Higher education institutions in the Arab states : a study of objectives and their achievement
Over the last two decades more attention has been paid by the governments of developed and developing countries to the role of higher education in general and universities in particular. Their major concern is the growing demand for higher education and the growing expenditure of that sector. These two reasons led to an inquiry into the role of higher education institutions, their objectives and their effective use of the resources allocated to them. The need to achieve better understanding and definition of the role of higher education institutions and effectiveness requires better understanding of the institutional objectives and their measure of achievement by the various constituencies involved in the institutions' activities. This study aimed to investigate the different objectives and to examine the appropriateness and degree of achievement of measures of a set of institutional goals in four Arab Universities. The study approach used included a literature survey of studies conducted on higher education institutions in Europe, North America and the Arab States and the collection of data by a questionnaire. The population sample represents administrators and faculty members in the four Arab Universities. Mean scores were used to generate the ranking of the objective areas, in terms of their perceived preferences among the four universities and among the respondent groups. Also, the analysis of variance technique was used to ascertain which of the objective areas and their measures received divergent views among the four universities and among the respondent groups. The analysis of variance technique was followed by Duncan's New Multiple Comparison test to identify pairs of factors which differ significantly, to help in the interpretation of the findings. The study revealed that there were differences in respondent ratings of the objective areas, their measures and degree of achievement among the four universities but not among the different respondents categories. The findings of the study provided the conclusion that: only in some objective areas were priorities perceived differently by the universities and by respondent groups; homogeneity exists among the respondent groups on the appropriateness of the measures and the degree of achievement of these measures; close correlation appears to exist between the ratings of the objective areas and their associated measures; and, finally, there was consensus among the respondents that all universities were performing poorly on the most highly rated objective areas. The results and conclusions of the study were utilised to draw up some recommendations which might be useful to decision-makers in achieving their institutional objectives.