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Quality Assurance in international, African and Southern African contexts

Fourie, Magda; van der Westhuizen, Louis

Abstract:
Currently quality assurance in higher education is being addressed in different ways in many countries all over the world. Different needs and emphases of governments and higher education systems lead to a tension between improvement and accountability, innovation and assurance, as well as change and control. There are both core differences and significant similarities in the structures and processes by which these issues are addressed in different systems and institutions. These differences in approaches relate to cultural, political, economic and social considerations as well as technical aspects of quality assurance systems. The latter are mainly the result of variances in the purposes or aims of quality assurance that originate from complicated and intertwined assumptions about quality and quality assurance, as well as about internal and external conditions.  Typical external conditions include globalisation and national policy expectations, while internal conditions could range from financial and efficiency needs in a higher education institution to new approaches in teaching and learning.  Internationally the main reasons for quality assurance seem to be the massification of education and its consequences; accountability from a value for money perspective (doing more with fewer resources); internationalisation of qualifications (including international standards) and increased mobility of students and staff; the professionalising of academe (staff performance, labour relations, skills development); matching programmes to labour and employment needs (co-operation and competition); the rise of private education (new partners and/or competitors); and indirect steering of higher education systems by governments. Some of these factors are discussed in more detail in this paper.

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Chapter Title: Quality Assurance in international, African and Southern African contexts
Book Title: Quality assurance in a transforming university system: lessons and challenges
Edited by: Griesel, H., Strydom, A.H. & van der Westhuizen, L.J.
City: Bloemfontein
Publisher: NRF Unit for Research into Higher Education
No. of Pages: 1-36


Date:2002
Document Type:Chapter in Book (Peer Reviewed)
Subject Area:National Systems and Comparative Studies
Country:International
Keywords:Quality Assurance, International Comparisons, Higher Education, Higher Education and the State, Higher Education Systems


File Size:124 KB
Rights:Permission to reproduce this chapter was granted by the editor.
Date Added:08 August 2007


Fourie, Magda; van der Westhuizen, Louis (2002). Quality assurance in international, African and Southern African contexts. In H. Griesel, A.H. Strydom & L.J. van der Westhuizen (eds), Quality assurance in a transforming university system: lessons and challenges , Bloemfontein, South Africa: NRF Unit for Research into Higher Education, 1-36.