The Re-Invention of the Integrated Quality Management System towards a Culture of Continuous Improvement
AbstractThe first aim of this article was to understand how IQMS practices and systems promote continuous improvement in South African schools. The second was to propose a framework for the re-invention of the IQMS. The research derives from a study concluded in four public primary schools in the Buffalo City Metropolitan area. School principals, members of the school management team (SMT) and teachers were chosen as the focus of the study. The design was a case study and an interview schedule was used to gather information. The findings revealed that (1) IQMS is understood and practiced as an external intervention, resulting in tension between policy, continuous development and improvement in schools. It appears not to have been internalized as an integrated management system; (2) the participants were ambivalent about the IQMS practices as enablers and not as barriers of continuous improvement. Finally, the external and internal quality assurance practices seemed to have been under managerial and imperatives of compliance and accountability. Given the above findings it can be concluded that if continuous improvement is to be achieved through the IQMS strategy, there is a need to re-invent it such that, embedded in its system and structures is a culture of continuous improvement.
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