The roles of Heads of Department: Promoting quality assurance in schools

Year: 1994

Author: Kings, Clive B., Dixit, Narendra, Ming, Zhang Yen

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

In Singapore many of the issues of the world-wide quest for Total Quality Management (TQM) have been addressed with specific reference to schools. The responsibility for thorough implementation of TQM in schools rests with middle management which in schools is represented by the Heads of Department. It is clear that the emphasis formerly given to pattern maintenance or maintenance of the status quo within departments has necessitated a shift to a greater emphasis on continuous improvement and quality assurance. Such shifts of emphases necessarily require Heads of Department to have a greater range of skills and abilities if roles are to be adequately fulfilled.

A study was undertaken to ascertain the perceptions of Heads of Department about their roles and the ways in which these can be further supported to enhance quality assurance in schools. The sample of 125 was drawn from the 1993-4 cohort of Further Professional Diploma in Education students at the National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University. A questionnaire was designed which probed the major roles of Heads of Department. The results reveal that they perceive all roles to be important; however, some roles are emphasised more than others.

The paper discusses the perceptions and feelings that Heads of Department have about their roles, the abilities and skills they require in fulfilling those roles, and the areas in which they they need more support. This research is ongoing and has the potential for cross-cultural comparison.