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ISSN : 2288-4637(Print)
ISSN : 2288-4645(Online)
The Journal of Asian Finance, Economics and Business Vol.7 No.8 pp.323-332
DOI : https://doi.org/10.13106/jafeb.2020.vol7.no8.323

Assessing Students’ Satisfaction in Public Universities in Bangladesh: An Empirical Study

S.M. Mahbubur RAHMAN1, Md. Shahin MIA2, Ferdoushi AHMED3, Sutonya THONGRAK4, Sirirat KIATPATHOMCHAI5
*Acknowledgements:
The authors of the manuscript would like to thank the study participants who provided their time and efforts to participate in the survey.
1 First Author. Associate Professor, Department of Business Administration (DBA), Noakhali Science and Technology University, Bangladesh. Email: mmrahman987@gmail.com
3 Lecturer, Faculty of Economics, Prince of Songkla University (PSU), Thailand. Email: ferdoushihstu@gmail.com
4 Associate Professor, Faculty of Economics, Prince of Songkla University (PSU), Thailand. Email: sutonya.t@psu.ac.th
5 Assistant Professor, Faculty of Economics, Prince of Songkla University (PSU), Thailand. Email: sirirat@gmail.com

© Copyright: The Author(s)
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (http://Creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/) which permits unrestricted noncommercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
2 Corresponding Author. Senior Lecturer, School of Economics, Finance and Banking (SEFB), Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM), Malaysia [Postal Address: 06010 Sintok, Kedah, Malaysia] Email: mmshahin75@gmail.com
May 27, 2020 June 14, 2020 July 05, 2020

Abstract

This study aims to examine the level of students’ satisfaction toward the services (i.e. accommodation facilities, transportation facilities, and recreation and sports facilities) provided by the public universities in Bangladesh. The study also aims to identify the major service factors that influence students’ satisfaction in public universities in the country. A cross-sectional survey was conducted at six public universities to obtain primary data. A standardized questionnaire was distributed to a total of 500 randomly selected students to collect the data. Several statistical tools, namely, reliability analysis, descriptive statistics, correlation analysis and multiple regression analysis were employed to analyze the data. The findings revealed that recreation and sports facilities have the strongest impact on students’ satisfaction in the public universities in Bangladesh. Transportation facilities also have positive and significant impact on student’s satisfaction. However, the study found a negative correlation between accommodation facilities and students’ satisfaction indicating that students are not satisfied with the accommodation facilities provided by the public universities. The findings of this study provide an insight about students’ satisfaction that might be useful to authorities of the public universities and other higher educational institutions in designing policies for various services and facilities to be provided to their students.

JEL Classification Code: M31, I23, I28

초록


1. Introduction

 

Education plays a significant role in the expansion of different sectors (such as economic growth, improvement of living standards and so on) in a country. In the 21st century, higher education, in particular, is considered as one of the main assets for socio-economic and technological advancement of a nation. The quality of education offered by the higher education institutions directly impacts a country’s overall performance. In other words, higher education acts as the machine of economic and social expansion of a nation. Higher education institutions, particularly the universities, implant necessary skills and technical expertise to accelerate economic and social progress of any country. Since 1990, the government of Bangladesh emphasized more primary education, and access to primary education for all was the major concern in the country (Rose, Lane & Rahman, 2014). The government had implemented a number of policies during the past few decades to achieve universal primary education to align with MDGs. Moreover, to achieve the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal (SDGs), the National Sustainable Development Strategy (NSDS) of Bangladesh prioritizes human resource development as an important sector and emphasizes more on quality education at all levels of society (SDGs South Asia Report, 2016).

