Concept paper prepared for discussion on World Teachers’ Day October 5, 2003 in Kathmandu as well as inother South Asian C...
was reiterated for “improving all aspects of the quality of education and ensuring excellence of all so thatrecognized and...
Quality education covers a wide spectrum. It embraces different aspects of human and sociallife. They include:       1.   ...
•   uality of available                                                                         opportunity.              ...
9- Pre- requisite of Quality Education               Quality education demands some pre-requisites. These pre-requisites a...
improving public facilities and promotion of income generating program. These can be launched in villages where a village ...
•   Adult literacy rate (male-                 •   Availability of freedom                      female)                   ...
•   Curricular achievement level         (a) At the personal                 •   Activities as demanded by                ...
and honor that s/he deserves to improve quality. But without upgrading their status and morale such competency and account...
4. Social mobilization (social partnership through Alliance and ownership) of the teachers for (a)             expanded ac...
(16) Adapted from the Resolutions on Building Trade Unions into the 21st Centaury, ICFTU-APRO,December 1996.    The author...
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Educaation for quality


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Educaation for quality

  1. 1. Concept paper prepared for discussion on World Teachers’ Day October 5, 2003 in Kathmandu as well as inother South Asian Countries by SAARC Teachers’ Federation and its all affiliates.Education for Quality QUALITY EFA THROUGH TEACHERS UNION KESHAV PRASAD BHATTARAI Traditionally education was conceived for "social good." Cultural conservation was another aspect of it. Along with these aspects, education was used as transformative force. The great thinkers from Plato and Kashyap to Edmund O’ Sullivan and Amartya Sen understood education in any of these forms. It is quite interesting to note that Plato (427-347 BC) is still relevant when we conceptualize his educational thoughts into action. In his understanding education should address both the individual and his/her social life by realization the justice and discharging functions that the society expects from an individual. Thus Plato has covered the all the educational issues including the ultimate accountability aspects. He admitted that the state is the first and foremost educational institution (1) In his view there can’t be a good state without a good system of education .O Sullivan on the other hand understands education as the transformer of the global order for the survival of the human being. (2) Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen focuses on the other aspect of education. In his knowledge education is a force for ensured freedom of a person and determinants of his/her development.(3) Sen and Dreze view education in playing five distinct roles for individual freedom. They include (a) intrinsic role (b) instrumental personal role (c) instrumental social role (d) instrumental process role (e) empowerment role, and (e) distributive role.(4) Undeniably, it is education that empowers people to the maximum extent, gives voice to the people at bringing freedom, justice and equality at their disposal, trains people to live a successful life and builds nation and society. Education, at best has the capability building role at promoting peoples’ participation and accelerating socio-cultural and economic integration. The age we live is full of doubts and uncertainties. More complexities have invaded us as a person, community and nation and as a global citizen. The days to come will bring tremendous problems and challenges. Only boundless human energy and creativity can give us a safe a passage to a life of dignity and honor. No one deny that it is education of some level of quality that generates such energy and germinates such creativity. As Ilya Prigogine observed ‘we cannot predict the future, but we can prepare for the future’ (5). The best preparation cannot be other than human preparation and again that kind of preparation can only be ensured through quality education at the massive scale. But education is still a neglected priority in most developing countries including that of Nepal. A neglected priority cannot enhance quality in policy making, programming, funding and accountability building. .Well confirmed and defined quality outputs in education come through quality policies, plans, programs and practices. (6) At the international level, Nepal along with other developing nations showed its commitment to quality education in Jomtien, Thailand by acknowledging that “overall the provision of education is seriously deficient and that it must be made more relevant and qualitatively improved and made universally available."(7) After a decade of this declaration at Dakar- Senegal, collective international commitment 1
  2. 2. was reiterated for “improving all aspects of the quality of education and ensuring excellence of all so thatrecognized and measurable learning outcomes are achieved by all especially in literacy, numeracy andessential life skill"(8) Following these declarations, each of the participating nations made efforts toensure quality education. And yet quality education has been a far cry. It is reverberated throughout theWorld with a vague connotation. Quality education has some basic premises. Before going to the graphic outlines of qualityeducation I would like to conceptualize some of the basic ideas and issues that are ignored by most of thepolicy and decision makers. They include: • Education is the primary responsibility of any government because it is the most vital element of social cohesion, national unity and strength. If a government thinks that educating its young citizen is a burden it loses moral rights to rule the country. Therefore every government has to make bold initiatives to educate its citizens. • The focus of education is only the student, student and students. Likewise the first and last infrastructure of education is the teacher himself/herself. Therefore, the role of the state, community, local bodies and other sections of society is to facilitate or motivate people for quality education. They must acknowledge that education is the only process for the production of human capital which starts with a teacher and ends with students. • The quality of education depends on the quality and commitment of the teacher and on his/her relationship with the student and student’s family. Therefore, if quality education for all is to become a reality, teacher must first of all be given the social status and income that they deserve. Likely investing in teachers is a prerequisite for any improvement in the educational process. (9) • Quality education provided by the smallest number of private schools to a smallest fraction of students cannot be a quality education per se, because this type of education widens the gap in society, brings social inequality and tension, mocks justice and robs the vast majority of students of all the state opportunities available in the country. In other word it is educational apartheid, because this type of education creates more deprivation and more poverty while education in fact is a very strong element for fighting deprivation, poverty, injustice and exclusion. To put it differently, quality is to be inherent in education as a public right. This inclusive quality education addresses the concerns of low income people, pro-public policy makers and officials. At the same time, it reduces the widening gap that is being created by the class education perpetuated by the so called boarding and private schools. The private schools by and large serve rich and vocal people and the voiceless people are sacrificing their interest for their vocal counterparts.5- Quality education defined Quality education is life long process of empowering individual for qualitative change inhis/her life through acquired energy and creativity to build profound cumulative impact on socialdynamism, which, with determinate positivism, prepares the individual and the community, meet each andevery need of their life and time.Aspects of quality education for EFA 2
