From the moment of Russia´s accession to the Bologna Convention I higher education the necessity of creation and perfection of educational institutions´ quality systems, which is conditioned by a range of factors, is traced more and more clearly.
The factors affecting HEIs on the part of the European Community and the state in the name of the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation can be referred to external ones. In the time of active participation of Russia in the Bologna Process a new structure of the education quality management system was formed. One of the orientations of the Russian education modernization system at the present time is the All-Russia education quality appraisal system (REQAS) organization, which motives HEIs to the dynamic development of their quality systems and the quality self-esteem within HEIs as the ENQA Quality Assurance Standards requires.
The demographic situation is also referred to the number of other external factors moving the HEIs in the given direction. At the International Forum "Education Quality Assurance" (Moscow, 2007) some depressive figures were read out aloud: if to take the quantity of potential enrollees of 2007 in the RF for 100%, then by 2010 their quantity will make about 70% from 2007 and by 2020 this factor will make about 50%. Consequently, the struggle for the enrollee will take more and more rough forms.
There are internal factors moving the creation of HEI quality systems besides external ones. These internal factors have a market orientation, and namely the will to polish the image of the HEI, to perfect its management and, consequently, raise the competitiveness at the market of educational services its graduates at the labour market.
The last century experience testifies that the competitive success is guaranteed by an effective management system. For the first time the theories of scientific management of education appeared in the 20´s in the USA. They generally rested upon the theory of classical management and that of human relations. In the 70´s M. Johnson became the first to offer the model of system management of education, the foundation of which the principle of cooperation and interdependence of all the components of the educational organization is put in.
At the end of the last century a classical model of the HEI quality management system was applied in educational institutions of Russia. Since 2000 a change to a HEIs´ activity integrated assessment combining the procedures of licensing, performance review and state accreditation (the RF Ministry of Education Order from 12.11.99 N864 "On higher education institution activity integrated assessment"), the basis of which was the sanctioned check-list of the HEIs´ activity factors, has been carried out. One of these factors was the "In-HEI quality control system", which in 2005 was changed to the factor 1.2.3 - the "In-HEI education quality assurance system efficiency". It compelled HEIs to work on the creation of the in-HEI quality systems, using various models for this purpose.
For the period of 2006-2007 a typical model of the educational institution quality system was created in Russia. The ENQA "Standards and Guidelines for higher education quality assurance in European Region and requirements and recommendations of international standards of the ISO series 9000:2000 (GOST P ISO 9001-2001, GOST P ISO 9004-2001). In the standard GOST P ISO 9000-2001 eight root principles (Focus on the consumer, Leadership of the manager, Involvement of workers, Process approach, System approach to management, Continuous improvement, Decision making based on facts, Mutually beneficial relations with suppliers), which provide a basis for the quality management system formation and development.
Together with the above represented principles we formulated the fundamental positions based both on the analysis of literary information and our own research and practical experience.
Position 1. The quality management system of an organization (or in the context of the typical model - the educational institution quality system) should be considered as maximally approximated to the organization management system.
It is registered in GOST P ISO 900-2001 that "the quality management system is a part of the organization management system, which is aimed at the achievement of results in accordance with the purposes in the quality area to meet the requirements and satisfy wants and expectations of the concerned parties. The purposes in the quality area supplement other organization´s purposes connected with the development, financing, efficiency, environment, work safety and security. Various parts of the organization´s management system can be integrated together with the management system into a single management system using common elements. It can simplify planning, resourcing, secondary targets definition and total efficiency evaluation of the organization". It is impossible to create an isolated, strictly defined quality management system without its being connected with other kinds of activity at an enterprise. So, the quality management system can be considered as an organization´s management system based on the quality criteria.
Position 2. The quality system of an educational organization is a socioeconomic system, which gets formed, develops and goes through all development stages (growth phases of the organization itself).
