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- Volume 20, Issue 6, 2006
South African Journal of Higher Education - Volume 20, Issue 6, 2006
Volumes & issues
Volume 20, Issue 6, 2006
Facilitating adjustment to higher education : towards enhancing academic functioning in an Academic Development ProgrammeSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 20, pp 191 –206 (2006)More Less
Several studies have emphasised the importance of addressing social and emotional factors in facilitating adjustment to tertiary education. This article describes the Skills for Success in Science programme at the University of Cape Town. The broad aims were life skills development and improved adjustment which are assumed to underpin academic performance. Weekly small group sessions were held which addressed several areas, namely adjustment, group work and co-operative learning, coping and stress management, resources on campus, assertiveness and communications, time management, study skills and examination competence. The intervention was experiential and participative, and while not compulsory, attendance was very good. Evaluation via self-report questionnaires using standardised psychological scales as well as focus groups provided positive feedback from students who described it as a 'must' for all first year science students. The article supports the notion that student development should be located within their daily experience at universities.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 20, pp 751 –761 (2006)More Less
This editorial attempts to capture some of the most salient deliberations which transpired at a symposium on higher education quality assurance (QA) in South Africa. It also raises the question of whether the discourse can potentially widen democracy or not. We contend that, on the basis of our analyses of the various disparate contributions, the QA can potentially extend the boundaries of democratic engagement on condition that notions of freedom, autonomy, accountability, citizenship and social justice are framed according to constitutive aspects of deliberative democracy. In other words, on the basis of deliberation and contestation amongst the different people involved in QA, the promise of widening democracy can be realised.
Author Ashley SymesSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 20, pp 762 –772 (2006)More Less
The article interprets a particular set of debates on whether quality assurance in South African higher education widens democracy or not. The interpretation explores the extent to which higher education quality assurance fulfils three conditions posited for democracy (inclusion, participation and enhancement), drawing in as points of reference goals for quality in higher education as articulated by the Higher Education Quality Committee (fitness of purpose, fitness for purpose, value for money and transformation) and principles for higher education set out in the Constitution and national higher education policy (academic freedom, institutional autonomy and public accountability). Its findings include, firstly, that if quality assurance in higher education is to serve the public good, then an inclusive, as well as a socially accountable, understanding of such concepts as 'fitness of purpose' and 'value for money' must be achieved and implemented. Secondly, quality assurance can be fully compatible with democratisation, as well as with the goals and purposes of autonomous academic institutions, where stakeholder involvement in the co-production of quality proceeds from the bottom up on the basis of inclusive understandings of intellectual freedom and accountability. Thirdly, quality assurance supports the development of critical citizens where it aligns with this traditional role of higher education through an empowering approach of its own. The work of achieving outcomes such as these three is of necessity ongoing and is moreover located within unresolved issues in higher education quality assurance generally.
Author Michael A. PetersSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 20, pp 773 –791 (2006)More Less
This article begins with an account of 'ideologies of knowledge' including ideologies of forbidden knowledge (Christian), of the encyclopedic knowledge system (Enlightenment secularism), and of the knowledge economy (capitalist technoscience). In this context, it focuses on bibliometrics, citation analysis and the rise of the information utility and the 'total information solution'. It proceeds to examine the changing architecture of world science by reference to bibliometrics and the uneven and unequal geographical distribution of knowledge as a backdrop to a discussion of peer review and the 'republic of science', a notion that highlights significant issues concerning the democratic governance of public good science.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 20, pp 792 –806 (2006)More Less
This article first reviews claims for the knowledge economy in terms of excludability, rivalry, and transparency indicating the way that digital goods behave differently from other commodities. In the second section it discusses the theory of 'public knowledge cultures' starting from the primacy of practice based on Marx, Wittgenstein and Heidegger and what it means to build such cultures in the age of so-called knowledge capitalism. In the final section we canvas the notion of 'cultural knowledge economy' as a composite term trading on notions of 'cultural knowledge', 'knowledge as culture' and 'knowledge cultures', as well as the now accepted term 'knowledge economy' and the idea of 'cultural economy' employed as an approach similar to political economy.
