SQA Forum
Sustainability: the new total quality management

What is Quality Assurance?

Quality is a slippery concept, which implies different things to different people. It is that which best satisfies and exceeds customer’s needs and wants. Quality can be said to lie in the eyes of the beholder. This is because the consumers, who make the judgment on quality, do these by reference to the best comparable performance.

Quality refers to the standard of a phenomenon when it is compared to other things like it: how good or bad something is, that is, to be of good/poor/top quality or of a high standard. In this context, it is associated with the „monitoring and evaluation component of education‟ to see whether the outcome is good and of the intended standard.

Quality assurance on the other hand, is about consistently meeting product specification or getting things right first time, every time. For example Quality assurance in the university system implies the ability of the institutions to meet the expectations of the users of manpower in relation to quality of skills acquired by their outputs. Equally, it can be said to be the ability of the universities to meet certain criteria relating to academic matters, staff-students ratio, staff mix by rank, staff development, physical facilities, funding and adequate library facilities. Adequacy of various inputs in the university system, in terms of quality and quantity, exercises tremendous influence on quality assurance in the university system. Quality assurance is a key component of successful internationalization, mechanism for building institutional reputation in a competitive local and global arena and necessary foundation for consumer protection quality is the ability or degree with which a product, service, or phenomenon conforms, to an established standard, and which make it to be relatively superior to other. With respect to education, this implies the ability or degree with which an educational system conforms to the established standard and appropriateness, of the inputs available for the delivery of the system.

What is Sustainable Quality Assurance?

Environment, energy efficiency, and quality are just a few essential elements of sustainability. The Sustainable Quality Assurance (SQA) ties together these elements with the principles and practices of social responsibility, quality management systems and environmental issues into this new concept.
Sustainable Quality Assurance focuses in the areas of Social responsibility (general), Applying sustainable quality tools, Sustainable environmental and energy initiative, Sustainability in organizational excellence, Strategic social responsibility and Skills and competencies needed by business leaders.

On the sustainability side, we often forget the intense evolutionary curve that the quality movement raced up in the 1980s as new standards and expectations triggered immense changes in business. So the fact that Quality Management Systems (QMS) does not yet fully embrace sustainability today does not rule out a powerful convergence in the future.

Looking back at the quality revolution, there is strong parallels with where we find ourselves today. Early on, a few businesses decided to view "Sustainable Quality Concept” as an opportunity toward their ultimate goal, which is business sustainability.

We transform lives through the power of education. Our Quality Sustainability Strategy seeks to support our mission by building on our research expertise in sustainability and delivering a more resource efficient institution, where staff and customers are aware of their role and the actions they can take in making a positive impact on the local, national and international quality perception.

The aim is to shape an organization that will excel and be recognized for environmental and sustainability achievements in local, national and international arenas. This will be achieved through the skills and knowledge that our costumers learn and put into practice (as future leaders and global citizens); our research and exchange of knowledge through business and community engagement; and through our own strategies and operations.

Through education and research we are aware of the ecological limits of the planet
And promote the careful use of resources through the UN Millennium Goals.

Education for sustainability underpins all of the strategic aims and is fundamental to delivering cultural change, across the community, and subsequent improvements in quality management performance. Education for sustainability is therefore the priority strategic aim within this strategy.

Our Aims:
Aim 1: To provide all People with access to education for and about sustainability in quality areas.
Aim 2: To reduce the environmental impact of our operational activities and make a positive contribution to the local environment, through the management of our estate.
Aim 3: To raise awareness and communicate research which is related to sustainable quality assurance and to ensure that our operations are informed by this research where possible.


To ensure that the aims, objectives and targets contained within this strategy are delivered to the highest standards and in a transparent and verifiable manner.

To achieve this aim our objectives are:

  • to ensure that we comply with environmental legislation;

  • to regularly review quality enhancement and sustainable quality assurance indicators for education for Sustainability;

  • to achieve a critical mass of competent staff to deliver our vision and targets;

  • to provide effective communications to ensure that all staff are aware of internal and external drivers for quality sustainability practice in relation to their role, and that they are aware of their own personal responsibilities.

How will we do this?
  • We will have dialogue with managers to develop an appropriate framework to include awareness and skills for quality sustainability in job descriptions as appropriate and relevant to specific roles.
  • We will ensure all new staffs receive information about sustainability and that practice for sustainability is integrated into staff induction programmes.
  • Quality Sustainability training will be made available to all staff.
  • We will produce an annual sustainability report outlining current performance and achievements.
  • We will monitor performance in sustainability-related external league tables.