Article – Profiling Education
When reading some of the international press it will be clear that there are very few countries in the world where there is not serious political anxiety about the state of their education system, in that regard Namibia is not different from anywhere else. Big challenges facing Namibia is how to deliver high and uniform standards of education services to citizens across the country. The quest for quality and uniformity has eluded many industrialised countries, for years successive UK governments have manipulated policy to try and deliver a uniform standard of education throughout Britain, and have failed. One of the high-level messages coming from the 2014, first multi-industry nationwide customer service survey, undertaken by the Harold Pupkewitz Graduate School of Business in the Polytechnic of Namibia, is that where you live does make a difference to the quality of education service you get. This survey collected over 7000 responses on customer service in Namibia, covering 12 key industry sectors from education to insurance, making it the most comprehensive survey on customer service in Namibia and probably Africa.
Why is education so important to us? Probably, because it touches us where we are most vulnerable, that is in protecting and providing for our children. Parents universally, want to provide better opportunities for their children than they had for themselves and are willing to make huge sacrifices to achieve it. The post-aparthied social contract with a promise of a better life for all, many parents are willing to forego, if they feel their children will be recipients of this promise. Most parents rightly, recognise that education is the key that will open the door to these benefits. This is why education as a service is so important, it is a vital part of the promise for a better life.
389 responses were received on education. Results were organized by region including: Windhoek, Walvis Bay, Swakopmund and Rundu. These regions will be the finalist at the Awards ceremony on the 5th November at the Polytechnic’s new Health & Applied Sciences Building in Windhoek. They will be competing for the Education Customer Service Excellence Award.
Overall the industry received high ratings from customers. The main service drivers for the industry are reliability of the service that is the extent to which the service is delivered consistently without fail, customer knowledge that is the extent to which customer needs are understood, competence and expertise of service staff, responsiveness of the service to the needs to the customer and credibility of the service meaning the school is trustworthy and honest. Identifying these service drivers provide schools in the primary and secondary sector with insight into what customers/parents are looking for from their service encounter with schools. It guides them where to spend time and resources in training to obtain the maximum return on their investment. A customer’s perception of service quality may vary for many reasons, but the factors that shape those perceptions will remain remarkably constant.
Walvis Bay schools rated highest for reliability with an excellent 86% with parents/customers noting schools gave prompt service and do things right, first time. Rundu schools demonstrated a strong rating (69%) for understanding their customers, specifically noting that schools instil confidence in parents. Swakopmund schools scored a remarkable 91% for competence of staff with parents noting that staff exhibit a high degree of skill for the job. Schools in Windhoek scored highest for responsiveness (79%) with parents noting that staff are very clear in giving information to parents about when services are going to be performed. For credibility there were high scores in the 70 to 80 percentiles except for Rundu where they scored 54% and parents noting a relative lack of confidence in the honesty and integrity of schools.
How do we use these results? We can identify the schools that contributed these results and use them as models for weaker schools as it can be argued that schools which excel in customer service are likely to be school which also excel in matric results and provide a quality experience for learners. Which education region will walk away with the award for best customer service and will this region or town ultimately win the award for best customer service in Namibia? To find out you will have to attend the awards ceremony on the 5th November. Tickets can be bought by contacting Conference Link on (061 251 014) or through the website www.csmafrica.org.
To book seats for the first Namibian Customer Service Conference, Awards or Master Class or to purchase a Customer Service Industry Report call or email Conference Link on (061 251 014) or email@example.com or register through our website at www.csmafrica.org.
Professor Grafton Whyte
Director – Harold Pupkewitz GSB