Public and private universities have largely failed to implement the aims and objectives of higher education, the University Grants Commission (UGC) has observed. The problem may be due to the fact that the term “quality” hasn’t been defined for education. In the quality profession a thing hasn’t been operationally defined unless it includes an objective method of measuring it. The UGC, and The Daily Star article, presume that everyone understands the meaning of “quality education” as they discuss the failure to achieve it. However, those of us working in quality in business have learned that unless an operational definition has been developed, different people have different ideas of what a term such as quality education means. After reading and re-reading the Star article, I must admit that I don’t have a clue as to what the UGC is using as their operating definition. The authors talk about the distribution of the universities and a “concern over the standard of eduction in both public and private universities.
After failing to define just what quality is, and how it hasn’t been achieved, the UGC goes on to identify the root causes. “The reasons for the failure include influence of partisan politics on student bodies, session jam, lack of transparency and accountability in the activities of teachers and students, uncontrolled consultancy and part time jobs of teachers, it said.” They also offer a variety of solutions, such as “Practical steps should be taken on an emergency basis to build a national consensus taking opinion of all political parties. Students and teachers’ politics aimed at protecting their collective interests can be encouraged.”
The poor quality of education has been a political issue since at least the time I became an adult, which was a very long time ago. If analysis such as that in the UGC report is the best we can do it will be an issue for some time to come. I suggest that concerned individuals would do well to take a lesson from the community of quality professionals and define precisely what is meant by the term “quality education.” This will then become what they are solving for, the Y, the response variable, the metric which tells them if they are making progress. Until this step is taken we will continue to see the kind of rambling, pointless analysis