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Article
Publication date: 10 October 2016

Cristina Sin, Orlanda Tavares and Alberto Amaral

The paper presents and analyses quantitative data on student perceptions about the employability of the first degree, and their trajectory choices on graduation. The…

Abstract

Purpose

The paper presents and analyses quantitative data on student perceptions about the employability of the first degree, and their trajectory choices on graduation. The purpose of this paper is to assess the value of the first degree as a positional good in Portugal, further to the degree’s reduced duration after the implementation of the Bologna Process.

Design/methodology/approach

In total, 828 students responded to an online survey administered between September 2013 and February 2014. Students came from 17 institutions, public and private, universities and polytechnics, across the country. Differences in student perceptions were analysed by higher education sector, study level and gender through descriptive statistics.

Findings

The majority of surveyed students, across sectors, study level and gender, assessed as negative the impact of the implementation of the Bologna reforms on the employability of the first degree. This had implications for students’ intended choices on graduation, as the majority consider enroling in a master degree (except for polytechnic students). Additionally, a large proportion of students felt unprepared to enter the labour market after the first degree.

Research limitations/implications

The size and distribution of the sample pose limitations for the generalisation of results to the student population.

Practical implications

The finding suggest that enrolments in master degrees are likely to keep rising, a valuable piece of information for institutions and policy-makers responsible for regulating higher education in Portugal.

Originality/value

Opinions about the value of the first degree have generally been based on qualitative research or anecdotal evidence. This study brings a quantitative perspective on the first degree’s value for different groups of students.

Details

Education + Training, vol. 58 no. 9
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0040-0912

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Article
Publication date: 3 July 2017

Sónia Cardoso, Maria J. Rosa, Pedro Videira and Alberto Amaral

This paper aims to look at the characteristics of internal quality assurance (IQA) systems of higher education institutions to understand whether these systems tend to…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to look at the characteristics of internal quality assurance (IQA) systems of higher education institutions to understand whether these systems tend to reproduce a given model, externally defined and suggested to institutions, or rather to be shaped by institutions’ features and interests.

Design/methodology/approach

The study is supported in the analysis of the content of self-assessment reports of 12 internal QA systems certified, in Portugal, between 2012 and 2015. An analysis grid was used based on three categories: IQA systems’ historical framework, structural/managerial component and monitoring, assessment and continuous improvement.

Findings

Institutions tended to follow a “one size fits all” approach, meaning that external (European and national) quality assurance (QA) references were used in an identical way, giving origin to rather similar IQA systems. Institutional characteristics do not seem to have played a relevant role, eventually due to institutions’ will to obtain their systems’ certification and, thus, achieve a light-touch external QA.

Research limitations/implications

The study was based on the analysis of only certified IQA systems and relies on document analysis. It would be interesting to also include non-certified systems, in a comparative perspective, complemented with data deriving from interviews and/or questionnaires with some of the actors involved in the certification process.

Practical implications

The study provides an understanding of how IQA systems are being implemented in Portugal. Thus, it can be of interest to other institutions as well as to QA agencies.

Originality/value

The study addresses a topic still relatively absent from research on QA in higher education, being of interest for researchers in the field.

Details

Quality Assurance in Education, vol. 25 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0968-4883

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Article
Publication date: 1 July 2014

Amélia Veiga, Maria João Rosa, Sónia Cardoso and Alberto Amaral

The purpose of this article is to discuss Portuguese academics’ views on quality assessment and the elements that are important for a better understanding of what ascribes…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this article is to discuss Portuguese academics’ views on quality assessment and the elements that are important for a better understanding of what ascribes meaning to “quality cultures” in Portuguese higher education.

Design/methodology/approach

The discussion was based on the results of a survey run in 2010 among Portuguese academics on quality assessment objectives and purposes. Descriptive statistics was used to investigate academics’ support to what quality assessment was supposed to guarantee (its purposes) and which should be its objectives. Furthermore, a factorial analysis using Promax rotation (oblique) was performed to investigate if the different purposes could be grouped according to the different areas they address in terms of quality assessment, helping to uncover a rationale that could explain the answers obtained. Theoretically, the results have been analysed in the light of the “quality culture” concept.

Findings

Perceptions of Portuguese academics that support internal processes of quality assurance correspond either to the responsive quality culture or the regenerative quality culture. The viable form of ideal cultures is analytically limited, and the perceptions gathered encourage “quality cultures” biased by stronger group control.

Originality/value

The paper offers new insights into academics’ perceptions on quality assessment, a theme that so far has been relatively absent from higher education quality assurance studies. Furthermore, the results obtained could be useful to policymakers and quality assurance agencies when setting up evaluation and accreditation systems capable of balancing improvement associated with the group dimension and accountability coupled with the grid dimension.

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Article
Publication date: 13 July 2010

Diana Amado Tavares, Maria João Rosa and Alberto Amaral

This paper aims to reflect on the relevance of the Institutional Evaluation Programme (IEP) of the European University Association (EUA) to universities' quality…

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Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to reflect on the relevance of the Institutional Evaluation Programme (IEP) of the European University Association (EUA) to universities' quality improvement. It aims to analyse IEP follow‐up reports to determine whether the programme contributes to the development of a quality improvement culture.

Design/methodology/approach

The structure and contents of 22 follow‐up reports were analysed to assess the IEP programme. All reports were subject to content analysis using adequate software (NVivo 8 with a 242 nodes tree), the main goal being to evaluate progress made since the original evaluation.

Findings

The reports analysed and the work by other authors show that IEP can constitute a useful approach towards the universities' quality improvement. IEP evaluations generally give a precise account of problems faced by each university, identifying its strong and weak points, opportunities and threats, and presenting clear recommendations and suggestions for improvement. If properly discussed inside the university, these evaluations can form the basis for an improvement plan.

