To increase quality of higher educational services is one of the biggest challenges these days. The paper identifies the quality gaps in School of Economics and Management in Public Administration’s (SEMPA) educational services and answers the questions if there are gender and regional’s differences in expectations and perceptions of quality.
SERVQUAL questionnaire was used to measure perceived quality of educational services. Interview was used to investigate problems with an individual statement in the questionnaire. The sample of the study consisted of 40 bachelor level part-time students. A convenient sampling procedure was used. The data were collected during the winter semester 2012/2013.
Results showed a SEMPA’s significant negative quality gap in tangibles (mean difference – 0.9313) and reliability (mean difference -0.865) and positive gaps in responsiveness (mean difference 0.725) and empathy (mean difference 0.44). The resultant perceived quality determined as the sum of the individual, was negative (Mean diff -0.8438). The gender differences in expectations and perceptions were not confirmed (all p-values were more than significant level). Regional differences were confirmed in the perception of responsiveness (p-value 0.0297). The participants’ opinions about the questionnaire also highlighted the problems with negative questionnaire’s items and missing weight of dimensions’ importance.
Ongoing internationalization and world globalisation processes significantly shape the market for the universities (Mura, Buleca, Zelenakova, Qineti, & Kozelova, 2012). The universities and higher education institutes face some challenges to provide high quality programs for the society (Abari, Yarmohammadian, Esteki, & Elsevier Science, 2011). According to the Accreditation commission and Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Sport of the Slovak Republic, to increase quality of higher educational services is one of thebiggest challenges these days. It is essential that universities have to actively monitor the quality of their services and commit to continuous improvements in an effort to respond to the needs of the institutional constituencies (Pariseau & McDaniel, 1997). It is a pity, that there is still not consensus in Slovak Republic about what quality of educational services means, how to measure it and quality of learning environment is still not scientifically tested (Tóth, 2007). Perceived service quality is one of the important concepts in the quality management literature (Sumaedi, Gede Mahatma Yuda, & Metasari, 2012). The term perceived quality is based on Parasuraman, Zeithaml and Berry’s conceptual model of quality. In their studies they indicated that the perceptions of service quality performance are influenced by gaps in the difference between customers’ expectations and perceptions. Those gaps arise in five dimensions: tangibles (the appearance of physical facilities, equipment, personnel and communication materials), reliability (the ability to perform the promised service dependably), responsiveness (the willingness to help customers and to provide prompt services), assurance (the knowledge and courtesy of employees and their ability to convey trust and confidence) and empathy (the provision of caring individualized attention to customers) (Parasuraman, Berry, & Zeithaml, 1991).