Careful when thinking “Out of the Box” 1

Warning regarding “QMS in a box” adverts

It has come to our attention that mailers have been doing the rounds advertising pre-packaged and templatised academic quality management systems. While the cost associated with these products are very attractive – some are offered for prices as low as R18 000 – we strongly recommend you decline these offers for the following reasons:

  1. While the package includes policy templates, it does not inform the institution on how to translate their current resources into a workable policy. In other words, the policies will end up being generic and will not represent workable and practicable QMS-initiatives within your unique milieu. While submitting a policy like this to a regulator such as the CHE, might get you across the first hurdle in the accreditation process, it will not ‘survive’ the intense scrutiny of a site-visit.
  2. These packages do not supply you with a means to turn your policies into ‘Standard Operating Procedures’. Without supporting processes and procedures your policies become stagnant documents without a means of execution.
  3. These offerings do not offer any information on how to manage and govern a QMS. Without a well-structured Academic Governance structure your QMS cannot function.
  4. Lastly, no form of consultation is offered to tailor the offering to your institution and no effort is made to align your QMS to your needs and resources. Regulators such a the CHE requires your institution to meet the minimum accreditation criteria, and if this is not possible to provide strong strategies for meeting and exceeding accreditation criteria in the future. This requires an institutional audit and an accompanying development plan – these services are not included in your “QMS in a box”.

We urge all new, established and prospective providers to steer well clear of these offerings as a failed accreditation attempt could mean that you need to wait in excess of three years before you can open your doors to students.

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One thought on “Careful when thinking “Out of the Box”

  • Linda Oosthuizen

    I think this warning is as valid as the current learning material purchase concerns I have seen. It typically takes me 3 months and much collaboration to develop a fit for purpose QMS. The cheap generic versions impact organisations much later on having left unwitting providers with no mechanisms for proper implementation. By then the ‘in the box’ suppliers are long gone. New providers can be price sensitive and don’t always have the expertise to distinguish between good and bad quality management systems. It is criminal to prey on their initial ignorance – name and shame is maybe the way to go.