Massification and quality of higher education: a comparative analysis of private and public universities in Uganda

Chapter Authors: Eva Irene Tumusiime


Many higher education institutions, particularly universities in Uganda are grappling with the challenge of delivering education of the quality that meets the expectations of their students as well as the sponsors and employers of these students after graduation. At the same time, these universities are experiencing massification. However, the relationship between this massification and quality of delivered education has not been adequately studied. The purpose of this article is to examine and compare this relationship between private and public universities in Uganda. The study employed a comparative survey research design. The sample consisted of university administrators, lecturers and students (N = 660). Data was collected using self-administered questionnaires and analysed using descriptive, correlation and linear regression methods. The findings indicate a statistically significant and negative relationship between massification and educational quality and that this relationship is stronger in public than private universities. The findings suggest that universities need to reverse the relationship between massification and quality of education they provide. Since massification cannot be reversed owing to the rising demand for university education resulting from growing youth population and universal access to lower levels of education, the solution lies in improving the quality of education to match it. This requires the universities to increase their education supply capacity by expanding their instructional infrastructure, stocking sufficient instructional materials and filling their academic staff structure by recruiting more lecturers to fill the gap. To achieve these ends, government should increase funding to public universities and to private universities through public-private partnership. In addition, the universities’ management should reinforce their reliance on tuition with other income generation sources such as increasing research output needed by industry, seeking donor assistance and investing in idle resources to make them productive.

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