Merit matters: student perceptions of faculty quality and reward
This empirical research explores a role that the quality of teaching and students' competence play in shaping students' views about the upward mobility opportunities in their higher education institutions. It is often understood that the principal role of higher education is to promote merit-based mobility amongst students, as well as espouse the merit-based upward mobility amongst its faculty. How exactly students in higher education form their views about the presence of meritorious upward mobility is the question that remains largely unanswered, especially in developing societies. To help answer this question, the study relies on the binary logistic regression of data collected via 762 surveys from 6 public higher education institutions in Bosnia and Herzegovina and determines what factors help predict students' views on whether faculty promotions are merited or not. Findings in this article are sub-selected from a broader empirical work, and they point to a novel link: the quality of teaching and students' views on whether the most competent students are first to graduate in their faculties are the key predictors of whether students believe the faculty members within their higher education institutions are promoted based on merit. In the absence of meritocracy, students are, as this research finds, likely to categorize the educational system as corrupt. When the merit-based competition does not determine who moves up within higher education, one's belonging to the political, social, and economic elites tends to become the alternative basis for the upward mobility. Moving away from the merit-based mobility can have broad social consequences particularly in developing countries that are poorly equipped to react to such digressions, underlining the relevance of this work cross-nationally.