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Capitulation and compliance or creative detachment? Examining quality promotion at the University of Natal in the light of the new external quality assurance regime

Webbstock, D. and Weir, J. (2003) Capitulation and compliance or creative detachment? Examining quality promotion at the University of Natal in the light of the new external quality assurance regime. In: Australian Universities Quality Forum (AUQF), 11 - 13 June, Melbourne.

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    Abstract

    This paper explores the implications of the South African Higher Education Quality Committee’s (HEQC) shift from its own key understanding of quality as “fitness of, and for purpose”, and “transformation” to an understanding of quality as, in Harvey and Green’s classification, “conformance to specifications”. This focus contrasts with the approach of the University of Natal as promoting, developing and implementing quality initiatives, guided by a philosophy of partnership development. The new external quality assurance environment will have significant implications for quality activities at institutions in South Africa. It could be seen to run counter to the long-term efforts of the Quality Promotion Unit (QPU) at the University of Natal, and policies and procedures put in place to encourage organizational change and quality improvement in areas such as student feedback, promotions for academic staff, academic staff development, and student assessment. We believe it is essential to include both accountability and improvement aspects of quality to encourage a culture of continuous improvement rather than a culture of compliance. The key question for the QPU is whether we alter our strategies to accommodate a compliance philosophy, and in the process alienate our partners within the institution, or do we wait for the first audit?

    Publication Type: Conference Paper
    Publisher: Australian Universities Quality Agency
    Copyright: © 2004 by the authors
    Conference Website: http://www.auqa.edu.au/auqf/pastfora/2003/index.sh...
    URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/3680
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