In spite of numerous definitions of quality, consensus on what constitutes quality is less clear and contested. Using South Africa as a case study, this paper explores the current conceptual thinking and debates about education quality. Specifically the paper reviews selected South African policy texts to identify how some of the global dimensions of quality map onto South African policy discourse. The paper begins by reviewing some of the conceptual work in the area and concentrates on identifying and exploring some of the dimensions of quality. This is followed by a brief contextualisation of policy development in South Africa leading to an analysis of key issues and debates in discourses about quality present in selected education policy texts. The concluding section identifies, through the South African experience, some of the global challenges and ways forward. The paper notes the many challenges present in South Africa's attempts to balance equity, diversity, right and participation in delivering good quality education. This experience resonates with that of many other contexts.
Comparative Education (2011) 47 (1) 103-118 [DOI: 10.1080/03050068.2011.541680]