n South African Journal of Higher Education - Value for money and quality in higher education




Value for money as one of the principles of quality assurance in education has often been perceived and significantly misconstrued as placing emphasis on financial efficiency. This mechanistic view of value for money in South Africa has been given impetus by what Melck (2001) calls managerial practices and what Cele and Menon (2006) call a deliberate shift in policy focus through prioritisation of the public good in policy implementation. While this view of value for money singles out viability as a defining factor of quality in higher education, it fails to address the tension between financial efficiency and transformation effectiveness which shapes the discourse on quality in South Africa. This article explores the location of value for money within a multi-dimensional view of quality while focussing on only three of these dimensions: the state; students; and the labour-market and civil society. The extent to which this principle of quality shapes policy, practice and overall outcomes of higher education is explored.


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