Academics\' perceptions of `quality in higher education\' and quality strategies
The presently reported part of the study gathered data on the academics\' perceptions on quality in higher education (QHE) and investigated the general quality promotion (QP), quality assurance (QA), quality control (QC) and quality management (QM) strategies in the institutional level of a historically developing university (HDU), its Faculty of Science, four of its departments and by individual academics. The article discusses various perceptions of QHE as well as the concern for quality nationally and internationally and distils out some general QP, QA, QC and QM strategies. This research was a case study. The sample consisted of 28 academics from the Faculty of Science. Data were gathered mainly through interviews. The overall conclusions were: university-, Faculty- and department-wide QA systems and self-assessments did not exist; no formal QA or QC mechanisms and related strategies were in place at the institution, its Faculty of Science and, the four investigated departments; the academics rarely practised formal QA, QP, QC and QM procedures; only 50 per cent academics had some conception of QHE as described in the literature. The quality of higher education (HE) implementation by academics who themselves did not have acceptable perceptions of QHE (on which HE is founded) as described in the literature may not do good to their employer and students in particular. The reported research focused only on one Faculty of an HDU and the findings cannot be generalized to other faculties within the same institution or to other institutions in South Africa or elsewhere. Undertaking similar research in other institutions and collating institutional, regional and national data can direct staff development activities at the respective levels.
South African Journal of Higher Education Vol. 20 (5) 2006: pp. 639-654