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An application of TQM Many books and articles over many years have
concepts in education expressed concern for the constant improve-
ment in the quality of education and in the
utilization of related resources. There is evi-
dence of much time spent on improving a
particular dimension of the educational expe-
rience, such as teacher quality, instructional
V.H.Y. Lo and
supervision, and the preparation of instruc-
D. Sculli tion materials. However for the most part,
these efforts can only be described as piece-
meal, failing, perhaps because of a lack of
modern teaching resources, to consider the
need for integration of the entire educational
In the past decade or so, Hong Kong’s
The authors
industry has shifted from a labour intensive
V.H.Y. Lo is Lecturer and D. Sculli Senior Lecturer, both at manufacturing-centred one to a more tech-
the Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Systems nology based industry with the services sector
Engineering, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong. becoming the dominant component. Most of
the labour intensive industries, the manufac-
Abstract ture of toys in particular, have moved to the
Discusses an application of total quality management Pearl River Delta of Southern China, while
(TQM) concepts in education. Applies the concepts to a Hong Kong has gradually restructured
quality management programme for industrial and towards a financial and services centre.
engineering managers. Covers both the aspects of syllabus During this transitional period, Hong Kong
design and the operation and monitoring of the pro- has experienced a great demand for highly
gramme with this application. The application is based on trained and educated workers.
the ISO 9000 quality assurance management system. Political uncertainty, owing to the change
Proposes that the concepts and ideas presented will help of sovereignty in 1997, has led to a consider-
educators ensure that the objectives of the programmes able loss of professionals through emigration,
will actually be pursued. with professional industrial and engineering
managers experiencing a critical shortage.
These economic changes plus the loss
through emigration have made it necessary for
the Hong Kong Government to undertake a
considerable expansion programme in tertiary
education, with university places being almost
doubled over a three to four year period.
During the last decade or so, the world has
also seen considerable developments in the
pursuit of quality; the concepts of total quality
management (TQM) have evolved and stan-
dards such as the ISO 9000 series have been
established. These quality concepts cover a
wide range of operations, ranging from final
product inspection to the inspection of pur-
chased parts and raw materials, and even
personnel selection. Intense global competi-
tion for orders, profits, jobs, and resources is
taking place in all types of organization. The
most severe challenge facing any organization
today is how to meet demand for higher quali-
Training for Quality
Volume 4 · Number 3 · 1996 · pp. 16–22 ty products and services. To be able to cope
© MCB University Press · ISSN 0968-4875 with these needs, it is essential that industrial
An application of TQM concepts in education Training for Quality
V.H.Y. Lo and D. Sculli Volume 4 · Number 3 · 1996 · 16–22

