Challenges faced by Malaysian private HLIs in providing quality education : a thematic analysis

Anis, Azilah and Islam, Rafikul and Abdullah, Nur Anisah (2018) Challenges faced by Malaysian private HLIs in providing quality education : a thematic analysis. Quality Assurance in Education, 26 (3). pp. 349-373. ISSN 0968-4883 (

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Purpose: The paper aims to identify the emerging themes on the challenges faced by the Malaysian private higher learning institutions (HLIs) in the provision of providing quality education. Design/methodology/approach: Semi-structured interviews were purposively conducted with 29 of the Malaysian private HLI internal and external stakeholders ranging from the relevant personnel of the institutions (the quality director, administrators and senior academics), regulatory agencies, prospective employer, students and parents. Thematic analysis was then applied to analyze the participants’ responses in determining and clarifying the challenges faced by the Malaysian private HLIs in the issue of providing quality education. Findings: Eight overarching themes were identified, namely, Academics, Facilities, Students, Programs and curriculum, Competition, Accreditation, Finance and Research. Academics represent the most frequent challenge raised by the participants, whereas Research emerged as the least mentioned challenge during the interview sessions. Research limitations/implications: The present paper focused solely on Malaysian private HLIs, and thus, the findings may not be applicable to the foreign private HLIs that are operating in Malaysia as well as to the public HLIs. Originality/value: The findings are expected to provide valuable guidelines to the Malaysian Private HLIs in areas where resources need to be critically disbursed. To the regulatory agencies and policy-makers, the findings could enlighten them on the difficulties faced by these privately funded institutions so that further policies can be designed and implemented to assist these institutions in their operations and long-term survival.