Quality Assurance has become a matter of major importance for universities in many parts of the world, including South Africa. Demand for quality assurance has been driven in part by:
• public authorities, who wish to be assured that public funds are put to best use;
• students and their families who want to know what they are getting in a world of widening educational choices;
• a growing emphasis within higher education of the importance of quality teaching and learning experiences.
At UCT, the responsibility for quality assurance lies within the Institutional Planning Department (IPD). The approach to Quality Assurance, in line with national and international trends, has at its core an emphasis on the enhancement of quality, collaborative engagement and continuous improvement. The focus, therefore, is on reflective learning and development at departmental level through departmental reviews and idea sharing through the good practices platform.
A key quality assurance principle of the University is its adoption of a self-evaluation model, which demonstrates its own capacity to identify areas for improvement with a view to addressing these effectively via a system of peer review. For this reason, a particular emphasis of the departmental reviews is on evaluation of the systems used by departments to manage and enhance quality. Evaluation of these quality management and enhancement systems thus offer an indication of the effectiveness of institutional quality management as a whole. External audits, as well as the University's cycle of reviews, look only at samples of practice in order to validate the operation of our Quality Management System.