n South African Journal of Higher Education - A social realist perspective : a quest for understanding quality practices in higher education : articles

Volume 29, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1011-3487



In this article I argue that, for the enhancement of teaching and learning to have its intended positive impact, a 'close-up' look or contextualised understanding of the way academics work with conceptions of quality and the policies and procedures that are intended to promote them is necessary. The article proposes that research located in Bhaskar's critical realism and Archer's social realism provides a means of producing these understandings. This kind of research is important because, in spite of the introduction of quality assurance into South African higher education, the system continues to be plagued by poor performance reflected not only in low success and graduation rates with high attrition rates, but also in the poor quality of graduates. As such, this has led the body responsible for quality assurance, the Higher Education Quality Committee (HEQC) to embark on the next cycle of its work, which focuses specifically on teaching and learning.

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