Page 1

ARMAND FAGANEL Faculty of Management, University of Primorska, Koper, Slovenia

SUMMARY Tertiary education is a fast growing service industry and it is exposed to the globalization processes every day, everywhere. Service quality, emphasizing student satisfaction, is a newly-emerging field of concern. In order to attract students, serve their needs and keep them, higher education providers are actively involved in understanding students’ expectations and perceptions of service quality. Managing quality is therefore an important task of those institutions that give feedback on the dimensions of quality that need to be taken care of and offers the institutions possibility for significant competitive advantages in knowledge market. Additionally the Bologna process has focused on quality assurance systems and their recognition. Most countries have adopted some kind of an accreditation system, which has stood in good stead when the higher education systems have been in the whirlwind of change. QMS and other quality systems in HE, required by the accreditation bodies in view of programs accreditation are needed for the assurance of quality and management leadership. Some of the benefits of EFQM in HE: understanding and anticipating students needs and expectations; demonstrating visionary and inspirational leadership; involving staff; developing beneficial relationships.

SLAVKO DOLINŠEK Faculty of Management, University of Primorska, Koper Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia


INTRODUCTION National system for quality assurance in higher education has to incorporate several elements, in order to harmonize with EU higher education system: forming of independent agency; internal evaluations on the level of institutions or programs; external evaluations from experts’ commissions; involvement of students in internal and external evaluations; publishing the results of evaluations; and international cooperation and networking of Agency.

Key words: higher education, quality system, Bologna process

Quality management systems in Higher Education have been developed for a number of years to improve the professional standards. Slovenian Higher Education is looking for a management concept that focuses the collective efforts of all managers and employers on satisfying customer expectations by continually improving activities.


quality. For division of reality and getting a valuable insight into the same reality, there exist no absolute evidences of validity. Relativistic view can be »fitness for purpose«, although the relativism of this understanding is only apparent; its real purpose is classifyng and grading. All institutions are equal, but some of them are more equal than others. Barnett differs the hierarchical form of »fitness for purpose« (relation between different higher education institutions – »different and unequal«) and parallel form of »fitness for purpose« (relation between different higher education institutions – »different but equal«). • Evolutionary concept of quality is a part of internal culture of institutions. Evolutionary view, which is marginalised in until-today discusions, represents the view of members of academic community (employees and students). This does not mean that in self evaluation they do not consider external interests, like employers or professional bodies interests. In the self evaluation process the institutions often invite external bodies for help. External advisers are included into the internal processes upon the invitation of academical community members that want to improve the quality of their own work. This is the internal view to higher education quality, which is not inforced from outside.

Being quality minded in higher education means caring about the expectations of students and other customers and all involved parties ensuring they are met. Students’ perceptions thus provide important information for lecturers if learners’ needs are to be fulfilled. An assessment of the quality of teaching programmes comes at a time when concern for quality in higher education is probably at an all time high. All processes in any organization (higher education institution) contribute directly or indirectly to quality as the customer (student) defines it. This will determine whether students’ needs have been met (Arcaro, 1995). Quality systems in higher education have been important for decades now in order to improve the professional standards and to compare them with international educational qualifications. Several attempts have been made to model the ideas of methods like ISO 9000 and others.



International comparison of higher education is an important condition for the competitivenes of Slovenia and its inclusion into european higher education area. Quality assurance of higher education institutions, their pedagogical, research and other activities, represent the priority of strategical documents, such as National program of higher education in Republic of Slovenia. Most of european countries have established quality assurance system that is coordinated from national agency or suitable body on the state level. In Slovenia we already began to establish our quality assurance system, for the moment as regular self evaluation activity inside the higher education institutions and formal commisions (Kump, 2003). Barnett (in Kump, 1994) restricted different comprehensions of quality assurance in higher education on three concepts: • Objectivistical concept of quality, which includes instrumental measurement of quality. This means, that it is possible to identify and quantify several points of higher education. Common methodology is used for the hole of higher education system and it is focused on results. • Relativistic concept of quality excludes absolute, that could allow us to evaluate

According to the Higher education law, Slovenia has to establish autonomous national agency for the quality assessment in HE and the Council of Republic Slovenia for higher education. Responsible for the foundation is the government in agreement with higher education institutions. Agency will have the role of independent and neutral harmonizer of different interest groups from the higher education field. The roles of agency are as follows: it runs external evaluations, nominates comissions for evaluations of programmes and HEI, collects and analyses self-evaluation reports, publicates reports of external evaluations, etc. Council gives the expert opinion about the quality of programmes and delivers the accreditation of programmes and the institution, before the establishment of HE institution and every seven years renews the accreditation by official duty. In the HE act supplement from 2004 it is already defined the commitment to establish both: Agency and Council until 2005, the process already began.


