South African Journal of Higher Education

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Access and quality in South African higher education: the twin challenges of transformation

S Akoojee, S Nkomo, S Nkomo


Higher Education transformation in South Africa requires a synergy of creative
strategies to engage issues of redress. Access to higher education remains one
mechanism for achieving this in South African higher education. While there is
clearly a need to enable access by improving student success (access with success),
as opposed to simply ensuring their participation (access as participation), the
adequacy of these initiatives needs to be evaluated in the context of institutional
transformation. By introducing a quality assurance framework, institutions can
ensure that access initiatives are institutionalised. Conceptions of access, however,
need to be situated within appropriate definitions of quality. This would enable
institutions to track the responsiveness of measures to achieve national
transformational objectives. It is argued that current Academic Development (AD)
initiatives as a means of achieving `access with success\' can only deal marginally
with the transformation agenda in South Africa. It is proposed that a comprehensive
quality assurance framework with embedded commitment to access is likely to
respond appropriately to national development prerogatives of higher education

South African Journal of Higher Education Vol. 21 (3) 2007: pp. 385-399
AJOL African Journals Online