Developing Quality Systems in Education

Developing Quality Systems in Education

Developing Quality Systems in Education

Developing Quality Systems in Education


Developing Quality Systems and Educational Organisationspresents an overview of the pitfalls, problems and vicissitudes of implementing quality standards in education. It explores theoretical issues, such as the relationship between the customer and academic culture, but also has a strongly practical theme, looking at the advantages and disadvantages of quality systems through a series of case studies taken from a variety of geographical locations including California, Wisconsin, Virginia, Missouri and Alaska. This book looks to the future in developments for the education sector by taking a management approach to the study of systems in both higher education and at the school level.


I should like to make some comments about this book before the reader starts dipping into it. First, it is not a textbook or a do-it-yourself quality handbook, nor does it provide facile answers to difficult questions about such controversial issues as: the nature of quality; whether to embrace Total Quality Management or the British Standard 5750-or both; the management of change and leadership quality…and so on. What, however, it does provide is a set of protocols from a wide cross-section of educationists and educational organizations in both the United Kingdom and the United States, which will allow the reader to share practitioner reflections on the problems, successes and failures of doing quality in education.

It may seem that the University of Wolverhampton is over-represented. This is because, although I know of commitment from other UK universities (for example, Aston and South Bank), Wolverhampton is alone in its efforts to achieve BS 5750 as a basis from which to develop a total quality culture.

I have written a rather lengthy introduction in the form of (to use current Strategic Management jargon) an 'environmental scan' of the quality scene. The deliberately heavy referencing is intended to provide the interested reader and potential practitioner with easy access to helpful resource material. Although I have attempted to be as objective as possible, reporting negative reactions based on practical experiences as well as ideological reservations, it will be apparent that, personally, I have no doubt that the methodologies provided by one form or another of a structured quality system could be applied to advantage in any school, college or university.

There will always be, of course, the typical British 'yes-but' responses to all this: 'Yes-but it's only old wine in new bottles!', 'Yes-but it's only the flavour of the month!', 'Yes-but it will cost too much!'…. These are (understandably?) defensive reactions to the threat of change. However, two pressures-the drive to close the enormous quality gap between western industry and Japan and the billions of pounds of GNP being poured into education-make it very unlikely that 'quality matters' are merely the flavour of the month: of the decade, perhaps. If we do not take steps as

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