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Quality Assurance in Higher Education in Southern Africa

Challenges and Opportunities

Ephraim Mhlanga

This book attempts to explore the nature of quality assurance policies and practices in three universities in the Southern African region. It looks at how they were developed, the parties that were involved in the policy process, the implications of such processes for policy implementation, and institutional and contextual factors mediating quality assurance practices on the ground. The major aim of the book is to explore both enabling and constraining factors affecting quality enhancement in higher education in this region.
The book is based on a set of case studies undertaken at the three universities. Although they share a relatively common geographical location, the universities have different contextual environments and are at different stages of quality assurance development.


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This book was developed from my PhD thesis which would not have been successful without the unwavering mentoring I received from Professor Michael Cross. It was through his encouragement, patience and scholarly advice that both the thesis and this book became a reality. The contribution of other staf f at the University of the Witwatersrand is also acknowledged, in particular for the information they provided on quality assurance prac- tices in the university. My special thanks in this regard are extended to the head of the Academic Planning and Development Of fice, for providing documentary information on quality assurance policy issues and struc- tures that are in place at Wits. I also thank all the members of staf f in the University who participated in the interviews and the quality assurance survey for this study, who are too many to mention by name. I owe gratitude to the administration at the Universities of Botswana and Zimbabwe for granting permission to use the institutions as research sites. In particular I would like to thank the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic) and the then Director of the Centre for Academic Development (CAD) at the University of Botswana for granting me permission to undertake the study in the university. Similar thanks are extended to Vice Chancellor Professor Nyagura and his Registrar, Mr Chevo, for sanction- ing the study at the University of Zimbabwe at a time when the University was going through very challenging times. I acknowledge the contribution of academic staf f in...

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