An Investigation into Data Management as a Strategic Information Tool and Its Importance at the Durban University of Technology
In the early 1990’s, various investigations were launched into higher education policies for post-apartheid South Africa. It was in these debates that the South African Post Secondary Education (SAPSE) funding formula was established. It was later established that it was a flawed document as suggested by Bunting (1994:141-149) and cited by Cloete, Maassen, Fehnel, Moja, Gibbon and Perold (2007:93). The SAPSE funding framework which was established in 1982 for the historically White universities applied throughout the late 1980s and early 1990s to all other universities and technikons, was eventually abolished. This was essentially an apartheid funding framework and it could not be used in the current transformed higher education system. The New Funding Framework (2003) gives advantage to comprehensive and traditional universities. It is also graduate output driven. The HEMIS transformed system is committed to equity and strong linkages with national development needs. It was argued by most stakeholder Institutions that with the abolition of the SAPSE funding framework, it would result in major benefits for some groups of institutions and equate to major costs for others. Thus, the significance of this study is to ensure an effective and efficient way for the data to be maintained in order to support the mission and vision of the Durban University of Technology. Bitzer (2009:354) states that South African universities have become highly unpredictable. Universities have moved from an isolated, divided system in the apartheid era toward a single coordinated system. This system has higher levels of participation and responsiveness. Yet it is within a developing economy and poor quality of primary and secondary education that South African higher education therefore faces a multitude of challenges. Bitzer (2009:354) further explains how conditions of unpredictability further worsens the complexities of planning, policy setting and decision making which then impacts negatively on corporate governance and management activities. The purpose was to investigate data management as a strategic information tool and its importance at the Durban University of Technology. The problem revolved around, inter alia, data management and accuracy as structured interventions impacting sound decision making. The research design adopted a quantitative methodological approach that used a precoded self administered questionnaire. The empirical component involved a survey method considering that it was an in-house investigation where the target population equated to 174 respondents. A significant 74% response rate was obtained using the personal method of data collection. Several hypotheses were formulated relating to data quality initiatives, data owners and their responsibility and frequency of data analysis in order to determine accuracy. These were tested using the Pearson chi-square test and data that was analyzed to determine frequencies and percentages of responses. The data was analyzed using the computerized Statistical Program for Social Sciences (SPSS) program. A highly significant finding was that 95.31% of the respondents strongly agreed that data management and integrity is of utmost importance at the Durban University of Technology. One recommendation suggests that for the Durban University of Technology to manage its data as an asset, a policy on data integrity and integration policy should be developed and implemented. Another recommendation highlighted that staff should strive to attain proper classification on he database, considering that this directly impacts on the accuracy of the HEMIS submissions to the Ministry of Education for the state allocated subsidy. The study concludes with directions for further research as well.
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Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences ISSN 2039-9340(Print) ISSN 2039-2117(Online)
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