n South African Journal of Higher Education - Quality enhancement in higher education in South Africa : why a paradigm shift is necessary : perspectives on higher education

Volume 17, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 1011-3487



This article analyses the concept of quality in the context of South African higher education. The focus is on the new system of quality assurance for higher education soon to be implemented by the Higher Education Quality Committee (HEQC). The new quality system is subjected to analysis, and compared with not only the theory and practice of quality management, but also the systems used in this regard by higher education in other countries. An important finding is that the new system for South Africa tends to be bureaucratic and emphasises accountability, which limits its potential for transformation. Real enhancement of quality is an internally driven process and will be difficult, if not impossible, to achieve through external quality assurance. The current perspective on quality assurance in higher education in South Africa requires a paradigm shift which will turn it into a process in support of a culture of continuous improvement, and which engages institutions in totality and in an integrated manner.

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