Egovernance In Admission Systems Africa Education Essay

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What is the quality of education offered in higher education institutions. This question has been raised by everyone associated with higher education institution like institutional members, parents, students, employees, funding bodies and the government in other words; the stakeholders of higher education institutions (HEIs) (Bhanti et al., 2012:16). Antony (2005) cited in Bhanti et al. (2011:16) asserts that, the stakeholders raise this question with one or more interest: students - for choice of institution; parents - for worth of personal investment in the education of their children; for government - accountability and policymaking; funding agencies - for funding decisions. The answers for this question can be obtained from different sources particularly the trusted one like regulatory authorities which control the quality and standards of higher education system.

The role of ICT in contemporary organizations including HEIs continues to expand in scope and complexity (Garrity et al., 1998). Recently, the HEIs particularly regulatory authorities have become aware of the benefits of e-governance in higher education management systems. In students admissions for example, HEIs are applying ICT for controlling quality of admitted students and general quality assurance. In recent years, the trend of ICT innovation (Archmann et al., 2010; Batagan et al., 2009:372) and the growing use of the Internet and mobile phones has changed the way students are admitted into higher education institutions (HEIs), shifting from tedious manual to a modern ways such as centralized online admission systems.

2.8.1 E-governance in admission systems: Worldwide

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Worldwide, there is a tremendous increase in the number of colleges, institutes and universities which have raised concern on various aspects related to the quality education such as admission and the number of students. This has led to the higher education regulatory authorities to keep an eye on admission quality assurance by deploying several systems, which assist in managing malpractices related to admission. Such systems include, the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) in United Kingdom; the Joint University Programmes Admissions System (JUPAS) in Hong Kong; Central Admission System (CAS) under Higher Education Admission Centre (HEAC) [1] in Oman, which became the first country in the Middle East to adopt electronic admissions for students seeking higher education courses [2] . Others include the Higher Education Centralized Admission System (HECAS) [3] in Negara Brunei Darussalam; and China's University and College Admission System (CUCAS) [4] , to mention a few.

Literature show that applicants to a higher education system come from a wide range of backgrounds and, due to this fact, admissions policies need to address the making of quite complex judgements about relative potential within a diverse population of applicants. However, to-date in many countries, each higher education institution sets and implements admissions policies that are consistent with its particular mission (QAAHE. 2006:5). It has been insisted that, the policies and practices for student admissions should be designed to secure a good match between the abilities and aptitudes of the applicant and the demands of the programme, thus leading to the selection of students who can reasonably be expected to complete their studies successfully. Those making admissions decisions need to discriminate between applicants, to determine who should be selected. This requires an exercise of judgment; it is important that this is underpinned by reference to transparent and justifiable criteria (QAAHE. 2006).

2.8.2 E-governance in admission systems: Africa

Despite the fact that several countries are implementing electronic admission systems intending among other things to curb admission malpractices in Africa, the literature portrays that there are fewer initiatives in adopting electronic admissions for students seeking higher education. In East Africa, for example, only Tanzania is implementing fully automated undergraduate admissions into HEIs. However, there is a similar admission system in Nigeria, which is known as the "Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board" (JAMB) [5] . Most of these innovations in Africa's education sector have been supported by multi-stakeholder programmes such as the African Virtual University (AVU) and the World Bank to promote e-governance in HEIs.

2.8.3 E-governance in admission systems: Tanzania

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Tanzania is ranked 114th out of 132 countries in the world using science and technology (URT, 2008). In East Africa, Tanzania is the first country to establish an automated admission system in HEIs undergraduate admissions (TCU, 2010).

2.8.3.1 Country Overview

Tanzania is the biggest (land area) among the East African countries (i.e. Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania). It became independent from the British on 9 December 1961 and inherited an educational system from its colonial masters. Since independence, the Tanzania's education system has grown rapidly from a simple primary and secondary education to a complex education system including higher education run by both public and private sectors (Mashalla, 2002:8). Currently, the country has a population of 42,500,000 people (IMF, 2008) [6] .

