A. Mateos-Ronco, J.M. Hernández-Mezquida

Polytechnic University of Valencia (SPAIN)
The international economic troubles of recent years have led public institutions to review their actions by applying principles of economy, efficiency and efficacy. New international operation patterns have appeared that have led to a new public operation system being designed; a new philosophy of operation known as new public management (NPM). With NPM, the very terms of private companies have been introduced into the public sector, which has adopted the usual tools that private companies would normally employ. In the educational context, NPM has been included and acknowledged as a new mechanism to improve the quality of education by applying principles and criteria from the business sector to education centers’ management. The latest legal reforms have been oriented to adopt models from the business sector, such as EFQM (European Foundation for Quality Management) or TQM (Total Quality Management). Excellence in education centers management is a means to achieve a higher level of quality in education. For this purpose, it is necessary to incorporate evaluations of their actions into their daily routine, and to ensure that their strategic objectives are being met. In this context, standardizing specific tools that adapt to their peculiarities is fundamental. This research examines the design of a tool for the comprehensive management of public vocational training centers with a novel approach, since the proposal emerged from a consensus reached by managers of education centers, and is oriented to their own specific requirements.

A strategic map of these organizations was devised after identifying the cause-effect relations among their strategic objectives, and defining the different perspectives or areas to act in. The Delphi method enabled us to obtain a set of indicators, identified by panelists as being more relevant for measuring performance and controlling the strategy adopted by these centers. Based on the qualitative analysis done with these results, a proposal of a Balanced Scorecard was made, whose validity as a management instrument was proved by the high level of consensus reached among experts on the measurement indicators included. This proposal, whose adoption and standardization will lead to improved efficiency in educational institutions management, results a valuable tool for planning public policies to improve the quality of education.