Education is said to be the solid foundation on which the growth of a nation is built. The growth of a nation depends largely on the quality of its education. Any nation that trivialises its education is doomed. Provision of quality education is the duty of both the government and private individuals. The role of the government is to ensure that private schools are run in total conformity with the lay down standard by the education ministry.
In the education ministry, a department is saddled with quality assurance in all schools, irrespective of the status. This department guides and supervises the academic activities in all schools. As the name implies, quality must be assured.
How is this Exercise Conducted?
No school receives the officials from the Quality Assurance Department without prior notification. The department is fair enough. The notification enables the school to put things in place and make the exercise easier and faster for the officials.
What Does this Exercise Require?
It is believed that three things affect teaching and learning: the school, learners and facilities. The inspection of the whole school by the Quality Assurance Department covers these three areas.
All classrooms are inspected to make sure they are conducive to learning, regarding space, ventilation, sitting arrangement and population. Any school that fails this inspection is tagged a substandard school and such a school is marked for sanction. Hmmmmmmm!
Besides, within the school, there are certain requirements that must be met, such as standard laboratories, playground, modern toilets, cafeteria, sickbay, qualified and experienced teachers. All these are inspected.
Teachers are visited in the classrooms to observe their mastery of the subject, method of teaching and lesson delivery, and to ensure appropriate instructional materials are used during lesson. What a wonderful exercise by a responsible government!
The school leadership is never left uninspected. It is part of the quality assurance recommendations that the school leadership organogram is clearly stated and noticeably posted in the head teacher’s office. All statutory records must be available.
Also, safety of lives and properties is measured. The officials will ensure this is taken care of. Are the learners’ lives at risk? What measures are in place to guarantee maximum security? Dangerous items are cleared. Fire alarm and extinguishers are hung at strategic places in the school. The school gate(s) is/are manned by able-bodied men.
The qualities of teaching and learning in the classrooms are equally inspected. It is the business of the officials to ascertain that learners are actively involved in the classroom exercise. Does the teacher evaluate the learners? Are the learners given the privilege to contribute meaningfully during lesson? Are they given leadership roles to perform? This is prefectship. How often are they engaged during the regular morning assembly?
No school goes through these inspections without the expected quality assurance. The government deserves some enormous commendation for this sanitation exercise in the education sector. With this, substandard schools that mushroomed in the midnight will be put under checks.
After the quality assurance of the whole school, the school is rated and adjudged excellent, good and fair, depending on the observations of the officials. It is no secret rating. Strengths and weaknesses of the school will be revealed with proofs. I applaud the government for this.
This Exercise is One-sided
Since it is the priority of the government to sanitise the education sector, the exercise is expected to begin with government schools. It is pathetic that most of the requirements demanded by the department are not met by the government. Let me begin with the population in the class. Active teaching and learning only take place in a classroom where the teachers- learners’ ratio strictly conforms with the standard set by the Ministry of Education.
The minimum population in most government schools is eighty per class. And if learning never takes place in an overpopulated classroom, the implication remains that learners in government schools don’t learn at all. Overpopulation is a threat to teacher’s commitment and dedication.
Next is the comparative study of the quality of teaching and learning in government and private schools. Evidence abound that government schools can never withstand their private counterparts in terms of the quality of teaching and learning. One of the major things that enhance quality learning is the use of appropriate instructional materials. Teaching in abstract, as being practiced in government schools, endangers the academic performance of the learners. In this era of technology, audio-visual aids facilitate understanding during lesson and concreteness is assured. Using audio-visual materials requires two things: internet and power supply. Can any government schools boast of constant electricity during school hours? Are there projectors to display information to the learners? Do the teachers have access to internet facilities? The answer to these questions is a capital NO. Where is the quality assurance vociferated by the government?
For QUALITY education to be enforced in private schools, government schools should lead by example.