There is a quality system in any HEI already due to its management system self-organization (synergetics) and, consequently, quality system; it occurring irrespective of whether the front office is aware of the management and management quality theories or not. However, this quality system can reach various maturity levels in the process of formation. I.e., when a HEI proceeds to the quality system development, it already has a certain system "as it is" and compares it to the requirements "as it must be" stated in the quality system typical model.
The traditional quality systems inclusive of measuring, monitoring, planning, analyzing results, correcting and caution actions, elements of internal audit, working with the supplers (schools, colleges) and consumers (enterprises, organizations, students, graduates) are retained at state Russian HEIs in spite of the stormy shifts of the 90´s. The non-state HEIs successfully found a lodgement in the market of educational services and oriented to their quality perfection, sunken to the competitive environment and being paid a careful attention on the part of the state and society worship the first quality management principle - "Orientation to consumer" from the very beginning of their existence, for it is consumers who are the source of their existence.
If to stick to the classification of maturity processes of R. Gartner , the majority of state HEIs is at the second level "definiteness", which is characterized by the customer response system availability, i.e. the consumers, their requirements have been defined; the consumers´ requirements have been transformed into the efficiency criteria; the methods of work have been standardized on the basis of general procedures; the results are managed of the basis of the after-process control. To switch to the following - third level the quality management system formalization including a documental support of the found approaches to various activities performance and analysis is necessary by all means. Special requirements to the documentation emerge in the case, if a HEI develops quality management systems in accordance with the ISO requirements of the series 9000. The documentary system availability is one of the main requirements of these standards.
Position 3. At the educational institution quality system development according to the typical model (as well as the quality management system on ISO 9001) is recommended to build the created quality system into the traditional control (management) system of the organization and also to use all the existing quality system achievements of the maturity level it self-organized to.
The system should be created for every concrete organization, so, it is necessary to know its peculiarities, destination, working conditions and other factors. The efforts to adopt somebody else´s experience, to take a pattern of other organization´s documents seem to be unpromising.
Position 4. The educational institution quality system formation in accordance with the typical model recommendations should run according to its perception by the human factor, the higher and medium member leaders, first of all. The HEI quality system "is grown" and should get through definite growth phases.
Lately there appears much publishing about a formal approach to the quality system creation. Nowadays the quality management systems on the basis of the 9000 series ISO standards of the overwhelming majority of Russian enterprises, unfortunately, do not give the outputs, which they are potentially able to. For many Russian organizations´ leaders the main thing at the 9000 series ISO standards introduction is not effective functioning, development and perfection of quality management systems, but their certification.
In the speech of V.I. Makolov (the Mordovian State University named after N.P. Ogarev) at the Vocational Education Quality Management Coordination Council in June, 2008, the main causes of low efficiency of the quality management systems created in HEIs are marked out: the quality management system "detachment" from the system of HEI management as a whole. The quality management system exists as though "in and of itself"; the formal introduction of the quality management system for the purpose of getting a conformity certificate only; the refusal of deep management transformations; the estrangement of top management from the quality management system; the orientation to substitute the quality management system by an aggregate of its documents; the formal introduction of the process approach and standardization of the practice; low volume of investments in the personnel development; the shortage of leaders; the non-involvement and low motivation of the personnel; the shortage of quality management system experts and low competence of the personnel in the area of modern methods and instruments of quality management; the priority of commercial interest in consulting firms´ activities and not the formation of effective quality management systems.
It is impossible to pass the maturity stage "definiteness" without enlightenment and quality management training, planning of processes and quality system documentation. And this very stage makes the activity of a HEI "clear", sets everything in order, and allows noticing drawbacks and areas to improve. Then one can move to the following maturity level: to introduce cardinal changes in the organizational structure; make deep transformations in the activities; put the process approach into action actively and thoroughly.
- Gardner R. Process paradox negotiation / R. Gardner // Standards and quality - 2002 - N1 - pp. 82-87.
The work was submitted to international scientific conference «Quality Management System in Education», Vietnam (Fanthiet), January 24 - February 24, 2009, came to the editorial office on 01.12.2008.