Quality Management Framework for Educational Institutions

Introduction

Management is the ability to create, organize and utilize resources, economically, efficiently & effectively. Management is essential aspect of human life, both personal as well as collective. Personal management shapes effective individuals, while collective management is required for well-performing institutions. Management is either good or poor. Poor management plays a decisive role in institutional failure or ineffectiveness. Educational institutions provide knowledge, build character and enhance wisdom level of students. They prepare students for practical life. An inefficient-ineffective educational institution will produce harmful individuals for society. There are multiple reasons of inefficiency or ineffectiveness of an educational institution such as mediocrity of teachers, irrelevancy of syllabus, ineffective headship and poor management system. However, poor management is decisive drawback of non-performing educational institutions. Poor management means – traditional management techniques by educational entrepreneurs, imitative leadership approach by academicians, micro management style by head teacher/principal, investor mindset by owners, and dictatorial approach of classroom management by teachers.

There are three major areas of Quality Learning Process – Key Activities Area, Performance Area, and Relations Area. Firstly, the key activities revolve around knowledge absorption / knowledge dissemination. Generally, the key activities include learning goals, course planning, learning schedule, teaching methods, and classroom management. Secondly, the performance area concentrates on learning outcomes. It studies learning performance of students, teaching performance of subject teachers, and managing performance of class teacher/principal. Thirdly, the relations analysis addresses multiple relations among students, teachers, parents, and educational managers. Dominantly, it deals with effective management of all learning events. The ultimate target of relation analysis is to realize synergistic outcomes from learning process.

Quality Management Vs Micro Management

Governance is inevitable aspect of collective life. It may adopt two courses – good & bad. Good governance is based on Quality Management while bad governance is outcome of Micro Management. Primarily, Quality Management is a system that pursues relentlessly excellence towards improvement of services offered, while Micro Management adopts cosmetic approach towards improvement. Quality management differs with micro management on countless dimensions however the prominent differences are:

Quality management is modern management, while micro management is traditional management. Traditional management is very hierarchical, organized, and disciplined. It is the military style of management, so that it only works in the military or in a micro set up. On the other hand, quality management is democratic management; it is against dominating tactics of individuals. A quality manager derives its powers from the principles she/he follows while the micro manager derives its power from the position she/he enjoys.

Quality Management utilizes talent of people at all levels (learning, teaching and management) optimally, while Micro Management concentrates on talents of leader only, it is forgetful towards talents of everyone or collective talent based on healthy competition or cooperation. At institutional level, an achievement or failure is dominantly team phenomenon. The phenomenon of individualism means massive flattery of leaders / seniors. In nutshell, quality management means meritorious interaction, while micro management means massive institutional politics.

Quality Management is based on humanistic philosophy. It begins with the belief that all people can be trained for the betterment of system. People want to do a good job and expect respect. The philosophy behind the approach values the self-esteem of those who teach and learn. It is Micro Management that deals with teachers/students, wrongly. The situation nurtures apathetic mindset among students/teachers. On the other hand, quality management develops empathetic mindset among students/teachers.

Quality Management postulates that the system of an institution is vital for staff performance. At the time of crises, the quality framework advises a system approach, it is the system that overwhelmingly is the main source of problem. The quality framework gives special attention to the processes that produce substandard services. It is a comprehensive and cooperative management so that it is against managing each component as though it were separate from the others and warns steps that pit the person against the system and against other persons. In micro-management processes are ignored and persons get undue importance. A micro-leader adopts generally the policy of ‘divide & rule’, so that workers are derisive towards each other.

Quality Management believes in personal responsibility, but goes beyond that concept to consider the especial responsibilities of those who manage for optimum system performance. A proactive concern for how people respond to managerial actions is crucial to the success of quality management, which is why the theory emphasis the need for managers to understand elementary principles of psychology, statistics and decision analysis to analyze the ground realities during some decision-making/interactive process. In micro management, there is gulf between thoughts, words & deeds of leader. A micro-manager manipulates persons/situations for optimum performance, so that performance is unstable and volatile. A consistent performance of students/teachers is inevitable requirement of educational institutions, so that micro-management means failure.

Law of Causation is universal phenomenon of life. The law categorically states that an outcome is inevitably based on some antecedent, that is, there is mean-end duality. Means are antecedents; they are necessary precondition for ends. An end can be materialized through right or wrong mean. Human life repeatedly faces the dilemma of right mean vs. wrong mean. Sometime, an end become unachievable, seemingly or really, through right means consequently means are generally comprised by effort-makers. For example, profit is an essential end for institutional viability; it can be achieved through wrong means such as rent-seeking, kick-backs, manipulation of teachers and manipulation of students. Quality management proposes wise mean-end framework for goal materialization. In micro-management means are not decisive during goals realization process so that means are compromised now and then. Micro Management is derisive towards law of causation so that it breeds mistrust among stakeholders and fails ultimately.

It is generally said, justice delayed is justice denied / justice hurried is justice buried. At institutional level procrastination or haste are two great menaces that disturb institutional performance, now and again. Micro Management is unable to tackle these issues due to non-system thinking. The solution lies in systematic thinking towards time efficiency / information efficiency, these factors are vital tools of quality management against haste or procrastination.

The end-user of a service is always decisive for the survival of institution. Parents are decisive for the continual existence of educational institution. Quality Management gives due importance to the requirements of all parents especially responsible parents. On the other hand, Micro Management gives importance only to reactive and affluent parents. The situation is not tenable, so that institution fails eventually.

Elements of Quality Framework

An institution is contractual arrangement of interdependent individuals to realize some goals and objectives; it works under the direction of some leader. Institutions are multiple, both quantitatively and qualitatively, and multilateral, both operationally and structurally. The orientation of an institution determines its course of action. For example, a specific group of some individuals assimilated to provide knowledge and to shape behavior-pattern of children give shape to schools, school is a social institution. Similarly, we can observe countless social, economic, and political institutions working in a modern society. A well-performing institution needs some success factors/performance indicators. An effective educational institution generally practices ten elements for quality management. Each variable has a functional significance that cannot be ignored. The elements are:

MISSION, VALUES, VISION, STRATEGY, SKILLS, RESOURCES, ORGANIZATION, EVALUATION, REWARD STRUCTURE AND ADJUSTMENTS

The efficacy of each element is tested on three grounds – foundational, structural, and operational. The first three elements – mission, values, and vision – have foundational significance. The next four elements – strategy, skills, resources, and organization – erect stable institutional structure. The last three elements – evaluation, rewards, and adjustment – have operational significance. The foundational, structural and operational aspects jointly shape a well-performing educational institution.