Bangladesh is a developing country where the education sector, especially higher education system, can play an important role in improving standard of living and economic betterment of the people. For this purpose, the government of Bangladesh has taken different initiatives to develop its higher education system during the past few decades. In this regard, the government of Bangladesh developed a 20-year strategic plan (2006-2026) for the higher education system, keeping in mind the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the National Education Policy 2010 and the Vision 2021 (SDGs South Asia Report, 2016). Consequently, student enrollment in these institutions has increased sharply at the same time. As a continuation to its goal, the government is trying to establish a public university in every district of the country. By establishing more and more higher educational institutions, the government is trying to improve overall sectors in Bangladesh. There are two types of higher educational institutions available in the country, namely, public universities and private universities. At present, a total of 46 public universities are functioning in the country and 284,322 students are enrolled in these universities (UGC, 2019).

Students are considered as the main component of any educational institution. In particular, the success of any higher educational institution depends on its students’ satisfaction. In other words, the strength and weakness of a higher educational institution can be measured by the students’ satisfaction. In this case, educational service factors (such as education quality, education-related activities and co-curriculum activities) affect students’ satisfaction. It can be said that students’ satisfaction depends, not only on curriculum activities, but also on other co-curriculum activities. Providing good quality of educational services can ensure greater satisfaction of students in higher educational institutions (Coleman, 2005; Kalam & Mahonta, 2017).

The higher education sector in Bangladesh has gone through a fast transformation during the last ten years. The number of higher educational institutions, particularly the universities, has increased significantly in the country. Moreover, the government of Bangladesh and other stakeholders in higher education have emphasized students’ satisfaction. The public universities deliver different services for quality education to their students. However, there is a research gap in assessing students’ satisfaction toward the services provided by public universities in Bangladesh. Therefore, this study aims to examine the level of satisfaction of the students toward the services provided by the public universities in the country. The study also aims to identify the major service factors that influence students’ satisfaction in public universities in Bangladesh.

 

2. Literature Review

 

Every student of higher educational institutions expects better quality services from his/her institution (Douglas, 2011). Providing quality educational services in higher education is a complex and critical idea, and it is very difficult to ensure quality services in higher education (Rodney & John, 2009; Harvey & Green, 2012). The success of a higher educational institution depends on quality education and quality educational services provided by the institution (Clewes, 2011; Islam & Salma, 2016). However, there is no single view about service quality of the higher educational institutions. In other words, different organizations and stakeholders in higher education have different views about quality services of higher education. O’Neill and Palmer (2010) opined that service quality of higher education is an important part and critical idea because both the service provider and service receiver are human beings. To ensure quality education, universities around the world provide different types of services (such as accommodations, transports, sports, internet, medical quality etc.) beside education.

Ensuring students’ satisfaction is an important and integrated part of higher education system because the success of a higher educational institution depends on its students’ satisfaction (Marzo, 2013). However, in the context of higher education, the concept of students’ satisfaction is a critical issue, which has several dimensions. Elliott and Healy (2001) revealed that education service factors and students’ satisfaction are closely related to each other. The study reported that high quality education services result in higher level of students’ satisfaction and vice versa. The study by Manzoor (2013) attempted to identify the education service factors that affect students’ satisfaction in higher educational institutions in Pakistan. The study selected three main service factors, namely, accommodation, transportation, and sports. The findings showed that transportation and sport facilities had a positive impact on students’ satisfaction. On the other hand, the impact of accommodation facilities on students’ satisfaction was found to be significantly low.

Educational services provided by a university work as a motivational factor and play an important role in the life of a student (Henning, Langer  & Hansen, 2001). In these cases, several factors such as faculty/teaching staff, counseling staff, and teaching activities in the classroom has a direct and positive impact on students’ satisfaction (Hameed & Amjad, 2011). The study also reported that a higher educational institution should focus on these key aspects to enhance satisfaction and inspiration of its students. In Germany, Gruber, Fub, Voss and Gläser-Zikuda (2010) investigated the impact of services provided by the universities on the level of students’ satisfaction. The study found that overall students’ satisfaction was positive while few factors such as university building construction and lecture theatres gained very poor level of satisfaction.  

