A quality management system (QMS) is simply a set of policies and procedures aimed at maintaining a certain standard for something
Companies that produce products or services use it to ensure the same standard of quality across their operations. For example, a certain model of car is manufactured exactly the same whether made in a factory in South Africa or Germany. The factories have detailed procedures to be followed down the the finest detail for each step in making the car.
Managing the quality of products like cars is one thing but when it comes to education and training things start to get a bit trickier! Enforcing standard operating procedures can end up stifling creativity and responsiveness and adaptability – the very things that create quality in education in the first place! On the other extreme, it’s also possible to hold vague ideas about how good your education and training is without any evidence that it is actually achieving anything at all! So when it comes to understanding the role of a QMS in education and training, perhaps an analogy will help.
Think of the QMS as playing the same role that rhythm plays in music. Without a structured rhythm, the music starts to break down into chaos and soon becomes noise! A good rhythm allows creative musicians to express their creativity as the lead guitarist, vocalist and other instruments can structure stunning melodies over the rhythm resulting in beautiful music. Think of the QMS as the rhythm that creates the space for rigour and structure and accountability in the education and training work you do while also being the thread that holds together the diversity of creativity and innovation that makes your work unique.