Student support service excellence evaluation: Balancing the Iron Triangle of accessibility, cost-effectiveness and quality?

Asteria Nsamba, Angie Bopape, Bongi Lebeloane, Laetitia Lekay


Recently, the University of South Africa widened access to academic facilities and services at one of its study centres. Although this is laudable and demonstrates a commitment by the university towards its students, it raises these three concerns (1) What is the occupancy rate of the facilities? (2) To what extent are these improved facilities cost-effective? (3) What is the quality of the services at these facilities? A modified iron triangle was employed to analyse and determine accessibility, cost-effectiveness and the quality of the facilities. Data mining techniques involving descriptive analysis indicated that the most utilised service facilities were the computer laboratories and the least utilised was the study space. Moreover, perceived service quality of the facilities was rated good to excellent by the majority of the respondents. The modified iron triangle was found to be useful in helping us understand Student Support Excellence Project’s (SSEP) improvements at the identified study centre.


Open Distance Learning (ODL); study centres; service quality; service facilities; Iron Triangle

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