There is a positive relationship between customer satisfaction and service quality of an organization (Rodney & John, 2009; Tabash, Albugami, Salim & Akhtar, 2019; Giao, 2020). The researchers reported that improved service quality results in higher customer satisfaction, which subsequently contributes to attract new customers and keeps existing ones. Students can be considered as the customers of educational institutions. Therefore, the important responsibility of higher educational institutions is to provide all aspects of their facilities and services to students because students’ satisfaction can be achieved by developing perceived service quality (Le, 2020). Marilyn (2005) reported that the essential goal for higher educational institutions is to provide perceived service quality to their students. Providing improved educational services to the students can lead to generate much desired supplementary income for the institutions.

Tandilashvili (2019) opined that higher education is a major asset for socio-economic, cultural and technological development of any country around the world. In other words, the overall performance of a country depends on quality higher education. The study also attempted to assess the relationship between service factors of higher educational institutions and students’ satisfaction. It was revealed that among the service factors, academic programs and administrative services have a positive influence of students’ satisfaction. Service quality of education can be considered as an important marketing idea for higher educational institutions in the current era (Deuren & Lhaden, 2018). The study aimed to determine the factors of students’ satisfaction and compare the level of satisfaction for the students at a public and a private college. The study found that overall satisfaction level at both colleges was positive but perception about the contribution of individual satisfaction factor differ. Therefore, it can be said that students’ satisfaction is very sensitive issue for the stakeholders of higher educational institutions.

 

3. Research Methods

 

3. 1. Types and Sources of Data

 

Both primary and secondary data were used in the study. Primary data included student’s demographics information and their level of satisfaction toward various services/facilities provided by the public universities in Bangladesh. Primary data were gathered through field survey in the study area. On the other hand, secondary data were extracted from various institutional sources such as University Grant Commission (UGC) and Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS).

 

3. 2. Survey Design and Data Collection

 

A cross-sectional survey was organized at university level in order to obtain primary data for the study. The population of the survey was made up of students studying at public universities in Bangladesh. Currently, a total of 46 public universities are operating in the country. For the purpose of survey, the universities have been divided into three clusters: 1) general universities, 2) agriculture universities, and 3) science and technology universities. The study selected two universities from each of the three clusters. In other words, a total of six universities were selected for the survey. The selected universities were the University of Dhaka, Dhaka; Jagannath University, Dhaka; Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Agricultural University, Gazipur; Sher-e-Bangla Agricultural University, Dhaka; Pabna University of Science and Technology, Pabna and Noakhali Science and Technology University, Noakhali. All the resident and non-resident students of these universities were considered for the population of the study.  

A total of 500 resident and non-resident students were selected for the survey. Random sampling method was employed. In other words, the study selected the students randomly without any previous knowledge of their socio-economic and ethnicity status. The respondents for this study included students from graduation and post-graduation educational level. A standardized closed-ended questionnaire was used to conduct the survey. A 5-point Likert scale was used in the questionnaire in order to get more precise and accurate opinions from the respondents about their satisfaction towards the facilities provided by the universities. The ratings were as follows: 1 = "very low", 2 = "low”, 3 = "average", 4 = "high", 5 = "very high."

Research assistants distributed questionnaires to the selected students and asked them to participate in the survey. The respondents provided their unbiased opinions and responses. The survey was conducted in the selected universities during office hours.

 

3. 3. Variables and Hypothesis Development

 

To fulfill its objectives, the study took into consideration the following dependent and independent variables.

 

3. 3.1. Dependent Variable

 

Student satisfaction was considered as the dependent variable for this study. Students’ satisfaction can be defined as a short-term attitude resulting from an evaluation of students’ educational experience (Elliott & Healy, 2001). It is a function of relative level of experiences and perceived performance about educational service during the study period (Mukhtar, Anwar, Ahmed, & Baloch, 2015). Students’ satisfaction is a multidimensional process, which is influenced by different factors (Weerasinghe, Lalitha, & Fernando, 2017). The present study has defined students’ satisfaction according to the perspective of higher education in Bangladesh. 

