Quality and school culture

Quality Management (QM) systems have been introduced in vocational schools in various European countries over the past ten years and it has become clear that individual schools have had varying degrees of success in implementing their QM systems in full and in an appropriate manner, i.e in accordance with the underlying QM principles, in gaining acceptance from those involved and in achieving the desired impact.

Various stakeholders working on the development of the QM systems (such as education administrators, evaluators, school development advisers) have come independently to the same conclusion, namely that this situation may result from the differing cultures in the individual schools, which may or may not favour successful implementation.

During the project Q-KULT,the six partners will focus on the topic ‘Quality and school culture’ and deal with the question of how the culture of individual schools influences the implementation of QM systems.

Preparatory work for the project has shown that quality culture (as part of the organizational culture) plays a major role in the implementation of quality systems. With the diagnostic instrument to be developed during the project, the influence of quality culture on the implementation of quality management systems in vocational schools will be made tangible. Further, based on results gained by the use of the diagnostic instrument, vocational schools should be more capable for sustainable and effective (with or without consultative support) implementation of their quality management systems. In addition to the provider level approach, also information for the purposes of steering at system level will be generated by the project.

The aim of the project is to make quality culture visible as a key factor in the sustainable implementation and institutionalization of quality management systems in vocational schools. Accordingly, suitable instruments are being developed with which steering opportunities are enabled both at system and provider level for the improvement of sustainable implementation of QM.
Central to the project is the development and testing of a diagnostic instrument to identify school quality culture. Discussion with and feedback from other national EQAVET reference points is indispensable.

The project partners want to deal with the aforementioned issues in the following way:

  • Establishment of an overview of the current state of research on the issue of survey of and influence on organisational culture at schools with regard to quality management.
  • Development of a diagnostic tool to identify relevant dimensions of “quality culture” in organisations of initial vocational education and training. Search for proofs for a correlation between organisational culture and the successful/unsuccessful use of quality management.
  • Elaboration of recommendations on which cultural framework conditions should be taken into account on the system and provider level in the implementation and consolidation of QM systems and how this should be done.


(Text: Q-Kult project)

Runtime: 2013 - 2016
Program Scheme: Lifelong Learning Program of the European Union
Sub-Program: Leonardo da Vinci
Promoter. ARQA-VET - Austrian Reference Point for Quality Assurance in Vocational Education and Training, Austria
Website: Q-Kult