Central activity in higher education quality assurance, is the process of quality improvement of higher education institutions, based on the self evaluation, first step in evaluation process. Once the self evaluation has been conducted, it follows the analysis of condition and search for weak areas. With regard to weaknesses, goals are determined, realizing them will eliminate the identificated gaps. That’s why every institution has to plan a corrective measures system. Improvement is an internal process, which has to be implemented on universities and higher education institutions. Basic intention is to increase satisfaction of all stakeholders in higher education. Process of self evaluation and improvement is basicaly never ending process, that has to be present in every life cycle of HE institution. So we assure that (together with external evaluations) the institution fulfills the required norms for the accreditation (Rozman, Stajnko and Pauko, 1999). Next step is external evaluation, which includes a visit of external evaluation commission and formes a report with recommendations. It derives from the self evaluation of HE institution. Tasks of commission will be: overview of the contents of self evaluation report, visit of HE institution, which is the object of external evaluation and forming of evaluation report with recommendations. The possibility of dialogue between the evaluators and the evaluated institution has to be present. Competent and balanced members of external evaluation comission will be demanded. Because of the restricted slovenian HE area, foreign experts will probably take part in the evaluation comissions. In the work of comission the representatives of student population will be obligatory. External evaluation report will be public. For the assurance of credibility of national agency, it will have to be involved in wider, international environment. European dimension of quality assurance is evolving in the direction of mutual acknowledgement of agencies for quality assurance in HE, mutual recognition of accreditations, study programs and diplomas. These are the reasons for the importance of membership in the ENQA - European Network for Quality Assurance in Higher Education, for the future agency. Even on the european level, school ministers address ENQA, to develop a set of standards, proceedings and directions for quality assurance, to investigate paths for implementation of adequate fellow survey

system for agencies or institutions, responsible for quality assurance and/or accreditation. All this in collaboration with EUA – European university association, EURASHE - European Association of Institutions In Higher Education and ESIB - The National Unions of Students in Europe.

QUALITY SYSTEMS IN HIGHER EDUCATION Although they may differ slightly, quality models worldwide are based on fundamental concepts that underpine them. These values and concepts are embeded beliefs and behaviours found in highperforming organizations. They are the foundation for integrating key organizational requirements within a results-oriented framework that creates a basis for action and feedback. In the higher education sector, these fundamental concepts like: visionary leadership, customer driven excellence, people development and involvement, continual learning, innovation and improvement form the basis of the vision and mission of many education institutions. The European Foundation for Quality Management – EFQM website [5.8.2003] provides a comprehensive overview of the EFQM. The EFQM was introduced at the beginning of 1992 as the framework for assessing applications for The European Quality Award. It is the most widely used organizational framework in Europe. Further on we present the linking of the EFQM Exellence Model with other quality management models and tools and how they complement (HEFCE, 2003): • The Service Triangle complements the Exellence Model, not only because of its emphasis on people, but also because it provides an overview that the Exellence Model can fit into. • The Balanced Scorecard is in widespread use across the Europe and it focuses on four performance management perspectives for an organization: customer, shareholder or funding provider, internal business process and innovation, learning and growth. • Investors in People, ISO 9000:2000 and Charter Mark are essential standards that can apply to the organizations activities of managing people, quality management systems and service delivery. Rather than


being mutually exclusive, the different standards are complementary to the EFQM Exellence Model. • The Service Triangle and the Service Profit Chain are models that can assist in understanding the inherent dynamics within an organization. The Service Triangle points to the need to determine a balance between the structural capital, the social capital and the intellectual capital domains of the university. The Service Profit Chain provides some insights into the dynamic cause and effect relationships that exist between the service delivery process, the employee and customer satisfaction. • The Balanced Scorecard and the Performance Prism are models that provide a focus for translating the vision of the organization into a performance management framework. • Six Sigma is a management tool for improving process performance.

participation, cooperation and networking. And finally, Berlin comunique warns about the necessity to develop a set of standards, procedures and orientations for quality assurance and suitable system of peer review for agencies or bodies, competent for quality assurance and/or accreditation (Berlin communique, 2003). We already established a Center for quality and evaluation, which purpose is the establishment of quality management system on Faculty of Management. The most important tasks: analyses of different QMS and their comparison, suggest a suitable QMS for Faculty, prepare elements for Faculty quality management handbook, monitor work on the research area (define elements, measurement modes and ways of reporting) and on education area (reports of efficiency of study, analyses of satisfaction surveys). Our representatives contribute in the work of university comission for quality assessment, National comission for quality in HE, Council for HE and other institutions, which concern is quality assessment. And most important for any organization, that is struggling for quality improvement, we have strong commitment of our management, they are also closely involved in QMS implementation.

