Open Access Open Access  Restricted Access Subscription Access


Patricia Joubert, Johan de Jager, Robert Rugimbana


Institutions of Higher education have a major role in providing relevant education that best meets the needs of the various constituencies served. To meet these needs, an assessment of factors that influence students’ choices becomes imperative. The increasing competitive and internationalized tertiary education environment has over recent years introduced a commercial focus to the sector. Simultaneously institutions of higher education institutions in Africa face many challenges in order to transform higher education on the continent to meet international standards. Higher education institutions do not have a clear picture of what attracts students, particularly international students. Attracting quality students in a highly competitive environment is crucial as the fallout rate is significantly high in African countries.

This paper examines the criteria used by enrolled students when evaluating a tertiary institution. Two samples of students were selected at random in Swaziland in 2007 and in 2011 and were requested to complete a self administered questionnaire. The main findings were amongst others that the most important attributes that influence perceptions of service quality in higher education are hostel accommodation and attractive campus, well equipped library and computer facilities.


Higher Education, Consumer Behaviour, Services, Africa

Full Text:



Anderson, J.R., Reder, L.M. & Simon, H.A. 1996. Situated Learning and Education. Educational Researcher 25 No. 4 (May): (EJ 528 724).

Brown, J.S. 1988. Situated Cognition and the Culture of Learning. Technical Report. Palo Alto Research Centre. (ED 342 357); cited in the University of Swaziland, Outreach News, Department of Adult education Vol. 8 No. 3 July-4 October 2006.

Bunting, I., & Cloete, N., (2004), “Approaches to Measuring Performance in Higher Education: A South Africa Case Study”, Draft Discussion Paper, 9th March, Council on Higher Education Policy/Change Dialogue, Cape Town.

Burrel, G., & Morgan, G., (1985), “Sociological Paradigms and Organisational Analysis”, Heinemann-London.

Buttle, F., (1996), “SERVQUAL: Review, Critique, Research Agenda”, European Journal of Marketing, Vol.30(1)

Chapman, & Quijada, (2008)., assessed 9th October, 2011.

Cheng, Y., & Tam, W.M., (1997), “Multi Models of Quality in Education”, Quality assurance in Education, Vol5(1), pp.22-31.

Clarke, G., (1997), “Reassessing resource allocation strategies in higher education: methods for analysis”, International Journal of Educational Management, Vol.11(6), pp.286-92.

Cooper, D., & Subotzky, G., (2001), “The Skewed Revolution: Trends in South African Higher Education”, Education Policy Unit, University of the Western Cape.

De Jager, J.W., & Du Plooy, A.T., (2006), “Service quality in higher education: An African perspective”, 4th International Conference on Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Pretoria, South Africa, 2nd-3rd October, pp.300-309.

De Jager, J.W., & Joubert, P., (2007), “Selection of universities in Africa: information requirements and expectations”, 10TH International conference of society for global business and economic development (SGBED), IIIiiKyoto, Japan.8th-11th August. pp.2360-2371.

Diale, A.J., (2006), “The Transformation of Higher Education Institutions in South Africa and Its effect on enhancing employment and gender equity in Senior Management Positions: Selected Cases”, Paper submitted to the 7th Annual International Academy of African Business and Development (IAABD), Accra-Ghana.

Ekhaguer, G.O.S., (2000), “African Higher education and training: Opportunities and challenges”, Higher education in Europe, Vol.XXV(3). pp.373-379.

Emanyoni, P.T., (2006), “Literacy and Education in Kenya, Lwati”, A Journal of Contemporary Research, Vol.3, pp.24-40.

Goldthorpe, J.H., Lockwood, D., Bechhofer, F., & Platt, J., (1968), “The Affluent Worker: Industrial Attitudes and Behaviour”, Cambridge University Press-UK.

Grimshaw, R., & Keeffe, G., (1993), “Facilities management: the potential for research”, Facilities Management: Research Directions, RICS Books.

Halsey, A., (1992), “Opening Wide the Doors of Higher Education”, National Commission on Education, London, Vol.6.

Hammersley, M., & Atkinson, P., (1983), “Ethnography: Principles in Practice”, London: Tavinstock.

