Quality management in higher education

Today the main aim of the Russian educational system is to provide a high quality education on the basis of preserving its fundamental character in accordance with the current and perspective needs of the individuals, the society and the state. First of all, it is connected with Russia’s recognition of the Bologna Declaration and with the processes of integration of Russian higher schools into the world educational area.

There is a belief that a huge number of educational institutions in Russia has led to change the quality of education for the worse. It mainly concerns institutions of higher education.

In order to solve questions of increasing competitiveness of the educational services, among modern concepts in the field of quality management, standardisation and certification, Russian higher educational institutions choose the quality management system (QMS) in correspondence with the standard requirements GOST R ISO 9001-2001 (ISO 9001:2003), which is closely associated with the resolution of the above-stated problems.

Aiming to increase the quality and competitiveness of the educational services, the Management Systems Certification Body "Test - St. Petersburg Co. Ltd." in cooperation with the "Institute of Quality Management" has scheduled a number of seminars referring to the quality management methods in the educational field for specialists of the high schools, the institutes of higher education and the institutes of qualification improvement.

In November 2004 the experts of Test – St. Petersburg Co. Ltd. together with the representatives of the Certification Institute ICIM (Italy) and specialists of Federal State Enterprise “Test-St-Petersburg” organised the first seminar according to the schedule “The Quality Management System in the educational field. The standard requirements ISO 9001:2000 in the educational institutions”. The practical questions on the system of quality management application (the methods of achieving goals in the quality sphere; defining the requirements to the given services, monitoring and measuring the educational processes) in the educational institutions were considered, and also an experience of QMS certification in Italian educational institutions was presented. It was noted that this approach is based on strengthening the function of business administration and serve as the guarantee that the given educational service will meet the consumer’s demands and will provide the necessary level of trust to the educational institutions in the international market.

The seminar showed the interest of a great number of educational institutions in the QMS development. By now, a serious work on the creation of the quality management system is being carried out in the Saint-Petersburg State University of Economics and Finance, the Saint-Petersburg State Polytechnic University, the Ghertsen Russian State Pedagogical University and the Saint-Petersburg Technical College of Management and Commerce. In February 2005 the “Nevskiy Institute of Language and Culture” was the first to be certified by the auditors of the quality management systems certification body Test – St. Petersburg Co. Ltd.

As a result, the main benefits of the QMS functioning were marked out:
  • Systematisation of the approach of improving the work on the basis of unified international requirements
  • Getting unbiased evaluations, based on facts
  • Introduction principles and up-to-date methods of quality management
  • Possibility of being recognised and stimulation of the achievements of subdivisions, teachers and colleagues
  • Basis for the constant improvement of the work owing to controllability of the processes
  • Performing the necessary conditions for licensing, certification and accreditation
  • Providing competitive benefits for participation in tenders, contests, etc.
  • Increasing the level of satisfaction of the interested parties
  • Raising the number of customers
  • Recognition of the educational services and the scientific-research elaboration in the European market
By now, 10 institutes out of presently 700 institutes of higher education have received the certificate of the standard requirements ISO 9001:2000; among them the Siberian State Technological University, the Tomskiy Polytechnic University, the Moscow State University of Economics, the Statistics and Informatics and the Stavropolskiy State Agricultural University.

Thus, we realise that the quality of education is a very important part of the quality of life in Russia in general and that introducing the quality management systems, taking into account peculiarity and specifics of the educational institutions, is a necessary step in modernising and increasing the competitiveness of the Russian educational system.


Experts of Test – St. Petersburg Co. Ltd., representatives of ICIM and specialists of the Federal State Enterprise “Test-St-Petersburg"