The imperatives for the establishment of quality assurance mechanisms, and the need to create a culture of quality within higher education have been well established in the various debates on quality which have intensified since the 1980s. Drivers of the introduction of higher education quality assurance systems across the world have included: an increasing demand by stakeholders for accountability from private and public institutions alike; the internationalization of qualifications; the expectations of employers that programme outcomes should match labour and employment needs; the movement towards comparability of qualifications at country, regional and international levels; and the need for cross-country mobility of skills and competences.
Teacher education, a sub-section of higher education, is no exception and is certainly not inoculated against these pressures. Studies such as the McKinsey Report (2007) have linked teacher preparation with the quality of teaching and learning in schools. The McKinsey study found that recruitment of the right persons into teaching, and preparation of persons entering the profession into good teachers, were two of the three most important influences on top performing schools. Against the background of the ILO/UNESCO 1966 affirmation that teaching requires a specific body of expert knowledge and specialized skills acquired through a coherent programme of study, such reports signal the need for a systematic and robust quality assurance mechanism able to monitor teacher education institutions' adherence to academic and professional standards.