Author J. MullerSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 20, pp 807 –813 (2006)More Less
This article represents a consideration of the proposal by Michael Peters that peer review should be democratically extended. It begins by tracing the struggle between the natural sciences (the Quadrivium) and the humanities (the Trivium) in the medieval university to the present day, concluding that the Quadrivium has established a decisive hegemony over our current conception of knowledge and its innovation, all attempts by contemporary neo-romantics to 'constructivise' knowledge or 'fictionalise' truth notwithstanding.
The particular version of this hegemony we currently inhabit, the 'strategic' regime of science, favours external drivers of knowledge innovation-utility, relevance, and so on.
The article next re-visits Polanyi's 'republic of science' ideal to show how and why internal regulation of the science system - expert peer review - best suits the knowledge-constitutive features of novelty and unpredictability, and how external-regulation by utility and relevance alone may well impede it. This is especially the case for the humanities. The article concludes that extending or 'democratising' peer review may inadvertently work to consolidate the hegemony of the 'strategic' regime of science, and hence contribute to the long term impedance and decline of science in-general, and the humanities in particular.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 20, pp 814 –832 (2006)More Less
This article provides a critical discussion of the neoliberal reforms of higher education focusing on new managerialism and New Public Management. It also distinguishes between democratic and market accountability regimes, examining how the former arise from classical liberalism and the latter from neoliberalism. The article then examines 'neoliberal technologies of government' by reference to Foucault and analyzes 'neoliberal governmentality', providing an account of contractualism, professionalism and quality assurance, before comparing various forms of research and performance audit and research quality within 'the culture of performance'.
Author Philip HiggsSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 20, pp 833 –842 (2006)More Less
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.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 20, pp 843 –858 (2006)More Less
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.
Author Beverley ThaverSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 20, pp 859 –866 (2006)More Less
The current implementation phase of quality assurance in higher education has ushered in a range of debates and ideas. In response to a recent presentation on the topic, this article provides a glimpse into some of the conditions that lend themselves to the emergence of external quality assurance agencies. A key element nationally, resonating with the international context, is the pressure on the system to widen participation to a more diverse student body. This process is occurring simultaneously with the incursion of market forces into higher education. The coalescence of these factors culminating in a set of tensions, is what is considered in this article.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 20, pp 867 –878 (2006)More Less
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.
Author K. John MammenSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 20, pp 888 –902 (2006)More Less
The article addresses the concept of quality assurance (QA) and its relation to quality in higher education which itself is a component of total quality management. It then examines the regulatory policies for higher education followed by the meaning of the concept of democracy in the South African Constitution and its impact and implications on the higher education. The cornerstone of any democracy is an inductive (bottom-up) approach rather than a deductive (top-down) approach. The article finally examines, to which of these approaches the QA's content, processes and procedures are aligned.
Author L. Le GrangeSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 20, pp 903 –909 (2006)More Less
In this article I point out that prominence given to higher education quality assurance by contemporary states might be viewed in the context of the ascendance of neoliberalism over the past few decades and a concomitant culture of performativity. However, I argue for a shift in the angle of vision on performativity and quality assurance through a poststructural reading of these constructs. My key argument is that all constructs / concepts are territories that have the potential to become deterritorialised and reterritorrialised, and that terms such as performativity and quality assurance should not be abandoned but rather viewed as carriers of new constellations of universes. In short, perfomativity and quality assurance should not be viewed simply as negative processes, but also as sites for creative change.
