Need For Change Management In Nigerian Universities: Exploring Best Practices For Quality Improvement

Article / Change and Organization


Need For Change Management In Nigerian Universities: Exploring Best Practices For Quality Improvement
Nwabueze Akachukwu I. , Lecturer, Nigeria

Change can be managed in Nigerian universities through the provision of transformational and informed leadership system in the universities, informed planning and management of resources.


Quality education deals with issues of relevance, validity, functionalism and efficiency of educational system in the achievement of national goals and objectives. This study looked at the need for change management in Nigerian Universities for quality improvement. Three research questions and hypotheses were posed for the purpose of this study. The theory guiding this study is “The Quality Improvement Framework”. The study adopted a descriptive survey design with a population of 632 academic staff (teaching staff, Deans of faculties and HODs of various departments) from which a sample size 300 respondents was drawn using simple random sampling technique. Questionnaire tagged university change management for quality improvement developed by the researchers was the instrument used for data collection; it was validated and its reliability established at 0.83. Mean and rank order were used to answer the research questions and z-test was used to test the hypotheses. The study found among others that change can be managed in Nigerian universities through the provision of transformational and informed leadership system in the universities, informed planning and management of resources, conduction of active learning, benchmarking Nigerian universities with foreign universities, participation in active research, proper documentation of learning/change events, creating confident and committed staff with new competencies, evaluating for continuous improvement, adoption of standards control mechanism to ensure quality improvement, and the creation of academic entrepreneurship to support active knowledge exploitation. The study recommended that leadership in higher education should be informed, visional, transformational and creative; quality teachers should be employed in Nigerian universities to maintain quality improvement.
Keywords: Change Management, Best Practices for Quality Improvement, Nigerian Universities
Introduction
Change management is fast becoming one of the most competitive issues of the 21st century for global competitiveness. Change however, is dynamic and constant in nature. It is both an event and a process that hopefully leads to an improvement in quality and effectiveness in school management and administration. It remains a source of great confusion to managers, leading to impeded progress on several fronts of life. The concept of change management has been essentially a contested issue in higher education programmes and there are competing voices and discourses on the concept. But what is common among these competing voices is the recognition that change management makes the difference between success and failure.
Quality improvement is concerned with comparing the quality of what is about to be produced with the quality of what has been produced in the past. Quality improvement is therefore, primarily concerned with self rather than with others. Quality improvement is thus, both the foundation for, and the intended result of the University's quality system. Quality system' is the term used to describe the overall framework and the various elements and processes involved in quality improvement at the University.
Statement of the Problem
Universities as well as schools must be continuously taking part in the process of change or they will not be successful with their students given the ever-changing needs of society. The University is committed to continual improvement of the quality of its activities and achievements in order that it can effectively achieve its purposes and goals, be productively responsive to the University and wider communities, and transparently meet its obligations to those communities. Over the years, Nigerian Universities seem to have suffered from serious deterioration of facilities, leadership quality, finance, change management culture and quality teaching and learning. These have undermined the opportunities of excellence in the performance of expected tasks and roles of Nigerian Universities. Nigerian universities need radical transformation to improve the quality and effectiveness of education in order to meet the diversified demands for human resources. Therefore the development of the Quality Assurance System is needed.
This study therefore, looked at the need for change management in Nigerian universities and how to adopt best practices for quality improvement. It focused on ways of managing change for quality improvement in Nigerian universities, benefits of change management in Nigerian universities and challenges of managing change in Nigerian universities for quality improvement.
Discussion of Findings
The findings of this study revealed that change can be managed in Nigerian universities through the provision of transformational and informed leadership system in the universities, application of informed managerial techniques, conduction of active learning, benchmarking Nigerian universities with foreign universities, participation in active research, proper documentation of learning/change events, creating confident and committed staff with new competencies, evaluating for continuous improvement, adoption of standards control mechanism to ensure quality improvement, and the creation of academic entrepreneurship to support active knowledge exploitation. This is in line with the with the findings of Buchanan and Boddy, (1992. Which state that successful school improvement requires establishing a clear educational vision and a shared institutional mission, knowing how well the school is accomplishing that mission, identifying areas for improvement, developing plans to change educational activities and programs, and implementing those plans or new programs effectively. As Fullan (2001. Points out, school managers need to understand the change process in order to lead and manage change and improvement efforts effectively. They must learn to overcome barriers and cope with the chaos that naturally exists during the complex process of change. The test of hypothesis one showed that there is no significant difference between the mean scores of academic staff and administrative staff on the ways of managing change for quality improvement of Nigerian universities. Quality improvement is thus both the foundation for, and the intended result of the University's quality system.
The findings also revealed that the benefits of managing change for quality improvement in Nigerian universities include: informed visionary and transformational leadership system, improved quality of teaching and learning, improved quality management and productivity, improved human resource training and development, supports a smooth transition from the old to the new, supports continuous improvement efforts, supports a clear educational vision and a shared institutional mission, and change management is a sure way to achieving the school set objectives. This is in line with the work of Pratt (2005. Who found the usefulness of change management to be increased productivity; improvement in the quality of work; improvement of skills, knowledge, and understanding; enhance the use of tools and machine; eliminates obsolesce in skills, technologies, methods, products, capital management, etc. Hence, change Management helps to manage, audit and coordinate simple and complex change projects across organizational levels. The benefit management process is the activity of identifying, optimising and tracking the expected benefits of change to ensure that they are achieved.
Recommendations
1. Leadership in higher education should be informed, visional, transformational and creative;
2. Quality teachers should be employed in Nigerian universities to maintain quality improvement.
3. Informed managerial techniques should be applied in university management system
4. Academic entrepreneurship should be created in the university system to support active knowledge exploitation
5. Universities in Nigeria should be benchmarked with other universities in other countries to adopt new and efficient approaches to managing the school.
Conclusion
Change is dynamic and can be constant in nature. It is both an event and a process that hopefully leads to an improvement in quality and effectiveness. This study looked at various ways of managing change in Nigerian universities and highlighted the benefits. The study showed that if the university is properly managed, there would be improvement in the leadership system, the quality of resource management and the quality of graduate produced.
References
Alexander, S. & McKenzie, J. (1998. An Evaluation of Information Technology Projects in
University Learning. DEETYA: Canberra.
Buchanan, D. And Boddy D. (1992). The Enterprise of the Change Agent. London: Prentice Hall.
Burnes, B. (1996). Managing Change: A Strategic Approach to Organisational Dynamics.
London: Pitman Publishing.
Becket, N. And Brookes, M. (2006. Evaluating Quality Management in University Departments,
Quality Assurance in Education, 14(2), 123 – 142.
Brookes, M. And Becket, N. (2009). Quality Management in Higher Education: A Review of
International Issues and Practice. The International Journal for Quality and Standards.
Fullan, M. (2001). Leading in a culture of change. San Francisco: Jossey- Bass.
Fullan, M. And Miles, N. (2002). Leadership in organizations. Upper Saddle River: Prentice- Hall
Pratt, M.K. (2005). Leading change: 12 steps to get your organization from here to there.
Computerworld Management.

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