Market Policy Reforms and Education Quality in Public Higher Education in Tanzania: The Role of Quality Assurance Mechanisms
Keywords:Market Policy Reforms, Higher Education Institutions, Quality Education
AbstractGlobally, following financial austerity facing universities, many Higher Education (HE) systems have introduced Market Policy Reforms (MPR) as an alternative way of providing solutions on how states should finance higher education, increase access, and manage HE systems efficiently and effectively. The study used a qualitative research approach and a multiple case study design. Qualitative data collected from interviews, focus group discussions, and documentary reviews were subjected to content and thematic analysis. The study findings showed how mechanisms of quality assurance work to ensure quality in HE institutions. For instance, institutionalising quality assurance guidelines policies from the Tanzania Commission for universities is an essential mechanism that forces universities to comply with the set guidelines and circulars. Also, the directorates of Quality Assurance (QA) play a significant role in inculcating a culture of quality assurance practices to achieve the university's core mission. The implementation of MPR has influenced the access of a significant number of students, but expansion of access does not commensurate with available resources. The study recommends that at times of massification, external and internal QA mechanisms are indispensable for promoting and maintaining quality standards in HEIs.