Drawing parallels between Business & Academia: Achieving Excellence-based Competitiveness

  • Ashraf Labib


Purpose: The reaction to deploying TQM in higher education has been received with mixed feelings - ranging from whole-hearted acceptance to outright rejection. The purpose of this paper is to study the awareness of TQM in higher education and identify the critical challenges faced by institutions in implementing TQM. The paper suggests that competitiveness in education is heavily dependent on the ability to build links with industry and to be continuously selected as the preferred supplier of education and training needs.

Methodology/Approach: This is a technical paper discussing the issues behind TQM in education. It studies the awareness of TQM in HE and the role of industry-academia partnerships. The paper discusses that partnering with academia is a natural fit for any technology-based industry.

Findings: The paper analyses how education is responding to TQM implementation and highlights the various obstacles. It discusses the critical aspects of TQM implementation in education and the areas that need to be addressed to meet modern business requirements. The paper discusses role of industry in promoting TQM in higher education institutions and how successful partnerships are established. The author offers an approach that can change the educational institutions from an internal focus to external focus perspective. Finally, he suggests a way forward for developing an integrated approach to total quality education (TQE) which will assist providers of education and training to become more competitive.

Originality/value: Total quality education (TQE) is about creating opportunities for continuous learning through continuous improvement. Productivity measurement in the context of education institutions is the measurement of learning. Learning comes from newness and innovation. TQE has to carry education institutions towards their vision of being “preferred suppliers for learning” to match modern business needs.