Accreditation Exercise as a Quality Assurance Instrument in the Management of Universities in the Rivers of Nigeria: Prospects and Challenges (Published)
Increasingly, university institution managers world-wide are seeking for more effective tools for managing their institutions in manners that would demonstrate application of common best practices and hence, gain higher ratings on performance standards. Accreditation exercises have therefore been conceived and are being implemented in Nigerian universities to maintain standards and assure quality in service delivery. This paper examined how far accreditation exercises in universities in Rivers State have contributed to the achievement of this feat and the challenges facing it. The survey involved all the Deans and heads of academic departments in federal and state universities in three sampled universities in Rivers State. The population of the study comprised 182 (25 HoDs and 157 Deans). One self-designed instrument titled Accreditation Exercise as a Quality Assurance Instrument Questionnaire (AEQAIQ). Face and content validities were ensured by experts. The reliability coefficient of 0.81 was established with the help of Cronbach Alpha. The data generated was analysed using mean statistics and independent sample t-test. The result revealed that accreditation exercises impacted moderately on curriculum harmonization, the provision of staff offices, libraries and the general institutional environment. The exercises however have minimal impact on the provision of equipments in laboratories and workshops. Poor funding, poor institutional data base and some lack of commitment to standards by university proprietors were identified as some of the challenges to achieving quality assurance from accreditation exercises. It was concluded that universities in the Rivers State of Nigeria have not sufficiently capitalized on their routine accreditation exercises to adequately assure quality in the delivery and management of university education. The need for university managers to be more pro-active in accreditation exercises and establish internal quality assurance framework to achieve quality in the management of these universities were recommended.