Hansen, P., (2006), “Swaziland Economic Performance,Presentation at a breakfast meeting”, eSibayeni Lodge, Swaziland.

Joubert, P.N, Masilela Z., & Langwenya, M., (2006), “Consolidating Democratic Governance in the SADC Region: Swaziland’s Perspective”, A Working Document submitted to the Electoral Institute for Southern Africa (EISA), Johannesburg, South Africa.

Joubert, P.N., (2007), “An investigation on challenges and prospects of attracting inward investments to Swaziland”, a Work in Progress paper for final submission to the UNISWA Research Journal.

Kargbo, J. K., (2002), “African Universities and the challenge of knowledge creation and application in the information age”, Library Review, Vol.51(8), pp.411-416.

Moogan, Y. J., & Baron, S., (2001), “Timings and trade-offs in the marketing of higher education courses: a conjoint approach”, Marketing Intelligence & Planning, Vol.19(3), pp.179-187

Moogan, Y. J., Baron, S., & Bainbridge, S., (2001), “Timings and Trade-Offs in the Marketing of Higher Education Courses: A Conjoint Approach”, Marketing Intelligence & Planning, Vol.19(3), pp.179-187.

Moogan, Y.J., Baron, S. & Harris, K., (1999), “Decision-making behaviour of potential higher education students”, Higher Education Quarterly, Vol.53(3), pp.211-228.

Mulamba, J., (2003), “Education –Kenya: Too Much Too Soon?”, Inter Press Service.

Mungai, A.M., (2002), “Growing up in Kenya: Rural Schooling and Girls”, New York, Cited in Emnanyoni, P.T., (2006), “Literacy and Education in Kenya, Lwati”, A Journal of Contemporary Research, Vol.3, pp.26.

Nkomo, T., (2006), “Curriculum Change and Relevancy in Education: Swaziland Experience”, A Paper presented At the 24th Association for Educational Assessment in Africa (AEAA)at Royal Swazi Sun-Ezulwini-Swaziland.

Price, I., Fides, M., Smith, L., & Agahi, H., (2003), “The impact of facilities on student choice of university”, Facilities, Vol.21(10), pp.212-222.

Robberts, D., & Allen, A., (1997), “Young applicants’ perceptions of Higher Education”, HEIST Publications, Leeds, January, 20.

Russel, M., (2005), “Marketing education – a review of service quality perceptions among international students”, International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, Vol.17(1), pp.65-77.

Soutar, G.N., & Turner, J.P., (2002), “Student Preferences for University: a Conjoint Analysis”, The International Journal of Educational Management, Vol.16(1), pp.40-45.

Tisdel, E., (1995), “Creating Inclusive Adult learning environments: Insights from Multicultural education and Feminist Pedagogy”, Information Series No.361, ERIC Clearing House on Adult education and training for employment, The Ohio State University, Columbus.

Tonks, G.D., & Farr, M., (1995), “Market segments for higher education - using geo-demographics”, Marketing Intelligence & Planning, Vol.13(4), pp.24-33.

Veloutsou, C., Lewis, J.W., & Paton, R.A., (2004), “University selection: information requirements and importance”, International journal of educational Management, Vol.18(3), pp.160-171.

Weise, M., Van Heerden, N., & Jordaan, Y., (2009), “A marketing perspective on choice factors considered by South African first-year students in selecting a higher education institution”, African Business Review, Vol.13(1), pp.39-60.

Weise, M., Van Heerden, N., & Jordaan, Y., (2010a), “The role of demographics in students’ selection of higher education institutions”, Acta Comercii, Vol.10, pp.150-163.

Weise, M., Van Heerden, N., & Jordaan, Y., (2010b), “Ethnic group differences regarding choice factor importance in public higher education institution selection”, African Journal of Business Management, Vol.4(7), pp.1289-1298.

Welki, A.M., & Navratil, F.J., (1987), “The role of applicant’s perceptions in the choice of a college”, College and University, Vol.62, pp.147-59.

Wilson, A., (1993), “The promise of Situated Cognition”, In an Update on Adult Learning Theory, edited by S.B. Merriam, pp.71-79, Jossey Bass, San Francisco.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Send mail to with questions or comments about this web site. 

International Journal of Management and Social Sciences, All rights reserved.