3.2.5 The role of Higher Education Institutes (HEIs) ranking
This part of the report examines higher education institutes ranking that has been used as a promotional tool internationally to advertise HEIs performance. The institutes' rankings provide information to potential students, their families and influence their reputation globally (Clark et al. 2006;Rauhvargers, 2013). In their study, Usher and Savino (2007) characterized university ranking comparative lists of HEIs in ascending order.
Also, the study must clarify the difference between ranking and rating. According to QS World University Ranking (2018), ranking refers to "who is the best" making a cross-comparison possible between different universities according to criteria and placing them in ascending order. In contrast, rating refers to "who is good at what ", and students have been evaluated how they perform against a set of standards and not against each other (Figure 3.6). The QS World University Ranking (2018)uses QS stars, which is an "audit of the strengths and weaknesses of each university".
For ranking production, data is collected for each of the criteria included in the list then weighted and accumulated. The action creates scores for each higher education institution, with the highest score being 100 and 0 as the lowest. Each HEI is measured either as a whole, including all schools, andmeasured by course or subject area. For example, hospitality, events management, tourism, business, management and marketing (The Guardian, 2017; Usher and Medow, 2009). Each university ranking system includes different criteria and guidelines.
Moreover, the weightings for each of the criteria are different. According to the table, each of the rankings focus on different areas like research, students' satisfaction, graduate prospect, academic reputation, employability, satisfaction with teaching and feedback (Academic Ranking of World Universities, 2017; The Times Higher Education (THE) ranking, 2018; QS world university rankings, 2018; The Guardian ranking, 2017; The Complete Universities Guide, 2017). The differences between varying world ranking agencies when referring to criteria, guidelines and weightings create criticism by authors as it draws confusion for academics, students and their families (Hornby and Lafaele, 2011).Moreover, the absence of a standardized measurement makes it difficult to rank the quality of higher education from a global perspective because it is impossible to compare different data and techniques (Chung, 2017).
It can be said that probably the only criterion that connects most of HEIs across the different rankings is research performance, but this criterion alone is not good enough to unify ranking systems in different countries (Marginson, 1997; Marginson, 2007).
Table 3.7 attempts to visualise ranking establishments and criteria referring to 2017-2018. Five ranking institutions are taken into consideration in Table 3.7. These are: Academic Ranking of World Universities 2017, Times Higher Education ranking 2018, QS world university rankings 2018, The Guardian ranking 2018 and The Complete universities guide 2018. Each of these implement different criteria in their ranking which might confuse students. Some of these criteria match with different institutions while others do not match. Three out of four criteria ARWU uses, which are "quality of education, quality of faculty and per capita performance" have not been used by any of the four systems.
Moreover, the Times Higher Education uses the criterion "industry outcome" that no other has used. Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) includes five criteria and any other ranking establishment has not used three of them "international students, academic reputation and employer reputation". The Guardian uses eight criteria,and any other ranking establishment has not used three of them "satisfied with feedback, spend per student and value-added score". The results show that different ranking institutions are unique in the way they rank and give attention to different criteria to differentiate the way they rank universities (National student survey 2015; Chung, 2017).
These differences indicate positive and negative points. The positive points signify that each ranking establishment developed a different method to rank different universities focusing on research or teaching or academic reputation or student satisfaction between others. On the other hand, negative points could be criticised that different ranking establishments focus only on universities ranking. There is no clear analytical explanation on what the ranking methodology refers to, at least when students investigate the ranking list. The action might lead students and the general population to believe that if a university is at the top of the ranking list automatically is the best choice for students no matter the cost of study or the study area (Green, 2007).
It is obvious from Table 3.7; there are common criteria used by two or more ranking institutes such as research quality, teaching, satisfied with the course or student satisfaction, entry tariff or entry standards, and career after six months or graduate prospects. The above criteria prove that different higher education ranking institutes do consider important criteria in higher education and they attempt to monitor and measure criteria involving teaching and research, course and student satisfaction, standards of students enrolling in universities and graduate potential after completion of their studies.
Many factors influence students' decision-making and selection of HEI. While there is a reasonable understanding within institutions that offer their degrees, there is a dearth of research, which investigates the factors that influence students' decisions to study for franchised degrees at overseas institutions. Additionally, much of the research has neglected to consider the design and implementation of marketing strategies with a variety of factors influencing student decision-making; this is the focus of the next section of this report.
