The choice of public universities in a restructured and transforming Higher Education landscape: a student perspective


The central tenet of the new Constitution of South Africa is to create equal and socially just economic order. This resulted in the higher education sector being restructured through incorporations and mergers. The limited financial resources, forces universities to evaluate and review their marketing strategies in order to attract suitably prepared and qualified students. The universities have not fully explored the role played by choice factors in influencing the students’ decision of enrolling at a particular university.
The purpose of this study is to identify the factors that may influence students in their choice of selecting a public university in the Tshwane Metropolitan Region, South Africa. An empirical study was conducted amongst first year students at two public universities in the Tshwane Metropolitan Region, Pretoria. The study design was quantitative in nature, using a descriptive technique, cross sectional and collected data through the application of a non-probability sampling being utilized to obtain data from a sample of 216 respondents.
The results of this study suggest that South African education landscape has evolved towards a market-orientated system in which Higher Education Institutions operate as businesses with marketing challenges. The results provide HEIs a guide to identify the key factors that influence students in the selection of a university in a developing country. University management should take cognizance of the gaps and position the university as an institution of first choice in South Africa.

Keywords: demographics, choice factors, universities, higher education institutions (HEIs).
JEL Classification: M31, L14, L31

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