Foreign language instructed programs in public universities in Egypt: Implications for resource diversification, quality and equity in higher education
Sabry, Manar A.
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This study seeks to assess the impact of tuition fees of the Foreign language Instructed Programs (FLIP) at Cairo University on increasing other-than-governmental resources for these programs as well as for the university, increasing student satisfaction with the quality of education, and maintaining equitable access. The study uses a theoretical framework based on the rationale of cost sharing in higher education. It investigates the policies of cost sharing that have been used in Egyptian universities, and examines the methods and steps taken toward solving problems in higher education in Egypt through the application of cost sharing. The study used a mixed method approach to collect the necessary data to conduct the analysis. This is a case study of a single university. In particular, the Faculty of Economics and Political Science (FEPS) and the Faculty of Commerce (FC) at Cairo University were chosen for the study. A total of 450 student survey questionnaires and 18 individual interviews served as the basis of the analysis, in addition to some financial statements and documents review. Three implications of the FLIP were identified and formed the three research questions in this study. The findings show that there is some positive effect of the FLIPs in terms of offering some funding to the university general budget and in diversifying the supply to meet the greater diversity of learner demand. However, the findings reveal that revenues generated from the FLIP actually are a replacement to public funds and not a supplement to the underfunded university budget. There is a significant difference between students in the FLIP and those in the Traditional Arabic Program in terms of socioeconomic status in that students in the FLIP programs come from families of a much higher income level. The study concludes that equity is jeopardized through the model of the FLIP. However, when assessing student satisfaction and self-perception of the quality of the program of study, it was found that none of the FLIPs comes in first place. The students in the Traditional Arabic Programs (TAP) in the FEPS were the most satisfied group. The analysis shows that there are other elements that affect student satisfaction levels. These factors represent the dimensions of quality that would have to be taken into account alongside with providing extra funds to the universities. Increasing funding without the appropriate management or without improving teaching methods will not automatically improve student satisfaction. The FLIPs should be given more autonomy to be able to react in a flexible way toward curriculum reforms, and this autonomy should also extend to the operation of expenses in order to work more efficiently and thus be held accountable for their action.