4.0 Marketing in Higher Education
Hunt and Lambe (2000) point out that the debate about the implementation of marketing in higher education started a few years ago. Different disciplines contributed to the development of marketing theoretical frameworks. Nevertheless, there is a limited amount of contemporary published research referring to marketing and higher education theoretical concepts and practices (Maringe and Gibbs, 2009; Teixeira et al. 2004; Bok, 2003; Teixeira, 2013). One of the first well-known books investigating the relationship between education and marketing was published in 1995 in the USA. Kotler and Fox (1995, p.6) define educational marketing as "the planning, analysis, implementation and control of formulated programmes carefully designed to bring about exchanges of optional values with target marketsin achieving institutional objectives".
Also, Davies and Ellison (1997, p.3) define marketing in education as "the means by which the school actively communicates and promotes its purpose, values and products to the pupils, parents, staff and wider community". Some authors support that principles of marketing literature should be implemented by educational establishments for higher education institutes to promote their image in the international educational market (Binsardi and Ekwulugo, 2003; Brown et al. 2009; Ivy, 2008; Cubillo et al. 2006; Knight, 2003).
One of the principles of marketing is to understand the needs and the desires of the consumers to satisfy them and increase customers' retention (Jongbloed, 2003, p.114; Drummond and Ensor, 2005; Centeno et al. 2008; Lovelock and Wirtz, 2011; Chaffey et al. 2013). According to Jongbloed (2003), education marketization is a contemporary phenomenon with a global expansion, which is promoted by a country's higher education policies and higher education institutions marketing strategies (Ma and Abbot, 2016). Particularly, Lauder et al. (2006) wrote that different agencies such as World Bank, Economic Co-operation and Development countries (OECD), United Nations Economic Commission (UNEC) and World Trade Organization (WTO) implemented since 1995 the General Agreement on Trade Services (GATS) referring to higher education and its expansion to global market (Salmi, 2009; Skinner and Blackey, 2010). It has to be noted that GATS is under the supervision of the WTO (Bassett, 2009).
Nowadays, education is contemplated as any other service in the market (Woodfield, 2014). Hence, transforming education as any other commercial service raises concerns about the quality and integrity of awarding degrees at an international level (Eagle and Brennan, 2007). Marketing could help to improve academic programmes and services by meeting students' needs and desires, assisting schools to survive within the competitive higher education environment (Clarke et al. 2006; Sax, 2004). Nevertheless, there are arguments that education is a different type of service and it cannot be treatedlike any other service in the market (Carlson and Fleisher, 2002; Kumar and Ambrish, 2015; Lim and Svensson, 2013).
4.1 Traditional and education marketing mix
The marketing mix is a marketing strategy tool, including a set of essentials available for a firm to outline its products and services and sell them to its clients. Regarding the education market, marketing mix formulates the number of components offered and organises them into educational subject areas, assisting the higher education institution to formulate its strategic decisions (Palmer, 2001). Traditional marketing mix includes: Product, Price, Place, and Promotion, called the "4Ps" (Little and Marandi, 2003). Although traditional marketing mix was used as a strategy extensively in the last years, Zeithaml et al. (2006), mentioned that there are restrictions when implemented in the higher education business. The nature of education itself set the limitations of using the 4Ps. Therefore, Kotler and Fox (1995) designed and developed an education marketing mix matching the essentials of educational institutions, and would eventually close the gaps between education and business practices.
The model of Kotler and Fox (1995) illustrates that the educational marketing mix includes seven tools. These area program, price, place, promotion, processes, physical facilities, and people (figure 2.9). Additionally, Lovelock and Wirtz (2011) and Ivy (2008) "7Ps" include similar components and may apply differently in various industries or business cases (figure 2.10; figure 2.11). Pride and Ferrell (2012) noted that the "4Ps" marketing mix example, was probably the reason some authors chose to start all their marketing mix elements with a "P". As it has been illustrated in (figure 2.8), this research mainly investigates the marketing mix developed by Kotler and Fox (1995). The reason to discuss mainly this model is that it includes the most of the marketing mix fundamentals pointed out by the models mentioned above. The particular model has been discussed extensively in the literature. Within the literature, the essentials of this model will be critically reviewed, and the strategic concept of a higher education institution could establish to re-engineer its education services. Afterwards, at a later phase, marketing mix developed by Kotler and Fox (1995, p.8) is associated with a contemporary higher education student-choice model for developed countries (figure 2.13) presented by Vrontis et al. (2007, p. 987).
According to Kotler and Armstrong (2012, p. 224), a product is defined as "somethingoffered to a market for attention, acquisition, consumption or use that may sa...
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