of products of the Bachelor of education programmes offered in private universities in Tanzania. The output revealed that majority of the aspects (1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9) were highly rated by the participants with an average mean rating (students = 5.4345; lecturers = 5.3521; HoDs = 5.5083). As far as student-participants are concerned, it was therefore inferred (according to the seven-point scale) that the quality of the Bachelor of education programmes is very satisfactorily influenced by the elements of IUCEA quality framework (average respondent x̄ >5, table 3). This consideration was acknowledged by the respective standard deviations (students = 1.2642; lecturers = 1.2019; HoDs = 1.2778) –which are equally in agreement as shown in table 3.
The interview data from Faculty Deans variously pointed out onto some of the issues in tables3 and 4; specifically on average time for graduation and the students pass rates.
In one University, an interviewee (# FD1) said that, “Bachelor of education is one of the programmes with the highest and satisfactory student pass and completion rates. This is as a result of low or minimal dropout rates of students on these programmes as compared to the other. Thus it is very common to see students completing their programmes within the given time line. Only few cases of postponements or year transfer were on record” (interviewee # FD1, 2019).
Even another Faculty Dean (Interviewee # FD3), said that; “The dropout rate of students from Bachelor of education programmes is very rare and below the marginal line in our faculty. This is reflected in a good number of students who graduate within the planned time frame” (Interviewee # FD3, 2019).
On the other hand, one Director of quality assurance (Interviewee # DQA 1), narrated that:
“According to the IUCEA ( 2010) quality assurance framework quality of products can only be known by means of feedback from the labour market and feedback from the alumni and other stakeholders who are directly involved in the programmes. However, because quality output has to be evaluated within the framework of the process, we also look at the efficiency of the provisions such as the pass rate and the dropout rate; the average time to complete a degree programme, and the employability- all enshrined in the IUCEA’ framework. Thus consensus among different stakeholders on these aspects is very important for our assessment processes” (interviewee # DQA 1, 2019).
These Faculty Deans’ views validated the students’ perceptions on a number of quality aspects such as: average time for graduation, pass rate, and satisfactory level of graduates which were all above the hypothetical Mean of 4 (satisfactory) out of 7 (excellent) on the applied measuring tool. Conceived within the context of the open systems theory and approach, coherence and consensus in perception is very crucial in propelling any progressive programme quality.
As highlighted in the above findings, consensus in perception of certain aspects of a formal organisation is an important stepping stone on the sound application of quality (excellent) principles for the incorporation of all functions and processes of the organisation, with the definitive purpose of organisational effectiveness and longevity or sustainability. As argued by Norlin, (2009) and Tim - Hannagan (1995) a common perspective on organisational quality could result in effective organisational teams, viable communication, resource availability, predictable job and organisational commitment, efficient organisational systems, and supportive organisational culture which all translates into institutional quality (Also, Neema - Abooki, 2004).
Furthermore, an analysis was conducted to find out if there were any significant differences in students’ perceptions of the quality of Bachelor of education programmes in Private Universities in Tanzania. The students’ views on all items from each university were aggregated based on the results of inter-item correlation and factor analysis of data. Thereafter, one-way ANOVA were employed in order to examine the significance of the differences, starting with students’ perceptions, lecturers’ and then, heads of department. The results are depicted in tables 4, 5 & 6, respectively.
Table 4: One-way ANOVA on perception of students’ differences of the quality of products of the Bachelor of education programme across the three universities
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Source: Derived from Table 3
A One-way ANOVA (table 4) indicates that there was a significant difference in responses of students in the sampled universities, on the quality of products of the Bachelor of education programme offered in private universities in Tanzania [F= 2.99; p=.007>0.005]. The results from the Tukey post hoc multiple comparison method indicated that a statistical significant difference existed between students from universities’ A and B, and C - though students in universities A and B were somewhat more satisfied (though) than University C, with the statement “the graduates are able to work/operate adequately in the profession for which they have been trained”: University A (x̄ = 5.2, SD=1.5) university B (x̄ = 5.1,SD=1.5), and university C (x̄ = 4.6,SD=1.4). Implicitly this signified that quality of products of the Bachelor of education programmes was being influenced by some of IUCEA quality framework elements, going by the students’ perceptions.
Nevertheless, in a situation where education programmes are not optimally influenced by the dictates of the quality framework in question, guaranteeing relevancy of private Universities in Tanzania as effective institutions to private as well as socio- economic demands, would appear a reality beyond the periphery (Psachalopoulos and Woodhall, 1985; Musaazi, 2006; Owolabi, 2006).
According to Musaazi (2006), a typical societal (national) aim of education includes…”the acquisition of appropriate skills, abilities and competencies, both mental and physical as equipment to live in and contribute to the development of one’s society”Musaazi (2006:10). Tanzania is one of the developing countries of the world that revere University education to link up to sound sustainable development of households and the society as a whole. This consideration is based on the universal premise that University education should assume a dynamic role – it should, “not be static because society will always need relevant and more complex skills at subsequent levels of development” (Musaazi, 2006).
So, when students as consumers of the educational menu in Private Universities, reveal their indifference onto the educational output of their institutions, this would suggest, in part, that competence (quality) gaps are rife in these institutions, contrary to the intended purpose of their founding. This also would mean that if these institutions were to reclaim their bona fide role of training, research and community service link, then they ought to refocus their planning and management capacity of all the elements attached to the greater details of University education – specifically nested in the auspice of acknowledged quality assurance frameworks, such as that of IUCEA. Eventually and surely, this will present the private Universities as systemic organisations whose effectiveness are underpinned by indebted feedback from society (Maicibi, 2007).
