ISO9000 certification in education - Higher end post graduate degree school

M

maya iyer

#1
Would anyone enlighten me on how to about ISO certificaiton for my educational institute offering higher end post graduate degree / diploma courses?
 
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Q

Q rex

#3
Tricky. The most obvious take on who your customers are is your students. Except for a diploma mill or open education program, you're almost guarateed to have dissatisfied customers. A degree in 4 years with a 4.0 GPA is what your customer wants, but without the required effort on her part, she won't be jumping for joy.

I agree with Marc, you're selling a service. The real conceptual difficulty for service as a product is that service is a process. Education is a process, you're selling a process.

The model ISO 9000 is built around is linear, serial:
input ==> process ==> output.

The model that works better for me for service is cross-flow, series-parallel: input and output at various points in the process: O O O O O O O O
I ------------------------> O.
I I I I I I I I

The IPO model makes an assumption that is just not true for this sort of business, that the object of your process in unchanged apart from what your process does to it, that the outcome can be totally controlled, by controlling input and process. This more or less works for stamping out plate for a door lock from sheet metal. But trying to fit your business to this makes education something you do to the students, rather than with them.

Some insightful individual with web pages devoted to Quality (can't recall who, sorry) suggests reading the text of the standard 10 times in a week, not more than twice in any one day, to get a sense of what it says, before trying to interpret how it applies to what you are doing. More and deeper reading probably needed for a service implementation.

Make the standard work for you, don't let it make you work for it.

Good luck,

Rex Clingan
 

Kevin Mader

One of THE Original Covers!
Staff member
Admin
#4
Rex,

I enjoyed that post thoroughly. We have discussed the differences of Linear vs. Circular thinking here, but never in the context of Educational Systems. Your anecdote on stampings is an excellent illustration of this point! I would only like to add that the Customer of the process is not limited to the students.

This is precisely the problem with the President's current promotion on Education Reform (the Democrats plan is equally stinky, perhaps less so). It sees only the IPO approach.

For those interested in a Circular System towards Education, I would encourage those to check out the papers of Myron Tribus which can be found at the DEN (Deming Electronic Network). ISO can be a part to the process (measurement system), but is useless by itself in creating "Life-long learners."

Regards,

Kevin
 

Marc

Hunkered Down for the Duration
Staff member
Admin
#5
There are numerous educational institutions registered to ISO 9001. BTW - yes, ISO 9001. There is no getting away from the fact that courses are designed.

While I know the paradigm has not been to address design in a service operation, I believe the 2000 version will make this less common. And I agree. Services are designed. See http://Elsmar.com/ubb/Forum2/HTML/000180.html for some discussion on design in service industries.

If you want to get to some specific questions, I'll be happy to gve my 2 cents worth.

-> The model ISO 9000 is built around is linear, serial:
-> input ==> process ==> output.

This appears linear, but it really isn't if you look at the whole thing. There are feedback loops both internally and externally. See http://Elsmar.com/Imp/sld033.htm . Both internal and external, as well as long and short term, feedback is part of the play. Like a lot of ISO 9K, the input ==> process ==> output is a simplification. Seems to me that for a company it is mostly a matter of whether (and how much or how far they do this) or not you obtain and react to feedback (stimuli).

-> the object of your process in unchanged apart from what
-> your process does to it

I'm not sure I agree. The object of the process often evolves in response to feedback - both internal and external.

-> Some insightful individual with web pages devoted to
-> Quality (can't recall who, sorry) suggests reading the
-> text of the standard 10 times in a week, not more than
-> twice in any one day, to get a sense of what it says,
-> before trying to interpret how it applies to what you are
-> doing.

I sure agree with this. This is, in fact, where the value of a 'good' consultant comes into play - one can shorten the process. If you buy a guitar and twice a day every day you practice with a 'How To Play Guitar' book at your side you will eventually succeed in playing that guitar. A guitar teacher (consultant) can help shorten that time. But - the bottom line is this is not rocket science!

-> Make the standard work for you, don't let it make you
-> work for it.

Yes.
 
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