Role of Personal Factors in Epistemological Access to Higher Education: Comparison of Public and Private Universities in Pakistan
The aim of this study was to find the difference between the perceptions of students of public and private universities regarding relationship of personal factors (comprising four sub-factors (personal competency, participation in university activities, personal efforts for improvement, personal willingness) and epistemological access. A survey was held with undergraduate students of eight universities (4 public & 4 private) in Pakistan. Multistage sampling technique was used to select the sample that targeted 1600 under-graduate students of 6thsemester from two faculties (Information and Technology, and Business School) of 8 universities (4 private and 4 public) situated in the province of Punjab and Islamabad (Capital Territory) in Pakistan. The data were collected through a self-constructed questionnaire during the academic session ‘Fall 2018-2019.’ Data was recorded on SPSS and treated statistically; after confirmatory factor analysis, one-way ANOVA was conducted to find the difference between perceptions of students of public and private universities across 5 factors stated above. The results showed that significant difference existed between perceptions regarding provision of epistemological access among four out of five factors. In three cases (personal competency, participation in university activities and personal willingness for improvement) the perceptions of private students were better than the students of public universities, whereas, the public university students’ perceptions were better in personal efforts for improvement. It was deduced from the results of Pearson correlation that there existed a positive relationship among the mentioned constructs— personal competency, personal effort for improvement, and epistemological access. However, no significant difference was found between students of public & private universities regarding provision of epistemological access in their respective universities.