Quality aspects of vocational higher education, with special reference to hospitality management

Palin, Maurice George (2005). Quality aspects of vocational higher education, with special reference to hospitality management. PhD thesis The Open University.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.21954/ou.ro.0000e94a

Abstract

Quality in vocational higher education was investigated, using hospitality management as the focus. The definitions, measurement and improvement of quality (including bench marking) were explored. An analysis of the literature on quality in higher education, using books, journal articles and publications from official bodies was made and reported in Chapters 2,3 and 4.

Using the literature review, structured interviews and a focus group discussion, a questionnaire related to hospitality management education was devised. It was tested by a pilot study and subsequently modified. The final questionnaire had 90 items. It was administered in Spring 2000. The questionnaire was distributed to - 315 academics, 200 employers, 71 alumni and 171 students - stakeholders in hospitality management degree courses. Respondents were asked to evaluate, using a five point Likert scale: 1) the importance of the items for quality of the courses ("ideal scale"), and 2) the extent to which the items were being achieved ("actual scale"). The results were analysed by comparing the means for each item on each scale for the four stakeholder groups. Means on the ideal scale (aspirations) were higher, item for item, than those on the actual scale (achievements).

Skills, including operational skills specific to hospitality management, were considered as important components of the courses by all stakeholder groups. Factor analysis suggested that facets of quality were: employment related, operational skills, vocational preparation, generic skills, course content, computer use, influences on courses, assessment, process, and learning experiences. Based on the results, there are proposals for improving hospitality management degree courses and suggestions for further research into the complex notion of quality in higher vocational education.

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