To authenticate this assertion, another ANOVA was performed on the lecturers’ perceptions. Table 5 presents the findings:
Table 5 : One-way ANOVA on difference in perception of lecturers of the quality of products of the Bachelor of education programme across the three universities
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Source: Derived from Table 3
The analysis of variation (ANOVA) results in table 5 indicates that there was no significant difference among lecturers’ responses in their perception of the quality of products of the Bachelor of education programme across the three universities, (F=.867, p=.356). The post hoc test also showed no significant difference in the mean scores of the lecturers’. This implied that there was a general consensus among lecturers on quality of the products of the Bachelor of education programmes in the private universities in Tanzania (average x̄ >0.50000, table 3). It was also inferred (according to the seven-point scale) that the quality of the Bachelor of education programmes is very satisfactorily influenced by the elements of IUCEA quality framework. This is what would be expected to prevail in viable Universities that manage their organisational and institutional issues, starting with viable systemic planning and management. The analysis of variance (ANOVA) was further employed in order to examine the difference in perceptions of HoDs on the quality of products of the Bachelor of education programmes in the sampled Universities. The findings are given in table 6.
Table 6 : One-way ANOVA on difference of perception of HoDs of the quality of products of the Bachelor of education programme across the three universities
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Source: Derived from Table 3
Interestingly, also, table 6 indicates that significant differences were not found in the HoDs’ perception of the quality of products of the Bachelor of education programme in the sampled Universities [F =2.842 > p=.082]. Additionally, the post hoc tests showed no significant difference in the mean ratings of the HoDs responses across the three universities. This implies that, the quality of products of the Bachelor of education programmes is perceived in a similar way, according to the HoD respondents. Various organisational scholars, for example Mishra, (2006) have posited that effective interaction of ideas among administrators is at the centre of organisational effectiveness and quality. They argue that a consensus in ideas of administrators is very essential for the organizations’ survival; it encourages institutional continuity along the same line of improvement. In the open-systems thinking, this could further enable a formal institution, like the private universities to adapt to the needs and requirements of various stakeholders (Maicibi, 2007). Thus with this understanding, private universities in Tanzania stand to benefit from the views of HoDs on various quality aspects that may influence the programme quality and general organisational effectiveness.
According to the synthesis of findings in this section, participants’ (stake holders’) perceptions on quality in private Universities as highlighted in table 3 reveals that stakeholders greatly recognize and consider the influence that IUCEA quality issues bear on the products of the Bachelor of education programmes. The stakeholders, hence, are determined to ensure that the quality of Bachelor of Education programmes meet and satisfy the requirements, standards of quality frameworks, particularly that of the inter-university council of East Africa- IUCEA. This could be a good sign for greater stakeholder awareness of what is going on in these institutions.
The indication of IUCEA (2015) on quality of University programmes puts emphasis on meeting the requirements of the stakeholders (noticeable in organisational and institutional values or standards, research and community outreaches). In support of this, the empirical findings of Abouchedid, (2002) and Lyamtane (2013) further demonstrated that commitment of the stakeholders to quality learning environment in universities ought to nurture and integrate quality assurance mechanisms into organisational culture.
Conclusion and Recommendations
The stakeholders’ have a significant difference in the quality of products of the Bachelor of education programmes offered in private universities in Tanzania. This means that stakeholders greatly recognize and consider the influence that quality has on the products of the Bachelor of education programmes. Therefore, stakeholders are hence determined to ensure that the quality of Bachelor of Education programmes meet and satisfy the requirements, standards and framework of the of the inter-university council of East Africa- IUCEA. This could be a good sign for greater stakeholder awareness of what is going on in these institutions despite rapid growth of private universities with overwhelmingly increasing enrolment. The pronouncement of IUCEA (2015) along with the TCU (2017/18) on quality of a university programme puts emphasis on meeting the requirements of stakeholders (traceable in educational activities, research and community service) in as far as ensuring the desired quality is concerned. Thus, to realize this, a common consensus in perception of what stakeholders need concerning the quality of products is therefore indispensable; once the requirements of the respective stakeholders are prudently harnessed in a University, they will certainly positively influence the desired quality; sustaining it.In support, the empirical findings of Abouchedid, (2002) and Lyamtane(2013) showed that commitment of the stakeholder to quality learning environment in universities nurture and integrate quality assurance mechanisms into the institutional culture. In this regard, the programmes guarantees improved quality of education which is the core aim of any institution of higher learning. Based on the open system theory, integrating these mechanisms ensures that the institution offer robust quality assurance systems in the Tanzanian education system.
The major goal of perceiving formal organisations as effective systems is to ensure that all subsystems (e.g. lecturers, HoDs, quality assurance directors, governors , students, etc.) function and operate optimally to boost and maintain quality standards. It is therefore recommended that private universities should bring stakeholders on board with intent to augment quality performance in the Private Universities in Tanzania. This is possible with greater involvement in planning and management of University policies and activities based on IUCEA guidelines. This will enhance the quality of Bachelor of education programmes. In this way, private universities in the country will be guaranteed with improved quality standards in teaching and learning.
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