n South African Journal of Higher Education - Teacher education in South Africa : social change, quality assurance, and democracy

Volume 20, Issue 6
  • ISSN : 1011-3487



Against a background of Durkheim's theory on changing forms of social solidarity, it is argued that social change and lack of trust have made quality assurance, as part of regulatory architecture, a seeming inevitability. There are powerful pressures for regulatory frameworks, level descriptors and specified standards that are, above all else, transparent. Implications for democracy are considered. Theory from education and political science suggests that the 'enhancement' of students - their right to the means of critical understanding and to new possibilities - is a necessary precondition for democracy. It is concluded that one viable possibility for promoting 'enhancement' lies in the involvement of teacher educators in standards setting for variants of professional qualifications they offer. In so doing, teacher educators need to maintain a distinction between the unintended homogenising consequences of outcomes in professional level descriptors, and their academic role as scholars and teachers in higher education.

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