• Nicky Alpaslan Department of Social Work
  • George Angelopulo Department of Communication Science, University of South Africa
  • Rinie Schenck Social Work, University of the Western Cape, South Africa.




Because of their core business, institutions of higher education should be regarded as “service industries” (Chen, 2009:77; Sander, Stevenson, King, & Coates, 2000:309). In terms of their objectives, these institutions’ primary concerns are threefold: to promote individuals’ academic development by way of providing in-depth knowledge and skills through teaching and learning; to develop new knowledge through vigorous research and the dissemination of research findings for the benefit of society; to render community services to society by means of consultation and engaging in community-orientated service activities (Chen, 2009:77; Maliyamokono in Higgs & Van Wyk, 2006:87).When labelling institutions of higher education as “service industries”, the consumers of services of such higher institutions can no longer only be regarded as “students” but should be viewed as “customers”. They are customers who seem to be well informed about their rights as consumers, who demand effective and quality services, who voice their concerns and dissatisfaction through formal and informal channels (i.e. in communications to University authorities as well as through public demonstrations and in the media and on social networks (Sander et al., 2000:309)). As an example, one article in the printed media comes to mind (i.e. “Unisa students march to protest high fees, service” by Tsabeng Nthite in The Pretoria News on 23 September 2006:3).


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