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Delivering higher education to meet local needs in a developing context: the quality dilemmas?

Abdulai Abukari (Institute for Work Based Learning, Middlesex University, London, UK)
Trevor Corner (Institute for Work Based Learning, Middlesex University, London, UK)

Quality Assurance in Education

ISSN: 0968-4883

Article publication date: 13 July 2010

Abstract

Purpose

Higher education is increasingly being scrutinised and discourse centred on its usefulness to stakeholders. In 1992, the University for Development Studies (UDS) was established in Northern Ghana with a mission to engage with local communities to develop the area. This paper aims to understand the quality perspective of the university within the contexts of the needs of its catchment community and quality requirements of other stakeholders guided by issues arising from the questions of who really should define quality, in what context, for whose benefit, and with whose resources.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper takes a qualitative approach using semi‐structured interviews, documentary and artefacts to generate data from the UDS.

Findings

Although donors play a crucial role in ensuring quality, the findings suggest that the basis for any effective quality should move beyond the traditional precepts to make it reflect local needs and realities within an international context guided by effective quality monitory and evaluation mechanisms.

Practical implications

The paper provides practical suggestions of appropriate quality assurance models for higher education institutions in the developing world.

Originality/value

The paper identifies some quality dilemmas in higher education in developing contexts.

Keywords

Citation

Abukari, A. and Corner, T. (2010), "Delivering higher education to meet local needs in a developing context: the quality dilemmas?", Quality Assurance in Education, Vol. 18 No. 3, pp. 191-208. https://doi.org/10.1108/09684881011058641

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2010, Emerald Group Publishing Limited