Strategic choices of public universities in a competitive liberalized higher education: a case of the university of Zambia.

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Chibale, Kuyumba Damaseke
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The University of Zambia
This study sought to establish the competitiveness of liberalised higher education, its effects on strategy formulation and making of strategic choices. The assumption of the study implied that public Universities should attain a sustainable, long-term competitive edge in order to remain relevant and continue to operate financially viable. The autopsy employed descriptive design involved observing and describing the behaviour of a subject without influencing it in any way. Moreover, a study sample size of 75 people was used guided by Glenn Israel formula, for which a study population of 300 persons was obtained. Data were collected through self-administered questionnaires and structured interview questions. Non-parametric tests such as the Chi-Square Test of Independence and other descriptive statistics summaries were generated and analysed by SPSS (Version: 20.0). Based on the research findings, the Pearson Chi-Square Test of Goodness of Fit indicated (Pv < α: 0.01 < 0.05), which showed that the attributes of the study sample were reflective of the study population. The findings further established that the University of Zambia should develop a competitive advantage and a positive brand as well as utilise ICT innovations in student enrolment as key strategic choices. Additionally, the findings revealed strategic measures to generate own revenues needed to be adopted by the University through investment in infrastructure development, charging cost reflective tuition fees, developing business ventures, increased student enrolment and introduction of new market driven degree programmes in order of importance. It was also unearthed that there was an urgent need for the University of Zambia to adopt and implement Product Differentiation strategy as a strategic response to emerging higher education environmental challenges. The study further recommended the University management to competitive operate in liberalised higher education sector by substantially investing in Communication and Marketing, use ICT innovations in higher education service delivery and invest in physical and virtual infrastructure. The study point of departure furthermore, recommended that the University Management should employ strategic planning and strict budget controls besides others in order to remain financially viable.
Higher education. , Competitiveness of higher education.