Challenges and Opportunities
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.
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...
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