2.8.3.2 Higher education development and enrolment trend in Tanzania

The history of higher education in Tanzania goes back to pre-independence when the country had no single higher education institution (URT, 2008:1). Tanganyikans who had opportunities for higher education were trained at Makerere, Uganda. Within East Africa, higher education was last to come in Tanzania, thus making the country to have smaller number of skilled and trained human resources in the country in 1961. The former and first president of Tanganyika had observed this shortage of trained and skilled human resources and stated:

"So little education [had] been provided that in December 1961 we had too few people with the necessary education qualifications even to man the administration of government as it was then, much less to undertake the big economic and social development work which was essential. Neither was the school population in 1961 large enough to allow for any expectation that this situation would be speedily corrected" (Nyerere, 1967:4).

Higher education in Tanzania during the last century was predominantly provided by University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM). This was established as a college of the University of London in 1961 and then later it became a part of the University of East Africa. In 1970, it became an independent University. In the 1970s UDSM was seen as "a development university" with all students being required to study development studies and with field attachments in many subjects. The creation of Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA) as the second university in Tanzania was indicative of an awareness of the importance of agriculture in Tanzania's development. The 1980s and early 1990s were a period of decline for the university with enrolments stagnating and spending per student falling dramatically. In 1994, the Institutional Transformation Programme was initiated and since then there has been a considerable increase in student numbers. Several other tertiary training institutions have now become universities. More recently, a number of private universities have opened, mainly run by religious bodies (Cooksey et al., 2001).

Enrolment in tertiary education during the 1990s was very limited indeed, with only around 6,500 undergraduate students in 1998/1999 (Cooksey et al., 2001). Since the end of the 1990s, enrolment in higher education has expanded rapidly, although much of the expansion has been through privately sponsored candidates, both at the state universities and at private institutions, which have been granted university status. Admissions increased throughout the 1990s but since the 2002/3 academic year, the government had put a limit on the number of students that it would sponsor. Until then, the number of privately sponsored students had been almost negligible, but since 2003, most of the expansion in enrolment had been through privately sponsored candidates (Ishengoma 2004).

In recent years, the country has been expanding access in the education sector starting with primary education through the primary education development programme (MMEM) in 2001, and the secondary education development programme (MMES) in 2004. Because of this, the country has been in efforts to expand higher education in collaboration with private sectors to meet the developments achieved at lower levels (URT, 2010). To date, there are more than 60 higher education institutions offering undergraduate degrees in the country.

Despite the fact that the gross enrolment rates (GER) in higher education have been lower side when compared to other developing countries (URT, 2010); yet the increased enrolment at lower levels has resulted into massive pressure on higher education admissions which in turn has necessitated the establishment of the Central Admission System in the country.

2.8.3.3 Establishment of CAS: A case study

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Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in Tanzania have undergone profound changes in recent years. Significant expansion of the system in order to admit an increasing cohort of school leavers, adult learners and generally a more diverse set of students than in the past has been a central part of this change. These changes have implications on higher education service delivery, for example the admission processes have become too complex with many challenges.

During the last 10 years, the demand for higher education in Tanzania had been increasing rapidly; as a result, concerns over undergraduate admission into HEIs have become an important point of discussion for many stakeholders. Due to the current increase of HEIs and the subsequent expansion of students enrolment, the admission into these institutions has become complicated (TCU, 2009:12) leading to a number of problems, including students spending money and time in applying for admission to a number of institutions so as to improve their chances of being admitted; difficulties in sorting out multiple admissions leading to delays in the start of the academic year by universities; complications in the disbursement of student loans by the Higher Education Students Loans Board (HESLB) as well as double payments due to multiple admissions; qualifying students failing to be admitted into universities due to inconsistencies in their applications; universities running below capacity as a result of superficial filling of institutional capacities caused by multiple admissions, hence denying deserving applicants admission opportunities; and cheating by some applicants during the admission process.

Special intervention was required and a central admission system was required to address these problems. Therefore, in order to streamline the students' admission process, TCU in collaboration with universities, NACTE and other HEIs established a new admission system known as the Central Admission System (CAS), where applicants for HEIs channel their applications centrally at TCU.

