Quality Issues in Teaching and Learning English at Tertiary Level in Ghana

  • Solomon Dansieh

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Business (DBA)


Available empirical data relating to quality generally and the application of quality assurance principles to language education at tertiary-level are scanty. This study explores how higher education institutions in Ghana apply QA mechanisms to enhance the teaching and learning of English for Academic Purposes. It examines how institutional contexts and cultures of the four case study institutions impact their QA processes. First, the rhetorical tensions and the apparent lack of consensus on the definition of the term “quality” are acknowledged alongside the enviable status of English as a “global lingua franca”; the relevance and pervasiveness of the EAP discipline in tertiary educational circles within and without Ghana and the resultant need for quality assurance and enhancement in its teaching and learning. One particular component of quality in higher education: the need for ensuring that programmes and services are fit for the purpose for which they were designed, and that the “clients” (students) are getting value for their money serves as the focus of the empirical research. The QA dimension of the research attempts to answer the question of whether students provide written feedback on their teaching and whether this is acted upon by the case study institutions in order to improve the EAP course. A combination of qualitative, quantitative, mixed-method approaches and documentary research is adopted to provide the framework for exploring QA and quality issues at each of the institutions involved in this study. The study first considers the quality challenges of higher education in Sub-Saharan Africa and Ghana within the context of policy. Subsequently, the unique features of each case study institution are quantified. To enhance the depth of understanding so as to establish each case study institution’s QA mechanisms and processes for enhancing EAP teaching and learning, a comparative/multiple case study approach is adopted. The blend of methods facilitated exploring the issues and the drawing of conclusions as the strengths of each complements the other. The assessment of QA practices used in the teaching and learning of EAP in the case institutions revealed a number of interesting similarities and differences in terms of institutional context, quality culture, quality assurance mechanisms, pedagogy, and curriculum designs. Based on these findings, suggestions for EAP teaching quality enhancement in the case study institutions are subsequently made. Unique practices identified in the institutions are recommended for replication in other tertiary educational institutions. Suggestions for further and future research are also made followed by a brief account of the author’s professional and personal development during the DBA programme.
Date of Award9 Nov 2015
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SponsorsGhana Education Trust Fund
SupervisorJohn L. Brennan (Supervisor) & Rajani Naidoo (Supervisor)


  • quality; quality assurance; English for Academic Purposes; tertiary education; privatisation

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