 

3. 3.2. Independent Variables

 

The study used the following independent variables in the model:

 

Accommodation Facilities

Accommodation facility for students is essential to the attainment of quality education in higher educational institutions. Higher education institutions provide various types of accommodation facilities (such as on-campus and off-campus residences) to their students (Oke, Aigbavboa, & Raphiri, 2017). Previous literature revealed a positive relationship between students’ satisfaction and housing facilities of higher educational institutions (Najib, Yusof, & Osman, 2011; Najib, Yusof, & Nazirah, 2011; Amole, 2011; Mogenet & Rioux, 2014). Therefore, we hypothesize a positive relationship between students’ satisfaction and accommodation facilities in this study. So, the hypothesis that can be tested here is:

 

H1: Accommodation facilities have a significant impact on students’ satisfaction in the public universities in Bangladesh.

 

Transportation Facilities

Transportation is an important part of campus life for most of the students in the higher educational institutions. The majority of universities around the world spend a sizeable amount of resources each year on transportation-related facilities and services (Daggett & Gutkowski, 2003). Universities provide on-campus as well as off-campus bus services for their students. The service is provided five days a week and in most cases are free. A number of studies found a positive relationship between students’ satisfaction and transportation facilities provided by universities (Yusof, Misiran, Pei, & Tian, 2014; Manzoor, 2013; Khorasani & Zeyun, 2014; Shaaban & Kim, 2016). Therefore, we predict a positive influence of transportation services on students’ satisfaction in public universities in Bangladesh. So, the hypothesis is:

 

H2: Transportation facilities have a significant impact on students’ satisfaction in the public universities in Bangladesh.

 

Recreational and Sports Facilities

Higher educational institutions provide recreational and sports facilities so that the students get an opportunity to participate in sport and fitness activities such as weightlifting or yoga (Lindsey, Sessoms, & Willis, 2009; Baker, Schootman, Kelly, & Barnidge, 2008). Recreational and sports facilities offered by the universities are important for the students to engage themselves in physical activities. Nowadays, higher educational institutions are increasingly recognizing the importance of recreational and sports programs in enhancing students’ academic performance. Previous studies reported that recreational and sport facilities make significant contributions to increase overall satisfaction of the students towards their institutions (Lindsey, 2012; Çelik & Akyol, 2015; Tan & Pyun, 2015; Abdullah & Mohamad, 2016; Misiran, Yusof, Ibrahim, Hui, Baharin, & Hamid, 2017). Therefore, we expect a positive impact of recreational and sport facilities on students’ satisfaction in public universities in Bangladesh. So, we can develop following hypothesis:

 

H3: Recreational and sports facilities have a significant impact on the students’ satisfaction in the public universities in Bangladesh.

 

The independent variables and their measurements for this study are explained in Table 1.

 

 

 

 

3. 4. Data Analysis

 

After completing the survey, all the data were coded directly on the questionnaires and then entered into personal computer. Several statistical analyses of the data were carried out in the core of this study. Reliability analysis was carried out to assess the reliability of survey data and the scales used in this study. Cronbach's Alpha scores were calculated for this purpose.

 

3. 4.1. Descriptive Statistics

 

Simple descriptive statistics such as sums, means, percentages and frequency distributions were used to analyze primary data for this study. Correlation analysis was performed to find the relationship between the dependent and independent variables used. It also measures the degree as well as direction of the relationship among the variables. The study employed the most popular correlation method (i.e. Pearson’s coefficient of correlation) to examine the relationship among the variables.

