The qualifications business in higher education

  • S J Berkhout


Qualifications have become academic currency. Apart from adding to the success and fluency with which people can move or be transferred from job to job, nationally and internationally, qualifications also serve to shape individuals\' perceptions of their own worth because of their impact on their holders\' expectations and prospects, as well as their power to elicit material rewards. In increasingly complex, interrelated and dynamic societies, assessment systems and related qualifications are powerful mediators of livelihoods. Qualifications have become signifiers of merit in terms of a person\'s knowledge, skills and competence. The greater the correspondence between the represented qualities and the actual performance of a person, the closer we are to attaining a valuable human resource or reliably saleable qualification. This article explores some of the implications of this for developments in higher education in the context of the growing internationalisation and commercialisation of the assessment and qualification business.

South African Journal of Higher Education Vol. 20 (5) 2006: pp. 572±581

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eISSN: 1011-3487