Author Anneke VenterSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 20, pp 910 –918 (2006)More Less
This article attempts to explore why and how student involvement is a necessary, but under-developed and under-utilised strategy for enhancing quality distance education in South Africa. Any critical analysis of education in South Africa needs to consider the historical and current social contexts, and in this case the analysis needs to explain the circumstances and social forces responsible for the timing, method and approach in which quality assurance in higher education, and specifically distance higher education in South Africa developed. The article then focuses on why the distance education sector places such a premium on quality assurance and why quality assurance in distance education rely on learner involvement and empowerment as a way of building the new democracy.
Higher education quality assurance in South Africa widens democracy or not? Response to Anneke Venter's article : student involvement and empowerment in quality assurance in distance education in South AfricaAuthor Sarie BerkhoutSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 20, pp 919 –923 (2006)More Less
In this response I argue that the notion of quality is embedded in the tension between powerful patterns of inherited epistemic and symbolic understanding and the dynamic of the creative, imaginative moments of understanding and design. This would take the idea of co-producer / creator of knowledge beyond the boundaries of (re)packaging commodities for the knowledge market as it would also be located in the disciplinary patterns of knowledge domains.
Theorising stakeholder participation within the higher education quality assurance system in South AfricaAuthor Loyiso C. JitaSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 20, pp 924 –931 (2006)More Less
The South African Higher Education Quality Committee (HEQC) is currently involved with its second round of national programme reviews in the field of education. Such national reviews are designed to foster quality and equity within the broader Higher Education (HE) system as whole, through peer evaluation and public discourse processes and decision-making. One of the key features of this South African Higher Education Quality Assurance (HEQA) system has been its extended attempt to build into its processes as much stakeholder participation as possible. While admirable in their intent, the processes of stakeholder participation in this HEQA System have been rather limited and poorly conceptualised. To date, there has been no attempt to theorize and / or explain in any greater detail the role of stakeholders (and / or stakeholder participation) in the South African HEQA processes and systems. This article is one attempt to do just that. After examining the history and context of stakeholder participation in the South African Higher Education (HE) generally, the article proposes a possible framework for theorising stakeholder participation in South African HE and especially in the current HEQA system underway in the country. Although such a framework is yet to be tested through the realities of the messy processes of stakeholder involvement and participation using data from the various reviews themselves, its possible implications and advantages to higher education and the quality assurance processes thereof are explored in the article.
Author Eli M. BitzerSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 20, pp 932 –940 (2006)More Less
The main argument in Loyiso Jita's article is that although both law and convention have established stakeholder participation in higher education quality assurance, it lacks conceptual clarity. The article bravely attempts to develop a theory of 'stakeholder identification and salience' by drawing mainly on business and organisational management literature and thus opens up the debate for greater clarity. In introducing my response to Jita's article I point to quality in higher education as a shaping force, take a closer look at the concept of 'stakeholder' and revisit the institutional autonomy-public accountability debate briefly. I conclude that the Jita article makes an important contribution to the debate about higher education quality stakeholders, but that it has at least three shortcomings. It generalises excessively about higher education institutional contexts in describing the limitations of stakeholder involvement, it fails to clarify through concrete examples what exactly hampers the HEQC in terms of legal constraints and institutional autonomy and it relies too heavily on business and organisational management literature to get the debate on a sound footing.
Author Crain SoudienSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 20, pp 941 –949 (2006)More Less
This article is a critical overview of the symposium on the contribution of the quality assurance process to democracy recently held at the University of Stellenbosch. It argues that recent symposia and colloquia in which South Africans themselves have attempted to stake out their intellectual credentials are extremely important and that the Stellenbosch event must be seen in this light. The article makes an assessment of the self-consciousness of the participants in relation to the major historical and social fractures that characterize South African higher education. In assessing whether this particular meeting should not also have included those who have grievances against the quality assurance process and who have, specifically, been disadvantaged by it, the article suggests that meeting did take a deeply self-conscious line. One saw in it, therefore, the incipient marks of good academic citizenship. Privileged as this group was, it never lost sight of the contradictions which surrounded it.