Show Less

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.


Show Summary Details
Restricted access

Chapter 2 The Contested Terrain of Quality Assurance: A Theoretical Review


Introduction The literature on quality assurance in higher education is silent about the political, economic and social factors that shape quality assurance systems in university institutions. As a result, quality assurance is treated from a somewhat simplistic perspective, where studies focus mainly on developing policies and putting in place structures that facilitate the implementation of such policies. With the exception of a few,1 most studies portray quality assurance as either external or internal, with the former being associated with much-resented bureaucratic and managerialistic constraints while the latter is considered positive on the grounds that it is less bureaucratic and enjoys buy-in from implementers on the ground. Such literature does little to problematise the nature of the so-called “internal” approaches to quality assurance because it takes collegiality to be a homogeneous rather than a highly dif ferentiated and loosely coupled entity. Internal quality assur- ance systems are portrayed as being controlled by the academy, as having 1 Barnett, R. (1994) Power, Enlightenment and Quality Evaluation. In European Journal of Education, Vol. 29 (2) pp. 165–79. Luckett, K. (2005) A Critical Policy Analysis of the Proposed National Quality Assurance System for South African Higher Education. In Smout, M. (ed) The Decade Ahead: Challenges for Quality Assurance in South African Higher Education, SAUVCA, Pretoria. Harvey (1996) External Quality Monitoring in the Market Place. A paper presented at the 18th Annual EAIR Forum: Higher Education in the market place; strategies of success and survival, Budapest, Hungary, 25–28 August 1996. 20 Chapter...

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.

Do you have any questions? Contact us.

Or login to access all content.