Boris Problematizes Quality Assurance

lcj-16Mel Hazard

LCJ: Special Edition: Governance, 15, pp. 18-25
http://doi.org/10.18793/LCJ2015.15.04

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Hazard, M. (2015). Boris Problematizes Quality Assurance. Learning Communities: International Journal of Learning in Social Contexts [Special Issue: Governance], 15, 18-25. DOI: http://doi.org/10.18793/LCJ2015.15.04.

 

Abstract

This paper is the story of Boris and the way that as a small Aboriginal child, he reveals the Australian state’s assurance of quality in child care delivery as an object working me as an early childhood services expert, as much as I work it. Boris attended two institutions subject to my pastoral care as an early childhood professional. These were quite different. On the one hand, a well-stocked and smoothly functioning pre-school facility, and on the other, a child care centre run by an Aboriginal organisation which struggled to meet standard quality bench marks, eliciting a worried concern from my professional self.  Boris offered a powerful challenge to my taken for granted views of ‘quality assurance’ dissolving it before my eyes in an exemplary moment of what, from reading Foucault, I have learned to see as “problematization”. 

This entity Quality Assurance was ‘born’ and quickly expanded and intensifed its reach in the domain of childcare, across the time period in which my professional persona also expanded and intensifed.  In order to describe the impact Boris had, I frst do most of my thinking through telling a story of my emerging as ‘a professional’ working in the area of childcare provision, and my growing familiarity with quality assurance as an object of governance. I see now that in actuality the fgure of my professional persona as an ‘expert’ and the entity quality assurance that I as an expert know through and with, grew and matured together.  

I foreground Foucault’s notion of problematization which Carol Bacchi (2012) suggests direct attention to the heterogeneous politics which shape lives, and “alerts researchers to their unavoidable participation in these relations” (p.1). I examine “quality assurance” as problematization and therefore attempt to understand how it came to be accepted in childcare centres in Australia and treated as a key characteristic of early childhood education and care (ECEC). I attempt to access the problematizations which govern educators and children in ECEC, and me.  I end the story of the growing mutual intimacy of quality assurance as an object of governance and the fgure of the knowing expert (me), with the story of Boris.  

 

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