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Keynote to be presented at the 7th Quality in Higher Education International Seminar,

Transforming Quality, RMIT, Melbourne, October 2002

The paper is as submitted by the author and has not been proof read or edited by the Seminar organisers

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TRANSFORMING QUALITY FOR DEVELOPMENT

Nirwan Idrus

Executive Director, IPMI Graduate School of Business, Jakarta, Indonesia

nirwan@ipmimba.ac.id

ABSTRACT

Transplanting concepts, ideas and practices into developing countries seems natural for they themselves are unable to create, initiate and disseminate these concepts, ideas and practices. Quality is one of those concepts, and it does appear to have some formidable obstacle to acceptance in developing countries. This paper explores possible paradigm faults as reasons for this negative reaction.  It does not seem to be culture alone, for otherwise Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Singapore could not have hoped to be places others look up to when they talk about quality and in our context, could not have hoped to become developed nations in their own right.

Introduction

Much has been discussed about quality, quality control, quality assurance, total quality management, six sigma and many other variants of management improvement tools. Many people have become recognized international experts and many more had made a living and many made lots of profits out of preaching these tools. What we see of course is that these experts are in the majority people from developed countries and those who wish to be taught have been normally people from the developing countries. This is not strange, nor is it extraordinary. There will always be those who teach and those who learn. As long as the former are real experts, everything would be, as it should. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Examples abound where high school dropouts from the developed world were teaching in the developing countries, or technicians from the developed world were making engineering decisions in the developing countries.

N IDRUS  TRANSFORMING QUALITY FOR DEVELOPMENT KEYNOTE PAPER 7QHES, 29-31 OCTOBER 2002, MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA

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