Paul Borawski, ASQ CEO in his blog invites us to think about the Quality Tools and Education, and ask us how we can make a global difference.
My first thought is that any process, either personal or professional in any company or institution should begin with education and finish with education. That means it should never end because learning is an essential part of life.
To have Quality in Education we must return to the roots: The Family ... I think starting from schools as part of its system should be highly relevant to teach parents how to continue teaching at home, based on the needs of the family and society. Emphasis should be made in values and Quality principles.
OECD (1995) defines education of quality as one that "assures all young people acquire the knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary to be having a good adult life."
It is important to have in mind that is not the same preparation for adult life in a rural, relatively simple and stable area, as in the complex and changing environment of a large city. Is not the same educating for the current model society, which helps to build a better world for everyone.
Every educational institution (schools, colleges, and universities, training centers) should start asking who the customers of its processes are and what their needs are:
- Students, they need the updated knowledge and relevant training according to individual and society needs. This education should be both technical and human content (values and principles).
- Parents and/or those who finance education, they need information on the progress of the process and learn how to improve engagement with students for their mutual benefit and growth.
- Other educational institutions, they need to have a homologation of education, skills and training, this would allow the recognition and student mobility, which in turn would guarantee that they will not be problems at higher levels by decreasing the dropout.
- Companies and institutions, depending on the levels are users who receive the students and the results of the teaching-learning process and should in turn give feed back into the system.
- The community as a whole, because through all actors in the educational process we can improve the quality of life.
Based on the needs and expectations of different customers and / or stakeholders should design the processes and establishing appropriate metrics that allow the improvement of them. These processes should be for management, education as well as support process. This approach should start with the commitment from the highest authorities of the system.
In Ecuador through C3DC, we have had experiences of implementation of Quality Management Systems based on ISO 9001 in educational institutions of different levels, starting from public and private schools, colleges and universities.
The main challenge has been to achieve the commitment of senior management and the teachers. Our focus has always been that the system should serve primarily to improve education management.
There have also been educational institutions, which have implemented their model only in administrative processes, which in no way guarantees the improvement of educational quality.
There are experiences of implementation of Models of Excellence in several mid-level educational institutions, and the model used in Ecuador has been the EFQM.
Within the ISO with the support of Mexico, has been developed a guide for implementing ISO 9001:2008 in education, which is the IWA2 (International Workshop Agreement). This guide depends directly to the Technical Management Board (TMB) of ISO and opened a collective learning space which is very useful. In Ecuador through C3DC we used this guide in various educational institutions and most importantly have been its approach in the teaching-learning process.
At educational institutions we have two axes to consider:
- Making quality part of its management model, which means including ISO 9001 standards, the application of statistical tools in the different processes and working to reduce variability in them.
- Incorporating from schools the teaching of quality and its tools and statistics, as the program Koality Kid (in Mexico have had some experience in this field).
I think that in Ecuador there are a lot of work to do and that efforts should be based on the government level in both axes, and that was one of the conclusions of the roundtables on this subject were held in the month of September past.
I think with the internet and technology, we can advance faster and I have confidence in the future will have more positive experiences in education.
César Díaz Guevara