All the different quality tools and standards can be used on their own or together. The mix will be dependent on the needs of the organization and its particular strategic focus. CONCLUSIONS Faculty of Management Koper is implementing the self evaluation for several years now. The reports include a series of quantitative and qualitative data, regarding the quality assessment: regular questionaires of students’ assessment (candidates informing, inscription policy, mechanisms of selection, average duration of study, fluctuation, mentoring, monitoring and help for students’ problems, mobility of students, employment of diplomants), employees surveys (employment, advancing, mobility of professors, bibliographical publications), study schemes and programmes, research and scientific work, work on international, national and internal projects, programmes description and goals, methods for lecturing, teaching and knowledge testing, international cooperation, cooperation with industry and public services etc.


But the self-evaluations, certification and accreditation only, can not improve the quality of HEI. This is only the beginning of a process that has to evolve in the international 166

• Arcaro, Jerome S. 1995. Quality in Education. An implementation handbook. Delary Beach (Florida): St Lucie Press. • Berlin communique-Communique of the conference of ministers responsible for higher education. 2003. Realising the European higher education area. [Online] Available: pdf/Communique1.pdf [September 15, 2004]. • HEFCE - The Higher Education Funding Council for England. 2003. Linking the EFQM Excellence Model® to other Management Models and Tools. Sheffield Hallam University. • Kump, Sonja, urednik. 1994. Kakovost visokega šolstva. Novosti CRU. 5-6 (december). Ljubljana, Center za razvoj univerze. • Kump, Sonja. 2003. Zagotavljanje kakovosti

v slovenskem visokem šolstvu v kontekstu mednarodne primerljivosti. V Kakovost v visokem šolstvu: Poročilo Nacionalne komisije za kvaliteto visokega šolstva, urednika N. Širca Trunk in M. Pauko. Maribor: Nacionalna komisija za kvaliteto visokega šolstva. • Rozman, Ivan, Regina Stajnko in Miha Pauko. 2001. Evropska dimenzija kakovosti visokega šolstva v Sloveniji. V Razvoj visokega šolstva v Sloveniji, uredniki: B. Stanovnik, L. Golič, A. Kralj. Ljubljana, Slovenska akademija znanosti in umetnosti.

studente, služile njihovim potrebama i zadržale ih, visokoškolske institucije su aktivno uključene u razumijevanje studenskih shvaćanja i očekivanja od kvaliteta usluge. Upravljanje kvalitetom je dakle važan zadatak onih institucija koje daju povratnu informaciju o dimenziji kvalitete o kojoj se treba brinuti i nudi institucijama mogućnost za značajnu kompetitivnu prednost na tržištu znanja. Dodatno Bolonjski proces se fokusirao na sustave osiguravanja kvalitete i njihovo prepoznavanje. Većina zemalja je prihvatila neki oblik akreditiranja, koji se pokazao dobrim temeljem kada se radi o visokoškolskim sustavima obrazovanja. QMS i drugi sustavi kvalitete u visokoškolskom obrazovanju, traženi od akreditacijskih tijela zbog akreditacije programa, potrebni su za osiguravanje kvalitete i vođenje. Neke od prednosti EFQM u visokoškolskom obrazovanju su, razumijevanje i predviđanje studenskih potreba i očekivanja; vizionarsko i inspiracijsko vodstvo; uključivanje osoblja; razvoj uzajamnih odnosa.

SUSTAVI UPRAVLJANJA KVALITETOM U VISOKOŠKOLSKOM OBRAZOVANJU SLOVENIJE SAŽETAK: Visokoškolsko obrazovanje je brzo rastuće područje industrije usluga i pod svakodnevnim utjecajem globalizacije. Kvaliteta usluga, naglašavajući zadovoljstvo studenata, je novonastalo područje interesa. Da bi privukle

Ključne riječi: visokoškolsko obrazovanje, sustavi kvalitete, Bolonjski proces


Quality management systems in slovenian higher education