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The dilemmas of quality in developing countries

As a rule, developing countries were and a large number still are agricultural similar to pre-Queen Victoria England of 160 years or so ago. That was why Taylor’s Scientific Management thrived. Developing countries do not have a tradition of manufacturing in the modern sense. Admittedly, traditional cultures in developing countries had produced fine weapons for hunting for example, but such implements cannot be classified as manufactured products as defined since the Industrial Revolution.  Given that quality originated in the manufacturing industry, a profound understanding of quality in societies that have not been exposed to manufacturing may prove elusive. The transplanting of quality into other activities including higher education naturally exacerbates the dilemma for the developing countries.

Whether one likes it or not, quality is more than often equated to high costs. In a country where daily survival is the order of the day, although quality often becomes the only effective survival tool, it is not seen in that light in such a country. Regrettably such mentality pervades the whole society and is present as strongly in the people who have in fact survived such predicament as in those who continue to face the predicament. Such people include those who are closely involved in higher education. As a result we have an automatic aversion to quality in higher education in those countries.

It may not be universally accepted, but claims can be made on the better care being given to many things by the womenfolk rather than the men folk. Such care can be extrapolated to the matter of quality, including quality in education and higher education. Unfortunately there still is a minority of women in education and higher education in developing countries (Banda & Polepole, 2002; Mumba, 2002). Even in countries that have a majority of women in the population such as  Indonesia, the percentage of girls in higher education is still relatively small (Dikti, 2001). The dilemma here of course is that while there is a wish to have quality in higher education, the potential proponents are not

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

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