Education has always been a very important aspect of human life. It is through education that different types of knowledge and competences can be passed on from one generation to the next for purposes of equipping individuals with skills that they need to enhance their quality of life. In the present day the issue of quality management has risen on the agenda of higher education in many nations of the world. This is in spite of the fact that there is little agreement amongst experts on the best techniques and strategies to utilize in the evaluation of quality in such institutes. Quality management in higher education institutes is very significant so as to enhance the ability of these institutions to produce and disseminate knowledge more effectively. This is particularly so due to the role that education plays in improving the socio-economic status of a nation and its people. Despite the numerous models and approaches that have been forwarded for improving the quality of education in higher institutes of learning, the most commonly referred to is the total quality management concept. This paper will discuss quality management in higher institutes of education with particular inclination towards the implementation of total quality management in higher education with the intention of enhancing a nation’s socio-economic growth. The case study used will be that of Kuwait.
2.0.0 Quality in Higher Institutes of Education
There are many definitions that have been given in the description of the term “quality”. This word is formed from a Latin word which is translated to mean “what kind of”. The most common definition of quality is that it refers to “fitness for use or purpose”. There are a number of dimensions that typify quality in higher institutes of education.
In order for the production and dissemination of knowledge in higher institutes of learning to be perceived as of high quality it is important that consistency is demonstrated. Consistency implies that the educational sets of procedures in the higher institutes of learning are characterized by zero defects and the culture of quality is adopted . It is however noteworthy that there are many impediments that higher institutes of education are confronted with before they can attain consistent standards of education as well as their adaptation of such standards.
Quality education in higher institutes of education should be demonstrated by continual sets of procedures in the educational institute that are geared towards altering the lives of the learners for the better as well as ensuring that the students in these institutes are empowered and enhanced to self actualize and lead high quality lives.
Quality education in the higher institutes of learning should be characterized by a high level of appropriateness. Such education must be formulated and organized in a manner that is relevant and suits the needs of the students in the institutes.
Value for Money
Quality education is that which is able to presents its consumers with value for their money. This is attained through ensuring that the education given to students is not only effective but also efficient. In order to ensure that consumers get value for their money goods and services should be delivered in a timely; moreover, the goods should be in perfect condition.
3.0.0 Total Quality Management
The phenomenon of total quality management was formulated in the year 1961 by Feingenbaum. Upon its formulation total quality management was referred to as total quality control (TQC). Most of the contributions made in total quality management are traced back to the work of Joseph Juran and Edwards W. Deming in the mid 20th century. In the 1950s these two scholars presented a lot of statistical data and information in Japan as well as the 1980s American Revolution. As already indicated the main elements of quality management include consistency, elimination of waste, customer service and delivery of goods and services in a timely manner.
Total quality management is described as “the process of integration of all activities, functions and processes within an organization in order to achieve continuous improvement in cost, quality, function and delivery of goods and services for customer satisfaction”. Total quality management requires that principles of quality be applied in all be applied at all points of operation and management in a commercial organization. Total quality management in a commercial organization such as Kuwait’s higher institutes of learning implies that quality is maintained from the point of identification of customer needs to post purchase. Initially the concept of total quality management was applied mostly in manufacturing commercial organizations but over the years it has spread to other fields such as banking, healthcare, education, non governmental organizations and government agencies. The process of total quality management is also described as the sets of procedures involved in the transformation of an organization’s basic culture and shifting it towards services or products that are superior in quality.
A majority, if not all, of the total quali
ty management models are founded upon the teachings of pioneer experts in the field of quality and are comprised of a number of principles of fundamental elements. The most significant include concentrating on consumer needs and satisfaction, teamwork, increased human resource participation and leadership in the top management and training. Total quality management is an ideology of general management and instruments which equip organizations with the capacity to describe quality as well as techniques that may be utilized in attaining quality. For an organization to be described as presenting its customers with quality goods and services the needs of the consumers have to be met and the customers must demonstrate satisfaction with the goods and services.
4.0.0 Total Quality Management in Kuwait’s Higher Institutes of Education
The application of total quality management in the higher institutes of education in Kuwait is confronted with a number of obstacles. An investigation study was carried out on 20 individuals who are all academic leaders in different institutes of higher education in Kuwait. The findings of this investigating study revealed that there are a number of hurdles in the implementation of total quality management in the higher institutes of learning in Kuwait. These include lack of support and commitment by the institutes’ top management, absence of adequate number of experts on total quality management in higher education, lack of an incorporated model of total quality management in Kuwait’s institutes of higher education and unavailability of knowledge on self assessment tools as well TQM enhancement methods. This research also revealed that a number of higher education institutes in Kuwait are characterized by the placement of a huge burden on the application of TQM.
There are a number of recommendations that can be followed up to ensure the effective and successful application of total quality management in the higher institutes of education in Kuwait. Firstly, the relevant agencies and policy makers involved in total quality management in the higher institutes of education in Kuwait should formulate and set up a sample model to be adopted in the nation’s higher learning institutes. In addition to this, seminars and training workshops should be organized to ensure that there is adequate knowledge of total quality management as well its application for purposes of improving quality.
5.0.0 Implementation of TQM for Socio-Economic Growth
Investigative studies conducted by the World Bank and UNESCO indicate that the social, economic and private returns of implementing TQM principles are much higher in primary and secondary education institutes as opposed to institutes of higher education. Application of TQM in primary schools is estimated to be 25% while in higher educational institutes it is at 1% . The open competition that typifies student activities in institutes of higher education has led to students becoming both consumers and customers of the educational process tasked with the responsibility of paying for the increasing costs of education. There are three major models of the manner in which TQM is implemented in higher education in Kuwait to ensure quality education as well as socio-economic growth .
The first model is that in which the principles of total quality management are focused on the customer (the students) . The implementation of this model necessitates the training and growth of higher education institute staff so as to ensure service to students through increased options and independence.
The second model of total quality management implementation in higher institutes of education is focused on the staff in higher institutes of learning. This model is aimed at enhancing and increasing the contributions and value made by all the members of staff in a higher institute so as to improve the effectiveness of the operations in the institute. This is usually achieved through the setting of priorities and policies in the institute. For this implementation of TQM to be successful the staff in the higher institutes of education has to embrace the responsibility for action that they are vested with . The third and final techniques through which TQM may be implemented in institutes of higher education is by placing emphasis on service agreements as well as ensuring conformity to the stipulations placed at particular points of the educational processes in which evaluation is carried out. An example of this is the assessment conducted by faculties on assignments given to learners in the higher institute of education. There are, however, many issues that the implementation of TQM in higher institutes of learning is confronted with. These include issues to do with leadership, organizational change and identification of customers. Orientation of customers becomes a problem in the application of TQM I higher institutes of education due to the fact that most of the staff is motivated to work by market forces .
Commercial organizations such as higher institutes of learning play a very significant role in ensuring the social and economic development and growth of the nations where they operate. If the administrators and managers of such organizations are equipped with total quality management skills and competencies, they can transform the organizations to ensure that customers are offered quality goods and services. The effective implementation of TQM is very important in ensuring that the principles of TQM are applied in bringing about socio-economic growth. Firstly, the implementation of total quality management principles in higher institutes of learning as well as other commercial organizations in Kuwait will ensure that the organizations become more focused on the customer or the consumers of the goods and services being offered. The involved human resource will not only enjoy their work more but also ensure that consumers are offered quality goods and services.
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