Introduced in 2010, the CAS system is an electronic application model designed to reduce inconvenience among prospective candidates vying for places in universities. The system targets to supplement the manual application system, which forced students to travel from upcountry to Dar es Salaam or other towns where the institutions are located in order to fill in application and admission forms. It was early in 2009 when the University Computing Centre Ltd (a company fully owned by the University of Dar es Salaam) was awarded a contract to develop a Central Admission System (CAS) to be used by all higher education institutions (HEIs) under the coordination of the Tanzania Commission for Universities (TCU). The system was aimed to process all applications for admission into the Tanzanian HEIs will centrally through the system. The aim of CAS is to computerize HEIs admission process for higher education courses. Its basic objectives are to extend their reach to geographically scattered students, reducing time in activities, centralized data handling and paperless admission with reduced manpower. Its other factors are cost cutting, operational efficiency, consistence view of data and integration with other institutions.

Through CAS, applicant has to enter only the Index number for 'O' level and 'A' level Exams, the system populates the personal details and results from National Examination Council of Tanzania (NACTE), and if the information provided matches then the applicant can proceed with selecting courses he/she is interested from all registered and participating institutions. All degree programmes available in the students' admission guidebook have their minimum requirement pre-configured which is used by the selection algorithm [7] .

CAS (Version I) was developed using Chisimba framework. Chisimba is an open source content management system which is the product of collaboration between the 12 African universities who are members of the African Virtual Open Initiatives and Resources group. The proposal was approved on April 2009 and the first demo of the system to more than 40 representatives from HEIs was on 12th November, 2009. The demo was successful and the system implementation started in the academic year 2010/2011 to date.

The Tanzania Commission for Universities (TCU) regulates admission of undergraduate students at higher education institutions according to their requirements and marks obtained and the admission terms specified by the institutions. The TCU tasks in admission are specified as follows:

Coordinating all undergraduate admissions through CAS in collaboration with participating HEIs in respect of criteria and admission requirements of each and every institution according to disciplines and available capacities;

Managing quality in admissions by ensuring that admission guidelines are followed accordingly;

Securing admission database of applicants and supplying the Ministry of Education and Vocation Training (MoEVT) and other governmental planning organizations with the statistical data in collaboration with HEIs.

Media awareness of all academic programs for CAS participating institutions in respect to admission operations in HEIs.

Supply students with required students Guide books about HEIs with their programmes offered and establish the inquiry service.

Receiving, and processing all applications to HEIs in accordance to the submitted and approved programmes with their requirements.

Organizing the Joint Admission Committee meeting for approving all admissions before publish the admission results to applicants and the public in general.

Then distributing the accepted students to the HEIs for senates approvals and notify the students, as well as the Institutions with the lists of the accepted applicants.

Transfer, re-allocate and track withdrawn, postponed, discontinued and accepted students in HEIs after allocations.

In Tanzania, the online application for undergraduate admission is increasingly gaining in popularity (TCU, 2010). Figures presented by the Tanzania Commission for Universities (TCU, 2011) show that during 2010/2011 academic year, when CAS was first introduced, 33,361 applicants out of 48,690 were admitted through CAS.

2.9 Conclusion

In general, e-governance in HEIs, particularly in Africa, is still in its infancy. It has been deployed in several [sections?] such as in e-learning, e-library, e-payments, etc.; but in admission still effort is needed to make sure that massification of higher education in Africa goes together with quality higher education which can easily be controlled and monitored from the entry point, which is admission process. However, the implementation of these efforts is confronted with many challenges heading to the e-governance implementation particularly in the public sectors as explained in the literature.

1) Delete the footnotes and incorporate the web references into the text.

2) You must continually show the relevance to your research topic of the various issues that you discuss.

3) Your literature review reads like a consultancy or management report - there is very little critical engagement with the topic (largely the result of your extensive reliance on official UN and other reports) and almost no evidence of engagement with the relevant sociological literature. External examiners will not accept this level of engagement in a PhD thesis.

4) Of great concern, however, is the extensive plagiarism in the chapter. You have lifted large parts of the chapter, word for word, from (acknowledged and unacknowledged) sources. This is a very serious issue and may constitute grounds for expelling you from Rhodes and all other South African universities. The rule is simple and clear: use your own words when not quoting from a source and acknowledge all sources when you draw on the ideas they contain.