Research limitations/implications

In general, follow‐up teams recognise the difficulty to distinguish changes caused directly by EUA teams' recommendations from others caused by external pressures.

Practical implications

The follow‐up process has as its main rationale the idea that a second review can assist a university evaluating progress made since the original evaluation. The reports analysed show that changes have always happened to a certain extent after the first evaluation.

Originality/value

This paper makes a contribution to the understanding of the effects of institutional evaluation over institutional quality culture.

Details

Quality Assurance in Education, vol. 18 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0968-4883

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Book part
Publication date: 4 October 2013

Ross J. Benbow

This chapter explores how neoliberal higher education reforms in the United Republic of Tanzania (URT) during the 1990s and 2000s were shaped by the history of governance…

Abstract

This chapter explores how neoliberal higher education reforms in the United Republic of Tanzania (URT) during the 1990s and 2000s were shaped by the history of governance, schooling, and foreign donor involvement in the country following its independence in 1961. Against this backdrop, I examine how concepts of private versus public leadership, individualism, competition, and education’s place in the overall development scheme shifted over time, and the influence these changing conceptualizations had on the role of universities in Tanzania by the end of the first decade of the 21st century. In an international environment in which powerful funding agencies see neoliberal higher education policies and “knowledge societies” as the key to increased national competitiveness and poverty eradication in sub-Saharan Africa, this chapter shows how changes embedded in recent market-centered university reforms – in which the state is said to “steer” rather than “row” – have influenced the quest for equitable development.

Details

The Development of Higher Education in Africa: Prospects and Challenges
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78190-699-6

Content available
Article
Publication date: 1 July 2014

John F. Dalrymple

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90

Abstract

Details

Quality Assurance in Education, vol. 22 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0968-4883

Content available
Article
Publication date: 13 July 2010

John Dalrymple

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379

Abstract

Details

Quality Assurance in Education, vol. 18 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0968-4883

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Article
Publication date: 1 December 1998

Alberto M.S.C. Amaral

Presents a comparative study of the US accreditation system and of the CRE’s (European Association of Universities) quality audits. After an examination of the published…

Abstract

Presents a comparative study of the US accreditation system and of the CRE’s (European Association of Universities) quality audits. After an examination of the published literature on recent developments of the systems their strong and weak points are discussed. This is followed by a very detailed analysis of the procedures for both systems and based, on the personal experience of the author, it is recommended that the responsibility of creating the necessary mechanisms for quality assessment and quality improvement should lie with each and every institution, while outside independent agencies, such as the already existing six US regional accrediting associations, should assume the role of meta‐evaluating or auditing.

Details

Quality Assurance in Education, vol. 6 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0968-4883

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Article
Publication date: 15 October 2021

Marianna Ottoni, Diego Luiz Fonseca and Monica Pertel

This study aims to discuss to what extent are WMPs practical tools for circular and sustainable waste management in universities, presenting, therefore, a case study of…

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to discuss to what extent are WMPs practical tools for circular and sustainable waste management in universities, presenting, therefore, a case study of the usage of WMP in the Brazilian public universities and comparing this scenario with the international context.

Design/methodology/approach

The WMPs were identified by online search and analyzed according to qualitative indicators (spatial-temporal distribution, year, extent and virtual availability), and through circularity and sustainability criteria, using a proposed checklist.

Findings

Even being mandatory instruments, only 17% of the 103 public universities in Brazil had a WMP identified, and, among these plans, 55% were restricted to healthcare services waste, only 15% covered all university campuses. Although most of the available plans indicate measures for more sustainable waste management (e.g., recyclable waste collection on campus), they lack specific deadlines for presented goals on waste management, treating waste management at a more emergency pace than in well-structured long-term planning.

Originality/value

Numerous studies have discussed waste management strategies for universities worldwide, but few have addressed the usage and structure of WMPs. A case study of the Brazilian situation in light of the international scenario is of great value in understanding the differences between universities in terms of waste management, and with strong potential to support the structuring of more solid environmental policies in universities, especially in developing countries.

Details

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1467-6370

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Book part
Publication date: 23 March 2017

Barbara de Lima Voss, David Bernard Carter and Bruno Meirelles Salotti

We present a critical literature review debating Brazilian research on social and environmental accounting (SEA). The aim of this study is to understand the role of…

Abstract

We present a critical literature review debating Brazilian research on social and environmental accounting (SEA). The aim of this study is to understand the role of politics in the construction of hegemonies in SEA research in Brazil. In particular, we examine the role of hegemony in relation to the co-option of SEA literature and sustainability in the Brazilian context by the logic of development for economic growth in emerging economies. The methodological approach adopts a post-structural perspective that reflects Laclau and Mouffe’s discourse theory. The study employs a hermeneutical, rhetorical approach to understand and classify 352 Brazilian research articles on SEA. We employ Brown and Fraser’s (2006) categorizations of SEA literature to help in our analysis: the business case, the stakeholder–accountability approach, and the critical case. We argue that the business case is prominent in Brazilian studies. Second-stage analysis suggests that the major themes under discussion include measurement, consulting, and descriptive approach. We argue that these themes illustrate the degree of influence of the hegemonic politics relevant to emerging economics, as these themes predominantly concern economic growth and a capitalist context. This paper discusses trends and practices in the Brazilian literature on SEA and argues that the focus means that SEA avoids critical debates of the role of capitalist logics in an emerging economy concerning sustainability. We urge the Brazilian academy to understand the implications of its reifying agenda and engage, counter-hegemonically, in a social and political agenda beyond the hegemonic support of a particular set of capitalist interests.

Details

Advances in Environmental Accounting & Management: Social and Environmental Accounting in Brazil
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78635-376-4

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