 

3. 4.2. Multiple Regression Analysis

 

This study also conducted a multiple regression analysis to determine the impact of accommodation facilities, transportation facilities, and recreation and sports facilities on students’ satisfaction. The proposed model is as below:

 

Y = α + β1*AF + β2*TF + β3*RS + ε

 

Where,   

 Y = Dependent variable (student’s satisfaction)

AF = Independent variable (accommodation facilities)

TF = Independent variable (transportation facilities)

RS = Independent variable (recreation & sports facilities)

α = Constant term

β1, β2, β3, = Coefficient of independent variables

ε = the error/disturbance term

 

4. Results

 

4. 1. Reliability Analysis

 

The items under each of three independent variables (i.e., accommodation facilities, transportation facilities, and recreation and sports facilities) were included in the reliability analysis. Table 2 shows the findings of two indicators of reliability analysis, namely, Cronbach's Alpha coefficient and the Corrected Item-Total Correlation. It can be seen that the Cronbach's Alpha coefficients for all the three variables are greater than 0.6 and the Corrected Item-Total Correlation greater than 0.3. It indicates that the scales met the criteria (Cronbach's Alpha coefficient of 0.6 and correlation coefficient of variables - total correction of 0.3). The findings demonstrate the high reliability measurement scales. In other words, the variables in the research model are reliable.

 

 

 

 

4. 2. Demographic Profile of the Respondents

 

Table 3 shows demographic profile of the survey participants. The findings revealed that more than half (57%) of the respondents were male while female students constituted 43% of the total respondents. Nearly two-third (64%) of the survey participants were young adults (18 to 25 years of age) and 36% of the respondents were in the adult age group (26 years and above). It was also found that the majority (62%) of the study participants were graduate students, while more than one-third (38%) of the respondents were post-graduate students.

 

 

 

 

4. 3. Correlation Analysis

 

Table 4 shows the correlation between dependent variable and independent variables. The study revealed a negative correlation coefficient (-0.012) between accommodation facilities and students’ satisfaction. It implies that there is no positive relationship between accommodation facilities and students’ satisfaction. The findings indicate that students are not satisfied with the accommodation facilities provided by the public universities in Bangladesh. On the other hand, there was a positive correlation coefficient (0.659) between transportation facilities and students’ satisfaction. It suggests that students have a higher level of satisfaction towards transportation facilities provided by the public universities in the country. Similarly, the correlation coefficient between recreation and sport facilities and students’ satisfaction (0.573) shows that there is a positive and strong relationship between recreation and sport facilities and students’ satisfaction. It means that recreation and sports facilities provided by the public university in Bangladesh have a significant impact on their students’ satisfaction.

 

 

 

 

 

4. 4. Multiple Regression Analysis

 

Table 5 shows the summary of the findings of analysis of variance (ANOVA). It can be seen that the value of statistics F (ANOVA) is 81.786 with the level of significance (Sig. of ANOVA) of 0.000 (i.e. Sig. = 0.000 < 0.05). It indicates that the linear regression model is suitable for this study.

 

 

 

 

Table 6 shows the summary of the findings of multiple regression analysis. The study found that the value of R is 0.742 > 0.50. It means that this model is appropriates for evaluating the relationship between dependent and independent variables. Moreover, the value of R2 of 0.550 indicates that 55% students’ satisfaction is explained by the multiple linear regression model. The rest is due to errors and other factors. In addition, the Durbin- Watson test statistics is 1.834 (i.e. d = 1.834). It is in the range of (1 < d < 3). It indicates that there is no correlation of the residuals.

Table 6 also shows the summary of the findings of regression coefficients. The analyses revealed that the value of statistics t of the independent variables (accommodation facilities, transportation facilities, and recreation & sports facilities) are higher than the value of tα /2 (1, n). Moreover, Sig. value of the independent variable of TF (transportation facilities) and RS (recreation & sports facilities) are lower than 0.05 (i.e. Sig. level = 0.000 < 0.05). However, Sig. value of the independent variable of AF (accommodation facilities) is higher than 0.05 (i.e. Sig. level = 0.064 > 0.05). It means that the independent variable of AF is not statistically significant. In other words, the independent variable of AF has no effect on Y.

