'Quality is Free.'
In the previous chapters the concept of quality was explored. We need now to see how these can come together in TQM and explain its salient features for any school, college or university contemplating its introduction. This chapter explains the key ideas behind TQM in education, as well as exploring some of the myths about it.
Before defining the elements of TQM in education it may be useful to say a few words about what TQM is not. TQM is not an imposition. It cannot be done to you or for you. For TQM to work, an institution must itself want to introduce it. It is not inspection. It is about always trying to do things right first time and every time, rather than occasionally checking if they have gone wrong.
TQM is not about working to someone else's agenda, unless your customers and clients have specified the agenda. It is not something that only senior managers do and then pass their directions down the line. The total in TQM dictates that everything and everybody in the organization is involved in the enterprise of continuous improvement. The management in TQM likewise means everyone, because everyone in the institution, whatever their status, position or role, is the manager of their own responsibilities. This is a difficult idea to put across, and it is the reason why some organizations talk, as Rolls-Royce do, about Total Quality rather than TQM.