Quality assurance in higher education in Southern Africa : the case of the universities of the Witwatersrand, Zimbabwe and Botswana.

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dc.contributor.author Mhlanga, Ephraim
dc.date.accessioned 2010-03-03T09:44:45Z
dc.date.available 2010-03-03T09:44:45Z
dc.date.issued 2010-03-03T09:44:45Z
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10539/7599
dc.description.abstract Quality assurance is increasingly becoming an important aspect of higher education institutions in developing countries, as expressed in the development of relevant policies, structures and systems at national and institutional levels. This thesis critically examines the nature of quality assurance policies and practices in selected universities in the Southern African Development Community (SADC), as well as the factors that shape these policies. Through a close examination of these policies and practices, the thesis explains why some universities realise better quality than others, even though they fall within the same geographical region and share relatively similar historical legacies. Although this study was largely qualitative, it did not preclude quantitative dimensions. Integrating the two approaches made it possible not only to triangulate data, but also to engage in multidimensional analysis of some of the phenomena under investigation. While debates in the literature locate quality assurance within internal and external discourses, this does not sufficiently explain the tensions that were observed amongst the various stakeholders within institutions, especially between management and academic staff. The manner in which institutional policies were developed, the role academic staff played in the process, and the reporting lines associated with institutional quality assurance arrangements, are reflected in staff perceptions on whether or not they regarded the policies as internal to the academic community and the extent to which they own the policies. The main contribution of this thesis to debates on quality assurance is its revelation of the complexities that arise in institutional policy making as a result of the highly differentiated nature of the academy. This aspect points at the need for institutions to pay particular care in adopting most appropriate strategies that privilege the organic development of policies within institutions. On the whole, institutions were mainly preoccupied with developing quality assurance policies and systems that are comparable to international standards, hence the heavy reliance on external/international expertise in doing so. Whilst this is not necessarily a iii bad thing, the quality assurance systems that were developed did not take into account the contextual peculiarities of the studied institutions. A direct consequence of this was the development of policies and mechanisms that are more concerned with standardisation of procedures than with enhancement of academic practice. Such quality assurance systems have not resulted in the self-improvement of institutions. The establishment of quality assurance policies and the putting in place of structures and procedures are necessary but not sufficient conditions for enhancing academic practice in universities. en_US
dc.language.iso en en_US
dc.subject Quality assurance en_US
dc.subject Accountability en_US
dc.subject Accreditation en_US
dc.subject Institutional collegiality en_US
dc.subject Internal and external evaluation en_US
dc.subject Policy process and implementation en_US
dc.subject Quality management en_US
dc.subject Higher education en_US
dc.subject Case studies en_US
dc.title Quality assurance in higher education in Southern Africa : the case of the universities of the Witwatersrand, Zimbabwe and Botswana. en_US
dc.type Thesis en_US

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