Quality assurance in developing countries

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Six Sigma Model

The model was used by other sectors but by the 1990s it slowly got to be used by academic institutions to try to apply the model for quality assessment and improvement. The basis of the model is standard deviation in statistics and its main objective is to reduce variation and defects, increase customer satisfaction and increase profits. The model can be viewed as a metric, a philosophy and as a methodology. As a metric, the model denotes a population’s standard deviation of about 99.9997% satisfaction or conformance to standards. As a philosophy, the six sigma model is concerned with customer focus and creative process improvement. It believes that there is strong correlation between level of defects, costs and customer satisfaction. The teams work with the ultimate goal of reducing defects and aspire to reach perfection.
The methodology emphasises the process of achieving the six sigma level and it is “a systematic process covering 5 steps; define, measure, analyse, improve, control”.
In order for institutions to apply the six sigma model, institutions need people who are trained in the methodology of six sigma. The model also emphasises team work and that is in tandem with the activities of an educational institution. The roles and the responsibilities of team members are outlined and it involves people in the process.
Six sigma views the quality improvement of educational services as possible through adapting the structures of the educational system to the market demands and customers’ needs as well as other stakeholders’ expectations. According to Diana (2003) the benefits of six sigma in higher education are “to:
 increase in the performance of educational services
 improvement in the efficiency and effectiveness of the management processes in attaining the desired goals
 enhancing the capacity of the institution to achieve quality in all components that define the institution as a whole”
Institutions of higher learning could benefit from using six sigma since it aims at maintaining academic quality at high levels and improving it continuously. However, it should be noted that for six sigma to be successful there has to be “well-structured documentation, clear procedures, clearly defined tasks, activities, indicators and achievable goals”.

Total Quality Management (TQM)

“Total Quality management” believes that what the consumer perceives as quality should be regarded as such. TQM is mainly driven by people, involves changes in people’s attitudes and deals with process orientation and continuous improvement of the process.
In addition, it strives for empowerment and autonomy of the people in using production process and asks people to continuously find ways in which they can adapt to the changing environment. The model is “a continuing improvement plan, with an effort to bring out the best for the stakeholders as well as the institution”.
TQM is concerned with “organisational improvement through identification and solution of problems by groups of employees at various levels in the structure”. Quality is regarded as what is understood as the customers’ perception of quality and there should be mechanisms in place to regularly establish the customers’ perceptions. TQM and quality assurance are complementary in the sense that “quality assurance is about efficiency and effectiveness as well as change and continuous improvement and TQM has improvement as its main goal”. The following are the “essential elements of TQM:
 quality is conceptualised as customers’ perceptions
 the aim is to identify and meet the customers’ requirements through the medium of processes that are error free
 a customer is anyone who receives the product or service
 by utilising the internal customer concept, the result of each process is viewed as a product therefore, evaluation takes place immediately
 central to TQM is self-improvement
 TQM requires superior quality information systems to provide timely measures of and feedback on performance
 requires involvement and commitment of all organisation members in quality matters and continuous improvement” The 5 components of TQM are; “customer, continuous improvement, training and development, teamwork and measurement”. Any person who is affected by the product, process, and service is regarded as a customer. Continuous improvement must be maintained in order to allow innovation and excellence to take place. In cases where there is improvement, there should be zero defects. For TQM to be successfully implemented there should be continuous training and updating of staff. Improvement efforts should be geared towards reinforcing the commitment of all employees so as to lead to increased morale and gains in productivity. There should be team work and all stakeholders must be involved in order to ensure success. Monitoring progress and review of objectives leads to successful implementation of TQM. The success of TQM implementation is “the ability to monitor progress and review the objectives”.
Morley (2003) says that “quality in higher education should focus on total quality care that recognises each member’s efforts and contribution and an institutional culture of quality”. As such quality should be regarded as a process that enables critical dialogue with the institution, where there is ownership and facilitation of student learning and a strong culture of self-reflection of continuous care for the students’ quality course experience. Morley (2003) suggested 4 core activities that take care of quality in higher education; teaching and learning, student assessment, staff development and curriculum and courses. These form a protective belt to the overall student development and experience that is central to quality higher education.

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CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION  
1.1 Background to the study
1.2 Key terminology
1.3 Statement of the problem
1.4 Focus of the study
1.5 Aim of the study
1.6 Research questions
1.7 Outline and organization of the study
1.8 Conceptual framework of the study
1.9 Conclusion
CHAPTER 2 QUALITY ASSURANCE IN HIGHER EDUCATION  
2.1 Introduction
2.2 Quality
2.3 Quality assurance
2.4 The university as an institution
2.5 Aspects of quality assurance in higher education
2.6 Quality assurance models in higher education
2.7 Conclusion
CHAPTER 3 QUALITY ASSURANCE IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES  
3.1 Introduction
3.2 Educational changes
3.3 The nature of higher education institutions in developing countries
3.4 Problems with higher education institutions in developing countries
3.5 Quality assurance in higher education in Botswana, South Africa, Namibia and Zimbabwe
3.6 Conclusion
CHAPTER 4 QUALITY ASSURANCE AT UB  
4.1 Introduction
4.2 Background to quality assurance at UB
4.3 UB quality assurance
4.4 The UB Academic quality management policy
4.5 Quality assurance mechanisms at UB
4.6 Conclusion
CHAPTER 5 RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODOLOGY  
5.1 Introduction
5.2 Research paradigm
5.3 Research design
5.4 Validity
5.5 Reliability
5.6 Research methods
5.7 Data collection
5.8 Data analysis
5.9 Researcher’s role in the research process
5.10 Ethical considerations
5.11 Limitations of the study
5.12 Conclusion
CHAPTER 6 EMPIRICAL STUDY  
6.1 Introduction
6.2 Data gathered by means of questionnaires
6.3 Findings from the questionnaire for institution D
6.4 Findings from the interviews and open ended questions
6.5 Conclusion
CHAPTER 7 SUMMARY, CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS  
7.1 Introduction
7.2 Summary of the research process
7.3 Research findings and their analysis
7.4 Summary of issues from the findings
7.5 Implications of the study
7.6 Conclusions and recommendations from the study
7.7 Conclusion  
CHAPTER 8 SCHOLARLY REFLECTION ON THE RESEARCH PROCESS  
8.1 Introduction
8.2 The proposal
8.3 Ethical clearance
8.4 Drafting of the chapters
8.5 The final product
8.6 Opportunities for further research
REFERENCES

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