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Impact of the administrative services offered at a university of technology in South Africa
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The higher education system in South Africa has gone through significant restructuring and transformation since the dawn of democracy. One of these changes in the higher education landscape was the establishment of the Council on Higher Education (CHE) which appointed a permanent Higher Education Quality Committee (HEQC). The major functions of the HEQC are to ensure quality, audit the quality assurance mechanisms and accredit programmes in higher education. The HEQC is however adamant that responsibility for the programmes and for institutional quality rests primarily with the institution itself. Higher education institutions (HEIs) are therefore under pressure and are facing tough competition to ensure that programmes and services they offer are of the best quality. It is assumed that clients' (students and visitors) first point of contact in a university is the administrative office. In an HEI there are numerous departments offering administrative support, for example, during student registration, academic clearance is performed by the relevant department; financial clearance is performed by the student debtors' department and access to registration is performed at the faculty. Therefore, students are required to deal with all these departments to complete their registration when they access the HEI. With the aim to determine the effects of administrative services offered to stakeholders by the faculty and all departments involved with admissions and registration, this research question was posed: How do administrative services offered to stakeholders within the faculty affect service delivery at a university of technology in the Western Cape, South Africa? The participants included students and administrative staff members involved with student registration. A sample size consisted of 187 students and seven staff members. Data was collected using both qualitative and quantitative means in order to determine the administrative service culture in place as well as the beliefs of the participants. Basically, data was gathered through individual questionnaires, one-on-one interviews and focus-group discussions. R-Statistical Computing was used to analyse quantitative data while the narrative research was utilised to analyse qualitative data. The findings identified that a majority of research participants believe that a considerable improvement in quality of services offered at a university is required. This may be achieved by creating awareness of services offered and proper implementation of policies, as well as improvement of systems in place which may eradicate the level of stakeholder dissatisfaction with service quality.