This article analyses the Integrated Quality Management System (IQMS), an agreement reached in 2003 between the South African Education Department and the major teacher organisations in the country by using discourse analysis. The IQMS was scheduled to be implemented in public schools in 2004. Three discursive tensions are identified and discussed: the dialectic of the global and the local, the politics of accountability and the development of human resources, and contradictions between internal and external evaluation. Conclusions are drawn concerning the interrelationships between these major themes. Special attention is paid to the
international context of education reform in South Africa.