A Gap Analysis of Students Expectations and Perceptions of Service Quality at the Takoradi Technical University
Tertiary education places students as primary consumers and as such, students are conscious of their rights and the gaps between their expectation and perception of service delivery. Not only does this service gap present a quality assurance challenge for educational institutions, it is also likely to contribute to student withdrawal. This study undertaken to determine the quality gap between students’ expectations and perceptions of service delivery as well as calculate and measure the score of the five SERVQUAL dimensions. The study adopted both the mixed-method approach. Stratified sampling method was used to select respondents and this was done by putting the entire population into five main strata; comprising five faculties. Five percent (5%) of the second- and third-year students from each faculty were chosen as respondents. The study focused on the dimensions of service quality from students’ perspective using Higher National Diploma students at the Takoradi Technical University. The tangibility dimension was found to have a positive gap of approximately 1.32 showing that the institution delivered beyond expectation of its students. The reliability dimension however, showed a negative dimension of 1.03 in service quality which indicates that the University fell short of its service quality dimensions leading to student dissatisfaction. The responsiveness dimension was also found to have service quality level of 1.42 above the expected service quality delivery of 3.14. However, the assurance dimension recorded just a marginal improvement of 0.85 of service quality over the expected service quality of 3.65. Finally, the empathy dimension recorded an expected service quality of 3.02 while the perceived service quality was 4.00. This represented an increase of 0.98 in service quality. After comparing the differences between students’ perceptions and expectations, the results showed a positive score, as the student’s perception exceeded their expectation. Tangibility and responsiveness dimensions were rated highest, followed by assurance, and then empathy while reliability was rated the least dimension. The results showed that students’ expectation of service quality was exceeded thus, presenting a great challenge to the Technical University, to maintain or even improve such dimensions. Management was thus encouraged to make a conscious effort to improve teaching and learning by making available modern teaching equipment for teaching and learning. This will go a long way in meeting the expectations of the students in this regard. Management was also encouraged to continuously measure the Institution’s service quality and improve on it.