Embellishing Quality Personality of Students through Japanese-style Quality Control Circles in Academia: A Success Story in Nepal

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Embellishing Quality Personality of Students through Japanese-style Quality Control Circles in Academia A Success Story in Nepal -Prof. Dinesh P. Chapapagain

BACKGROUND Each year in the month of November, young students from different parts of Nepal eagerly look forward to participate in a national festival of Students’ Quality Circles (SQC). The annual three-day National Convention on Students’ Quality Circles is being held in this country since 2005. On the occasion, thousands of school children cheerfully present and share their respective quality circle case stories. In the presence of an array of participants comprising of educationists, government authorities, business personalities, teachers and fellow students, they tell stories of how they solved their psychosocial problems, and how, in the process, they embellish their personality. The short history of Students’ Quality Circles in Nepal dates back to 1999. Since then, I have been motivated to propagate this unique approach of students’ personality development. After my training on the practice of Quality Control Circles (QCC) at AOTS, Japan for industrial development, I adapted the approach in educational institutions to implant quality mindset among students right at their early age with the notion of “Catch them Young”. Presently, more than 200 schools in Nepal have taken up Students’ Quality Circles, either as extracurricular or co-curricular activities. I still remember the standing ovation given by 300 participants to the SQC case presented by a team of eight children of KU High School in the 4th Regional Quality Convention organized in Kathmandu jointly by Nepal AOTS Alumni Society and AOTS, Japan in July 2006. Among those applauding this unique personality development approach were the distinguished Prof. Dr. Noriaki Kano from Japan and a number of AOTS ex-trainee quality professionals from Singapore, Philippines, Malaysia, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Iran and Nepal who had attended the convention. In my first training in Japan in 1970, I did not get to learn much on TQM and QCCs. I learned the secret of Japanese economic development only in 1984 when I got the opportunity to take part in training on Systematic Problem Solving (SYPS) at AOTS Tokyo. I learned the wider dimension of the word “Quality”, the real meaning of problem solving for development, team work and working with facts. I tried to implement QCC, Companywide Quality Management in the jute industry and paper mill where I worked as an engineer and later as General Manager. By 1990, although I became a successful industrial manager in Nepal, I was not totally satisfied with myself since I felt that I could not sustain the system I had implemented in the industries I was involved in. Later, I learned more on TQM from Dr. Hitoshi Kume in 1996 during the E-TQM training program at AOTS Tokyo and then from Dr. Noriaki Kano in 1998 during his AOTS Overseas Lecturing Tour in Kathmandu, Nepal. In earnest seriousness, I discussed with these two stalwarts of Prof. Kaoru Ishikawa the problems I faced on the sustainability of TQM implementation in our context. They told me that TQM is a universal philosophy, but its applicability solely depends on the level of education, level of competitiveness and the adaptable characters of that community. Based on what I learnt at AOTS on different occasions in the background of Japanese Style Quality Control Circles, I experimented with an approach of SQC among school students for embellishing their quality personality and develop the adaptability characters of the future community in this country.


STUDENTS’ QUALITY CIRCLES Re-engineered version of Industrial Quality Control Circles to adapt in academia To be competitive in the market, quality always comes first. However, quality products and quality services can not be delivered without the involvement of quality people. Who are these quality people? Quality people are those possessing both smart and good...
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