Possibilities of enhancing quality assurance across ODL programmes: A focus on the Zimbabwe Open University’s SELECTED UNIT HEADS’ perceptions

Tichaona Mapolisa, Alfred C Ncube

Abstract


The study reports on an investigation into the possibilities of enhancing quality assurance
across Open and Distance Learning (ODL) programmes at the Zimbabwe Open University
(ZOU). A questarview with open-ended questions was administered to three (3) criterion-sampled
Faculty Dean (FD), Manager and Director, respectively. The questions posed were related to
how the possibilities of quality assurance could be enhanced across all programmes at the ZOU.
The study aimed to further understand how the enhancement of quality assurance of programmes
at the ZOU could be effected in practice. The study established that, unlike previous studies on
quality assurance, quality assurance across ODL programmes at ZOU entails carrying out
awareness campaigns and putting in place quality management systems in compliance with ISO
9001. The results also indicate that quality assurance, in respect of the ZOU, is university-unit
bound. Furthermore, the results indicate that communication at the ZOU is considered the
nerve centre of any successful quality assurance processes or activities. The researchers recommend
that all units of the University work in symbiosis of one another in search of quality
assurance and quality assurance enhancement. A further recommendation is that the university
has no option other than holding regular workshops on quality assurance and quality assurance
enhancement all year round in a bid to sensitise all staff categories in the University units about
quality assurance and quality assurance enhancement.

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