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Title: Developing a quality enhancement culture in Maltese education
Author: Spiteri, A.
ISNI:       0000 0004 7225 7868
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2017
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This thesis looks at Malta’s attempt at whole system change in education in the first decade of the 21st century by transforming state oversight in all education sectors from an inspectorial to a quality enhancement model. The former was rooted in the Panoptic Inspectorial Paradigm (PIP) due to Malta’s colonial experience within the British Empire and its post-colonial aftermath throughout the 19th century up to the 1980s. The latter, the Quality Enhancement Paradigm (QEP), sprang largely from a mix of local post-colonial developments and the influence of the Bologna Process, especially the European Standards and Guidelines (ESG). A Weberian-paradigmatic conceptual framework was developed that also took into consideration the ‘absolute’ conditions and resilience of small island states. Using this framework, a Foucauldian archaeology of archival material was conducted to identify the PIP and its eventual replacement by the QEP. A case study was also undertaken with the help of fifteen elite interviews with Maltese and European quality assurance (QA) exponents that mainly looked into Maltese HE QA developments since 2006 in the context of European QA developments. The theoretical framework reconceptualised the interplay between HE QA stakeholders at pan-European level as discrete but intersecting choreographies that resolved into two opposing paradigms, with the dominant Neo-liberal QA paradigm being countervailed by the ESG. These mirrored the two Maltese paradigms; indeed, the Neo-liberal QA paradigm shares its ideological DNA with the PIP and leads to entropic isomorphism. The Maltese case study showed that small island state characteristics can help buffer its HE structures and institutions from the effects of the Neo-liberal QA paradigm, and foster the development of a quality enhancement culture which leads to parabolic isomorphism. One example is the development of a national QA framework with a strong developmental orientation covering further, higher and formal adult learning, the first in Europe.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available