The philosophy of quality in education: a qualitative approach

Date10 January 2020
Published date10 January 2020
AuthorVasiliki Brinia,Vasiliki Poullou,Angeliki-Rafailia Panagiotopoulou
Subject MatterEducation,Curriculum,instruction & assessment,Educational evaluation/assessment
The philosophy of quality in
education: a qualitative approach
Vasiliki Brinia,Vasiliki Poullou and
Angeliki-Rafailia Panagiotopoulou
Department of Informatics, Athens University of Economics and Business,
Athens, Greece
Purpose This paper aims to explore the perceptions of pre-school educators for the application of total
quality philosophy in kindergartensin the prefecture of Corinthia, Greece. Dimensions, suchas the adoption
of quality philosophy in the pre-schoolunit by the superiors, the active participation of teachers in decision-
making and humanresource management parameters, are examined.
Design/methodology/approach The methodological approach of qualitative research was selected
for the collection, processing and analysisof data based on the methodological tools of the interview with a
semi-structured questionnaire and deliberate random sampling of kindergarten teachers serving in public
units where they have teachingand/or administrative tasks.
Findings The analysis of the data shows thatthere is no particular familiarity with the basic parameters
of total quality philosophyin pre-school education and is related to empirical planning and lack of long-term
vision. However,participatory decision-making and emotionalintelligence are found as essentialelements for
ensuringan efcient and open-ended school culture.
Originality/value The study is the rst of its kind in Greece and abroadand its ndings can be used to
enrich the thematic scopeof application of total quality management dimensions to pre-schooleducation and
in particular,those dimensions related to the leadership prole of teachersexercising responsibility tasks.
Keywords Total quality management, Human resources, Kindergarten, Leadership,
Kindergarten in Greece, Pre-school education
Paper type Research paper
In the context of globalised society of the twenty-rst century, education policies and
effective school management are prerequisites for the social, economic and cultural
development of the countries. In this sense, the role that educational organizations have to
play in managing daily reality, and in particular school leaders, is a key factor in the
effective functioningof organizations.
The modern approach to the management of educational institutions is associated with
the introduction of the principlesof total quality management (TQM) as a managerial model,
in all educational levels. Essentially, this model introduces the principles of modern
administrative science into pedagogy and their application to the school unit, to operate
efciently and achieve the expectedgoals.
Pre-school education, which is one of the major educational levels, can contribute,
according to the OECD (2017.2.1), in creating the foundations of skills development,
prosperity and future learning, which are related to later academic success and social-
emotional development of children. Today, along with the social demand for efcient
services of the educational units and the need for their accountability, the issue of
introducing the TQM in pre-school education is also raised. Specically, TQM is based on
the assumption that quality education is related to the improvement of the provided
Received30 June 2019
Revised30 October 2019
1 December2019
8 December2019
Accepted8 December 2019
QualityAssurance in Education
Vol.28 No. 1, 2020
pp. 66-77
© Emerald Publishing Limited
DOI 10.1108/QAE-06-2019-0064
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