International Challenges and Expectations
Björn Åstrand Contemporary Challenges for Quality Assurance in Teacher Education: The Swedish Example – Do Central Inspections Impede Local Quality Cultures? Accountability and Quality Assurance: Crucial Aspects of Contemporary Higher Education Parallel to the massification of higher education during recent decades, systems for quality assurance (QA) and accountability have been imple- mented in dif ferent forms. Over time, diverse elements have become coher- ent systems, usually labelled quality assurance systems (Teichler, 2007). Those systems usually include QA instruments like audits, evaluations and accreditation, all with explicit aims of assessing quality in one or several respects and in relation to either institutions or activities (research, the execution of educational programmes etc.). The function of those QA systems is the subject of debate. One could outline positions along at least one scale ranging from assessing quality to control and (in-) direct steering, largely coloured by a neoliberal agenda. From an anthropological perspec- tive, those activities have also been addressed as ‘rituals of verification’ and as ‘a response to the uncertainties of “risk society”’ (Strathern, 2000, p. 3. cf. Shore & Wright, 2000, p. 83). In the discussion on the causes of the general and broad implementa- tion of QA some crucial aspects have been highlighted, all more or less related to the growth of higher education in numbers and to a stronger recognition of individuals’ and societies’ dependence on high quality edu- cation (Schwartz & Westerhejden, 2004, p. 5, 32f; Teichler, 2007, p. 56; Power, 2000; El-Khawas, 2006, p. 25): 86 Björn...
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