managers and engineers receive training and systematic planning methodology. In fact,
education in quality management. many of the current approaches to curriculum
There is ample evidence that shows the design can still be described (see Knox[3]) as
vigorous development and the implementa- the cafeteria approach, where unrelated mod-
tion of TQM in business oriented organiza- ules are put together.
tions (see Lo and Sculli[1]). The manufactur- The making of effective decisions on what
ing companies have obviously had a head a training programme should contain requires
start, mainly because of keen competition in the setting up of some systemic model to
the more tangible issues of product quality facilitate the planning and review of the pro-
and delivery times. This competition has now gramme. This admits the reality that it is
extended to other realms of the economy and impossible to design an effective curriculum
includes organizations in the services and at a first attempt; continuous monitoring and
public sectors. All this has increased demand design adjustments are required to develop
for industrial and engineering managers, and and even maintain the quality of a curriculum.
at the same time has increased the severity of Once this is accepted, the decisions on the
the shortage problem. selection of what to teach and how it should
But quality management is obviously not be taught can then be made by following the
so new, and courses in quality management logic flow of the model adopted. A workable
could be found as a single subject paper in model for curriculum design is presented in
tertiary education curricula and in teacher Figure 1.
training programmes in Hong Kong even as There are quite a number of different
far back as the early 1980s. However, most of models which can be developed by judicious
the present middle-aged industrial and engi- adjustment and modification of the model in
neering managers did not receive in-depth Figure 1. The proposed model is based on the
training in quality management when they customer/purchaser model underlying ISO
were at university. In those days it was also 8402[4] and ISO 9000[5]. However, a number
unusual to find systematic curriculum and of modifications and improvements have been
teaching operations planning, and, as a result, made using the work of Johnson[6] as guide-
the courses did not always meet the expecta- lines for the modifications. This mainly
tions of participants. The authors believe that involved the use of engineering terms instead
the integrated TQM concepts which are of the terms often used in curriculum studies.
applicable to manufacturing and service This ensures that such terms will be readily
industries can, with judicious planning, be understood by engineers and industrial man-
applied to education. The remainder of this agers.
paper describes an attempt to do this. The development and improvement of
course contents is an obviously vital factor for
a training programme. Four national quality
TQM in curriculum design
awards are used to supply the starting criteria:
Johnson (see Ausubel[2]) put forward the The American Malcolm Baldrige National
notion that a curriculum is an attempt to Quality Award[7], The Canada Award for
communicate the essential principles and Business Excellence-Quality[8], The Aus-
features of an educational proposal in such a tralian Quality Awards[9], and The European
form that it is open to critical scrutiny and Quality Award[10].
capable of effective translation into practice. As we are dealing with an educational
The approach contains a type of end-means programme, the objectives should be practical
model. The model starts from a definition of in nature (fit adequately within the time frame
the performance measure or attainment available) and should generally be in line with
which students should reach at the end of a those of the authoritative bodies. The objec-
course, and then proceed to attempt to design tives should also be able to satisfy any special
a course that will maximize the particular needs of local industry, perceived or other-
measures of performance. wise.
Curriculum building theory is a relatively The design begins by making a general list
recent phenomenon and comes after the of topics which, if well covered, will result in
curriculum reform movements of the 1950s good management practices in an organiza-
and 1960s. It is obviously difficult to tion. A team comprising academics and
introduce coherent programmes without a practising managers formed the course
An application of TQM concepts in education Training for Quality
V.H.Y. Lo and D. Sculli Volume 4 · Number 3 · 1996 · 16–22

Figure 1 Schematic model

• Sponsor
• Recognition
Selection criteria
• Experience
• Academic

World quality Qualification students
management judgement


Curriculum management/
development Implementation Programme
design for industrial
Objectives • Matrix • Quality manual • Quality record
• Quality procedure • TQM training managers
• Work instruction

Third-party certification (ISO 9000)

• Evaluation • Management review • Internal audit Supporting
• Corrective action • Non-conforming product system

Quality philosophy Local situation

(TQM) (market survey)

Foundations of the model

(Johnson's model)

curriculum design and development process management needs criteria was established as
advisory committee. The non-academic the first step towards curriculum develop-
members of the committee comprised repre- ment. This list was used to identify the quality
sentatives from the manufacturing and service management topics which would lead to a
industry, the government Department of well-accepted quality management
Industry, the professional bodies (Hong Kong programme for industrial and engineering
Quality Assurance Agency and Institute of managers. The list was eventually reduced to
Quality Assurance), and even some potential 19 criteria and 25 topics as shown in Table I.
students. Scores ranging from 0 to 9 were then assigned
An initial list of 145 course evaluation to each criterion/topic entry in accordance
criteria and 170 quality management related with the perceived relevance. A high score
topics was put forward by the course co- implies that the corresponding topic becomes
ordinator. In order to get a general picture of an element of the training programme. The
what industrial and engineering managers results are summarized in the form of a matrix
need in terms of quality management train- (see Table I) that shows the relationship
ing, a modified/combined list of 29 quality between the chosen criterion and the possible
An application of TQM concepts in education Training for Quality
V.H.Y. Lo and D. Sculli Volume 4 · Number 3 · 1996 · 16–22

quality management activities/topics which an organization. A quality manual may relate

