n South African Journal of Higher Education - Higher education is more than just about the economy




This essay addresses the question, 'What is quality in higher education?' In so doing it raises many interesting and vexing questions in relation to education. For example, is 'quality' in higher education the same as, for example, 'quality' with reference to the quality of clothing or the quality of meat in local butcheries? Furthermore, is it correct to assume that if certain things, such as criteria or standards, which are measurable and quantifiable are in place, then quality in higher education will be assured? Or in a more Derridian vein, does the measurement and achievement of quality in higher education in fact deconstruct quality in the negation of quality; or stated differently, does quality defined negate quality? Also, does the achievement of quality in higher education provide the ideological justification of a wider democracy, and even more pertinently, should it?

These are some of the questions that need to be considered in reflecting critically on the many issues in quality assurance in higher education. This essay does not set out to address these questions directly but rather endeavours to sensitise us to the importance of considering these questions when deliberating on quality assurance in higher education.


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