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ERIC Number: EJ778552
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Jul
Pages: 20
Abstractor: Author
Reference Count: 29
ISSN: ISSN-1353-8322
The Introduction of External Quality Assurance in South African Higher Education: An Analysis of Stakeholder Response
Luckett, Kathy
Quality in Higher Education, v13 n2 p97-116 Jul 2007
This paper analyses the take-up of proposals for a national quality assurance system in South Africa using different approaches to quality assurance to classify stakeholder responses to survey and interview questions. The context of the study was the introduction of an external quality assurance system for South African higher education by an agency of the Department of Education, the Higher Education Quality Committee (HEQC) in 2004. A conceptual framework using Habermas' distinctions between system and strategic action on the one hand and lifeworld and communicative action on the other was set up to map different approaches to quality assurance and to analyse the data. Stakeholder opinion on the HEQC's proposals for institutional audit and programme accreditation was gathered using survey questionnaire and depth-interview instruments. Given that quality assurance in South Africa has been conceived as a means of furthering the state's "transformation agenda" for higher education, different and sometimes conflicting approaches to quality assurance exist in the higher education community--underpinned by different values, discourses and purposes for higher education. The study shows that these differences of opinion were shaped more strongly by the respondents' position in the social structure (apartheid defined class and race position) than by their social role (academic, manager, quality assurance manager) in the policy-making process. The paper concludes by suggesting that this finding may be explained if one understands the adoption and intended implementation of quality assurance policy to be a lifeworld matter. The contribution of Habermas' notions of lifeworld and system to conceptualising and understanding quality assurance systems is put forward. Interview schedules used in the empirical study are appended. (Contains 1 figure and 4 notes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: South Africa