 

 

 

 

Finally, based on the findings of coefficients shown in table 7, the multiple linear regression equation is as below:

 

Y = 1.010 - 1.608*AF + 1.726*TF + 0.176*RS

 

In addition, the findings of the standardized beta column indicate that, among the three independent variables, the most influential one is recreation and sports facilities (standardized beta is 1.110). In other words, recreation and sports facilities has the strongest impact on the dependent variable of Y (i.e. students’ satisfaction). Transportation facilities with standardized beta of 0.721 is found to be the second most influential factor of students’ satisfaction in this study. However, the analyses revealed accommodation facilities with standardized beta of -0.702 indicating a negating relationship between accommodation facilities and students’ satisfaction in this study. In other words, accommodation facilities have no impact on students’ satisfaction in the public universities in Bangladesh. Based on the findings of the regression model, the hypotheses H2 and H3 are accepted while H1 is rejected. 

 

5. Discussions

 

This study has focused on various services that are currently offered by the public universities in Bangladesh. The study also attempts to examine students’ satisfaction towards the service quality of the public universities in the country. The findings revealed a negative correlation between accommodation facilities and students’ satisfaction. It indicates that students in the public universities in Bangladesh are not satisfied with the accommodation facilities provided by the university authority. It is a fact that most of the students come from outside cities and they need accommodation facilities inside the universities. Housing facilities are very essential for the students studying particularly in the universities located in the big cities (such as Dhaka, Chittagong etc.) of the country. Every public university in the country provides residence facilities for their students. However, the number of hostels is not sufficient to fulfill the demand of the students. Moreover, the study revealed that students are not satisfied with various services provided by the hostel authority as well as unavailability of other services surrounding their hostels.

It was found that the service factors of transportation facilities have a positive and significant impact on students’ satisfaction. One of the important reasons is the sufficient availability of transportations in the public universities in Bangladesh. In other words, every public university in the country has enough transportation facilities to fulfill their student’s demand. In order to provide transportation services to students, universities use their own transport and, in some cases, rent transport on daily basis. Public universities in Bangladesh provide on-campus as well as off-campus transportation services to their students.

Another service factor, namely, recreation and sport facilities shows positive and very significant impact on students’ satisfaction. Every public university in Bangladesh has sufficient recreation and sport facilities for their students. The universities arrange various cultural and festival events (such as food festival, theater show), so that students can enjoy their campus life. Moreover, the universities arrange inter-university and intra-university sports events on a regular basis. These arrangements of the universities contribute to achieve higher level of   students’ satisfaction. A number of previous studies also reported that increasing the excellence of these service factors can result in growing level of student’s satisfaction in higher educational institutions (Hill, Lomas & MacGregor, 2003; Letcher & David, 2010; Manzoor, 2013; Mozumdar, 2014; Islam & Himel, 2018). 

 

6. Conclusion and recommendation

 

The present study examined students’ satisfaction towards the services provided by the public universities in Bangladesh. In particular, the study focused on service quality of three important facilities, namely, accommodation facilities, transportation facilities, and recreation and sports facilities. The findings revealed that students are not satisfied about the residence facilities provided by the public universities in the country. However, transportation facilities and recreation and sports facilities contribute significantly to achieve higher level of students’ satisfaction. The findings of the study might be useful for the government policymakers, authorities of the public universities and other higher educational institutions in the market in designing and implementing policies and plans for various services and facilities to be provided to the students. The study recommends that the authorities of the public universities should emphasize the major service components that can contribute to achieve higher level of students’ satisfaction. In particular, the authorities should pay serious attention to improve the service quality of accommodation facilities. Because the greatest proportion of the students come from outside cities and housing facilities is a great concern for them. Moreover, the top management of public universities in the country should make efforts to increase the quality of educational services in order to enhance the satisfaction of their students.

Figure

Table

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