would satisfy the criterion. A final committee to the totality of an organization’s activities or
presentation was arranged to discuss the some sub-systems of its operations. The title
matrix scores, enabling members to under- and scope of the quality manual developed
take face-to-face discussion to clarify any reflects the operations of and terminology
doubts and refining of the information. This used by an educational institute. It contains
committee meeting, in effect, used its collec- the 18 features as required by ISO 9002.
tive expertise as a form of quality control. Other special features of the manual include:
• an amendment record sheet to indicate the
version status;
Quality assurance management system
• a general quality policy statement of the
We now move from design to ensuring that educational institute;
the programme is actually doing what it was • responsibilities , authorities, and the inter
meant to do, i.e. programme quality assur- relationships of personnel who manage,
ance management. Windham[11] concludes perform, verify and review all work affect-
that systematic instructional designs together ing quality;
with a management approach are the best • a cross reference list of the manual con-
combination for improving the quality of tents and the elements of ISO 9002;
education. In this regard, the authors believe • the name of the education institute on
that course quality assurance management every page;
can be achieved through the use of the ISO • manual title, i.e. the Quality Assurance
9000 system. Manual;
An administration and supervision based • manual issue number and date of issue for
management system was devised which mainly version control;
follows the ISO 9001[12] and ISO 9002[13] • signature of person authorized to issue the
standards set by International Organization manual;
for Standardization. The selection of ISO • organization of the institute for quality
9001 or 9002 depends on whether the insti- issue;
tute wants to include the design part in the • the quality system procedures and instruc-
certification scope. ISO 9001 and 9002 pro- tions indices.
vide the basic list of essential requirements for
building a quality assurance management The operation quality procedures and work
system. This system can be built via a docu- instructions specify the way to perform the
mented system which establishes and main- activities related to all operational aspects of
tains an effective operation during the “deliv- the programme, as required by clauses num-
ery” of the training programme. Compliance ber 19 and 20 of ISO 9002 and ISO 9001
with this set of documents should provide the respectively. When a procedure is document-
necessary consistency, irrespective of admin- ed, the term “written procedure” or “docu-
istration and location. mented procedure” is preferred. A written or
A set of documented manuals was devel- documented procedure will usually contain
oped to ensure that core activities are carried the purpose and scope of an activity: what
out as planned. Guidance notes for the appli- shall be done and by whom; when, where, and
cation ISO 9000 to education and training how it shall be done; what materials, equip-
issued by BSI 1992[14] were also used as a ment and documents shall be used; and how it
reference in producing the documented man- shall be controlled and recorded. The set of
uals. Examples of areas of concern include agreed headings were produced after thor-
course materials and programmes, time- ough discussion by the working team. Nine
tabling, registration/attendance recording headings were finally adopted: purpose,
procedures, requirement for handouts, and scope, reference, definition, responsibility,
workshop facilities. The manual is in fact qualification and training, procedures, record
composed of three sub-manuals or levels: the and appendix; all procedures were written
Quality Assurance Manual, the Operation under these headings.
Quality Procedure, and the Work Instructions. A work instruction is, in fact, a written
The Quality Assurance Manual is, in fact, a direction which describes how a job should be
set of documents which state the quality performed and which normally involves a
policy and describe the quality system used by single operator. Usually no fixed format is
An application of TQM concepts in education Training for Quality
V.H.Y. Lo and D. Sculli Volume 4 · Number 3 · 1996 · 16–22

Table I Topics and criteria

TQM activities/topics

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 1112 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 2122 2324 25

Motivation, recognition, participative management

Work improvement team, QCC, taskforce, kaizen

Quality awareness, world trends, local situation

Quality policy, quality vision, mission

Data collection, data management

Quality management philosophy

Communication skill, methods

System approach, close loop

Evaluation and assessment

Operations management
Survey and data analysis

JIT (kanban, zero stock)

