The marketed 'quality' of higher education: A study of university websites in South Africa

Srivastava, Anamika (2021) The marketed 'quality' of higher education: A study of university websites in South Africa. In: Quality assurance in higher education in eastern and southern Africa: Regional and continental perspectives. Perspectives on education in Africa . Taylor and Francis, Oxon, pp. 66-76. ISBN 9781003141235

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Quality in higher education (HE) is a contested concept. In the context of the marketisation of HE, it is jointly and contestably defined by the neoliberal state, the academics and also the so-called consumers of HE – the students/parents. However, this chapter highlights the influence of marketers on how various constructs of ‘quality’ are projected by universities, particularly to their prospective consumers. The chapter investigates to what extent marketing imperatives shape the discourse, based on which university marketers and leadership/management represent university ‘quality’. To this effect, in the context of South Africa, six websites of HE institutions offering master’s degrees in business administration are studied using web content discourse analysis with an emphasis on real factors. It emerges from the study that universities are not passive entities simply responding to the demands of various stakeholders in HE. Instead, they are actively constructing their own narratives on quality and invoking marketing knowledge. In particular, universities project their quality, informally, by invoking narratives concerning the future and uncertainty, employability, infrastructure, as well as indicators and numbers other than rankings. These discourses are explained by situating them in the discursive as well as the social and material context of university education.

Item Type: Book Section
Keywords: Higher education- South Africa | University education
Subjects: Social Sciences and humanities > Social Sciences > Education
JGU School/Centre: Jindal Global Law School
Depositing User: Mr. Syed Anas
Date Deposited: 26 Jan 2022 15:26
Last Modified: 26 Jan 2022 15:26
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