The basics of how legislation defines and contextualizes ‘Quality’ in education and training. Quality can be complicated and is directly linked to business success or failure.
Education Training Quality Assurance
Skills development in South Africa is underpinned by the need to address unemployment, poverty and economic growth.
The use of skills development as an alternative revenue stream for business should be discouraged. This defeats the purpose of poverty eradication and economic growth. When skills development is purely embarked upon as a profit mechanism – reduced labour costs, BEE points, tax rebates etc. skills development occurs at the cost of the poor.
It’s important we reflect on and uphold what the legislation states and prevent unethical behaviours from dominating the industry and misleading the public.
- Quality Management Systems means the combination of processes used to ensure that the degree of excellence specified is achieved. A quality management system is the combination of activities and information an organization uses to enable it to better and more consistently deliver products and services that meet and exceed the needs and expectations of its customers and beneficiaries, more cost effectively and cost efficiently, today and in the future.
- Quality Assurance means the sum of activities that assure the quality of products and services at the time of production or delivery. Quality assurance procedures are frequently applied only to the activities and products associated directly with the goods and services provided to external customers.
- Quality Audits are activities undertaken to measure the quality of products or services that have already been made or delivered. In itself a quality audit has no impact on quality.
- Quality Control is undertaken by the person(s) who make the product (or deliver the service) for internal purposes
Popular Quality Management Systems
There’s nothing new about quality management, it’s a standard business convention. Here are some examples of well known international systems:
- Malcolm Baldridge National Quality Award
- European Quality Management Award
- Australian Quality Award
- The Koalaty Kid Program
- The Deming Prize
- The ISO 9000/2000 Quality Management Code of Practice
- Investors in People
- The South African Excellence Model
- The Balanced Business Scorecard
- The Scottish Quality Management System
SAQA, the NQF and Quality
The NQF, the SAQA Act of 1995 and the National Education Policy Act of 1996, among others, are explicit about the proposed orientation to quality within the South African education and training context.
Central to the quality orientation is the concept of transformation:
- Transformation of policies and policy formulation processes;
- Transformation of structures and relations among them;
- The creation of an integrated national framework;
- Increasing access to and mobility within the education and training system;
- Developing modes of democratic organisation and practice; and
- Links to the political, social and economic reconstruction and development of South African society.
In addition, Regulation R1127, under the SAQA Act of 1995, defines quality in the following way:
The combination of processes used to ensure that the degree of excellence specified is achieved.
The objectives specified by the Act indicate that the ultimate purposes of Quality Management Systems are to:
- Enhance learning in South Africa by increasing the number of learners, the frequency of learning, and the relevance and durability of what is learned!.
- Establish a framework of qualifications and standards that are relevant, credible and accessible.
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