Project management

Presentation skill
Company culture

Train the trainer

Taguchi method

Quality audit
Quality cost
Seven tools

Team work

ISO 9000
Chosen criterion for good quality

management QFD
1 Quality values throughout
the organization 6 3 6 6 9 6 9 1 6 9 9 1 9 9 6 3 9 6 3 1 9 3 3 1 1 134
2 Quality education and training 9 9 3 3 9 6 3 9 9 6 1 6 3 9 6 1 9 3 1 9 6 3 9 1 1 134
3 Process performance and methods
to control 9 9 6 9 9 1 9 3 6 1 6 6 9 3 1 9 1 3 3 1 1 3 1 9 9 127
4 Design and introduction of
improved products and services 9 9 9 6 9 1 9 6 3 9 9 1 9 1 1 1 1 1 3 1 9 1 1 6 9 124
5 Implementation of improvement
plans 1 3 3 6 9 9 1 3 9 9 6 9 1 1 1 9 1 1 9 1 9 9 9 3 1 123
6 Management involvement 6 6 1 3 6 9 9 3 6 6 9 9 1 3 6 9 3 1 3 3 9 3 3 3 1 121
7 Analysis and use of data for
decision making 9 9 9 3 9 6 9 9 1 6 1 1 9 1 3 3 6 6 1 1 1 6 6 1 1 117
8 Senior executive leadership 1 3 9 6 3 9 3 6 6 3 1 1 6 6 9 3 9 6 1 7 3 1 1 1 1 105
9 Measurement of organization’s
commitment to quality 6 3 9 3 1 1 3 9 6 6 6 6 9 1 6 1 1 1 9 6 3 6 1 1 1 105
10 Comparison with competitors 9 3 9 9 1 3 3 9 1 1 9 6 9 1 1 3 1 9 6 1 1 3 1 1 1 101
11 Company’s information system 9 6 9 6 1 6 9 1 6 9 1 6 1 1 1 6 1 1 6 1 1 3 1 6 1 99
12 Reinforcement and assessment
of “ownership” at all levels 1 6 1 1 9 9 6 6 9 1 1 9 1 9 6 1 1 6 3 6 1 1 1 1 1 97
13 Relationship of quality planning
to business planning 3 6 1 3 6 6 3 1 3 3 9 9 3 9 6 9 1 1 3 6 1 1 1 1 1 96
14 Promote high standards in
public aspects 3 1 9 9 1 9 1 1 1 9 1 6 3 3 9 1 9 3 1 9 1 1 1 1 1 94
15 Recognize employees’ contributions 3 1 1 6 9 9 3 9 9 1 1 1 1 9 1 1 3 3 6 3 1 6 1 1 1 90
16 Knowledge of customer
requirements and expectations 9 9 9 9 3 1 3 3 1 1 9 1 1 1 3 1 1 9 1 6 1 1 1 1 1 86
17 Measures of customer satisfaction 9 6 9 9 1 3 3 6 1 1 9 3 1 3 6 3 1 3 1 1 1 3 1 1 1 86
18 Encouragement for employee
contribution 1 9 1 3 6 6 9 1 9 3 1 1 1 3 1 3 9 3 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 77
19 Quality data management 9 9 3 3 1 1 3 9 1 9 1 1 1 1 1 3 1 1 6 1 3 3 1 1 1 74

Total 112 110 107 103 102 101 98 95 93 93 90 83 78 74 74 70 68 67 67 65 62 58 44 41 35 1990

An application of TQM concepts in education Training for Quality
V.H.Y. Lo and D. Sculli Volume 4 · Number 3 · 1996 · 16–22

required for a work instruction and it can be tabling, examination results processing,
in the form of a simple flow chart, a diagram, teacher evaluation, the purchase of teaching
a check list, or even an example. The work materials, and many other educational man-
instructions are there to ensure that staff carry agement activities.
out the particular job in the required manner. Effective curriculum design requires strate-
For ISO 9000 certification an internal gic plans, starting from the institute educa-
audit is required which compares the actual tional vision, mission statement, and educa-
operations with documented procedures. The tional policy. These must be well defined and
system developed by the authors requires the disseminated to all the personnel involved. All
programme co-ordinators to carry out a functional departments will then be required
comprehensive set of planned and document- to develop their own operational plans which
ed internal quality audits. This is to verify, are in line with objectives and strategies
through objective evidence, that quality activi- defined. Thus, every employee of the insti-
ties comply with planned arrangements. tute, the principal, teachers, and even the
Audits determine the effectiveness of the lower-level administration staff, must be
quality system in terms of the documented involved in establishing the necessary TQM
(expected) system, i.e. provide quality assur- operational systems.
ance. The results of the audits are document- If virtually any industrial or service organi-
ed and brought to the attention of the person- zation can adopt TQM and ISO 9000
nel responsible for the auditing. The teachers standards, then why should educational
and administrators responsible can then take institutes be any different? Unlike the manu-
timely actions to correct the deficiencies facturing or the service industries, where most
found by the audit. The results of the audits of the quality activities are end-product and
are also periodically reviewed by a higher level customer satisfaction oriented, performance
Board of Academics from the institute. The in education is often measured by some other
Board ensures that the audits themselves are indirect means such as the size of the teaching
being properly performed and that all other resources: amount of laboratory equipment,
quality systems are being followed. number of computers, numbers of teachers,
etc. This is also reflected in a recent report
from a Hong Kong Government task force on
Concluding comments
vocational education and training, which
The concepts of TQM are essential for the concludes that the debate on education and
development of documented quality manage- training has too often been concerned with
ment systems such as the one previously structures and delivery and too little with
described. TQM as defined by content and outcomes.
Feigenbaum[15] stresses the word “total”, This study is an attempt to apply the con-
i.e. it must have an organization-wide impact, cepts of industrial quality control and assur-
involving all staff at all levels of the organiza- ance in the education environment. The
tion. Customer-oriented quality activities are authors believe that many of the ideas pre-
the prime responsibility of the general man- sented can be applied to a variety of
agement and those in charge of the main-line programmes in many educational institutes.
operations. This organization-wide impact It can be argued that developments in this
must also be a visible feature of TQM applica- direction are inevitable, and that TQM con-
tions in education. However, for many educa- cepts will eventually be imposed from above
tional institutions much of the quality in form of contractual arrangements.
improvement demand is, unfortunately, still The last quarter of this century has seen
seen as belonging outside the traditional the opening of higher education to a figure
syllabus design, instructional design, and approaching 50 per cent of the population age
teaching training. group. Before this, higher education was for
The use of TQM and ISO 9000 standards an élite few, who needed little supervision and
in education is still relatively young. But, in who often worked independently in libraries.
the authors’ experience, the potential contri- Difficult entry standards were the main, and
butions are many: customer-oriented educa- perhaps only, form of quality assurance.
tional programmes, systematic programme Nowadays, the large population in higher
marketing, recruitment of academic staff, etc. eduction requires well defined objectives,
The approach can also contribute to time- programmes, and a monitoring system in
An application of TQM concepts in education Training for Quality
V.H.Y. Lo and D. Sculli Volume 4 · Number 3 · 1996 · 16–22

order to ensure that students reach some 7 The United States Department of Commerce, National
minimum standard. Institute of Standards and Technology, Malcolm
Expenditure on education forms a large Baldrige National Quality Award, Application Guide-
lines, 1993.
part of most governments’ budgets, and while
the work described in this paper may be con- 8 Minister of Supply and Services Canada, Canada
Awards for Business Excellence, Minister of Supply
sidered as somewhat preliminary, any attempt
and Services, Canada, 1992.
to improve the educational efficiency and
9 Minister for Industry, Australia, The Australian Quality
quality can result in large tangible and intan- Awards – Application Guidelines, Enterprise Australia,
gible economies. St Leonards, NSW, 1991.
10 European Organization for Quality, The European
References Quality Award, European Foundation for Quality
Management, The Netherlands, 1992.
1 Lo, V.H.Y. and Sculli D., “Regional review of TQM in 11 Windham, D.M., “The macroplanning of education”,
Hong Kong and Southern China”, Training for Quality, Comparative Education Review, Vol. 19 No. 2, 1995,
Vol. 3 No. 2, 1995, pp. 5-8. pp. 187-209.
2 Ausubel, D., Educational Psychology – A Cognitive 12 International Standard ISO 9001, Quality Systems –
View, Werbel & Peck, New York, 1978. Model for Quality Assurance in Design/Development,
3 Knox A.B., Quality in Continuous Education, Jossey- Production, Installation and Servicing, International
Bass, San Francisco, CA, 1987. Organization for Standardization, Geneva, 1994.
4 International Standard ISO 8402, Quality Vocabulary, 13 International Standard ISO 9002, Quality Systems –
International Organization for Standardization, Model for Quality Assurance in Production and
Geneva, 1986. Installation, International Organization for Standard-
5 International Standard ISO 9000, Quality Manage- ization, Geneva, 1994.
ment and Quality Assurance Standard – Guidelines for 14 BSI Quality Assurance, Guidance notes for the applica-
Selection and Use, International Organization for tion of ISO 9000/EN 2900/BS 5750 to Education and
Standardization, Geneva, 1994. Training, BSI, London, 1992.
6 Johnson, “Education theory – definitions and models 15 Feigenbaum, A.V., Total Quality ControI, 3rd ed.,
in curriculum theory”, Vol. 17 No. 2, 1967, pp. 127-40. McGraw-Hill, New York, NY, 1986.