  3. 3. Quality education covers a wide spectrum. It embraces different aspects of human and sociallife. They include: 1. Utility aspect by (a) defining, serving and attaining individual and social interests, values and achievement (b) bringing and promoting quality behaviors in achieving personal happiness, social peace .progress and co-operation, and (c) .ensuring socio- economic and cultural development of both the individual and the society. 2. Capability aspects by (a) playing effective personal roles (b) promoting and protecting personal and social well being.(c) realizing personal importance (d) Enlarging personal choices, and (e) inculcating risk and adversity management skills. 3. Relevancy aspects by (a) mobilizing available resources (b) realizing personal incompetence (c) ensuring standard living, and (d) enabling individual as well as society for wise utilization of available opportunities 4. Emotional aspects by (a) providing quality relationship with family and community in daily life, and (b) sharing sense of happiness, pain, suffering, feeling of individuals owing, alienation and allegiance in personalizing social interest and socializing personal interest. 5. Communicative aspects by (a) simulating individuals to perform social role (b) schooling people with transformative curriculum, and (c) updating as well as satisfying curricular needs of the community 6. Support aspects by (c) creating enabling environment for students from family, teachers and friends (b) ensuring level and kinds of supports that students want to receive (c) knowing how the students receive and utilize support for their expanded abilities (d) making support enrich student’s personal life (e)and building ability in creating support and contributing support7. Impact zone of Quality EducationQuality education has its zone. Its zone can be identified in the following table: Table 1Zone of quality education • Individual and social empowerment • Individual betterment through freedom, justice, equality through quality desire, situation enlarged by education. values, and success • Level of social integration and socio- aspirations. cultural, economic and political • Quality role play and development through-democratic quality of personal choice commitment of the educated and importance citizens. • Quality in managing risks and adversities. • Social transformation through the • Quality of personal living best use of available human natural, and sense of well being. social and economic assets. • Quality of personal capacity. 3
  4. 4. • uality of available opportunity. • Quality of human and social security system.The above zones of quality education help understand that there are multiple areas where the system hasto focus. At the same time there are many areas that a teacher has to know to ensure quality education.Below is the list of the desirable interventions for quality education which concentrates more teacher asa unit.Desirable interventions for quality education"One fits all" approach may not work to ensure quality education. In other words, quality education can beattained through direct and indirect interventions. These interventions are chronologically mentionedbelow. Table 2Interventions for quality education Direct interventions Indirect Interventions • Preparation of teachers • Policies, plans and program • Adequate educational adjustment in building infrastructures. system efficiency and • Securing greater effective maintenance. accountability. • Proper combination between • Bringing educational state commitment and institutions within community involvement in community ownership. education. • High level political will and • Availability of better integrity. working conditions and • Broad based national service packages for consensus and social teachers. • alliances in educational betterment program.The table above explicitly shows that quality education demands both the direct and indirectinterventions with its primary as well as secondary stakeholders of education. These interventions varyfrom policy to implementation levels. Again the focus of the interventions should be the teacher becauses/he is the one who translates the notion of quality education in daily chores. 4
  5. 5. 9- Pre- requisite of Quality Education Quality education demands some pre-requisites. These pre-requisites are always contextualin a sense that they differ from teacher to teacher and context to context. Following is the exhaustivelist of pre-requisites that are essential for quality education. They are: • Quality in Education depends upon the total national quality of socio-cultural, economic and political system. • Quality education has a bottom – up (from school to highest policy level) and vice versa nature. (For example quality schooling demands quality policy, planning, programming and implementation and this accelerates better schooling conditions) • Quality in education is neither cheap nor free of cost. It is best human acquisition re- enforced by excellent schooling provisions. Therefore quality investment in all relevant sector strongly effects the level and type of quality education,. • Quality promoted by high level efficiency and integrity at all levels imposes self discipline and motivation. • Kind and level of quality has a future link although it can be realized at present. • Quality education has local to global implications, so it can be achieved from local to global level efforts and commitment, followed by integrated national efforts and strong political will and integrity: a real catalyst in quality education. • Quality in education is well measured not by sample survey in one or two aspect of education but by depth survey and research at all levels and aspects. • Quality has accountability effect which can be built through broad participation, sense of ownership and unity of action, purpose and shared benefits, better incentives for personal growth, and effective protective shield against adverse effects.10. Strategies for improving quality in education. Quality education requires multiple strategies at different levels. At the grassroots level, thesestrategies prepare favorable environment. At the program level, they provide succinct mechanism tostreamline the ongoing activities, and at the policy level, they need flexible policy options. Following isproposed strategies for improving quality education. • Ensure defined accountability at the level of parents, local community, school management, teachers and their unions, local bodies and local administration, and legal bodies at the national levels and the state at large. • Community actions and involvement to enlarge better educational opportunities for all. Build universal accessibility and affordability of education to the whole sections of society with gender and deprived community related focus.(10) • provide incentives for local bodies as additional central grants, special developmental programs and legal authority to levy local tax if all children within the particular area are enrolled and a given percentage of them complete primary level education.Similarly, peoples of low income groups and deprived communities and parents of girls are to beencouraged to enroll their children into school and complete the schooling. They can be facilitated withbank loan (11) support for their family occupation etc. additional central and local grants for building and 5
  6. 6. improving public facilities and promotion of income generating program. These can be launched in villages where a village community has made good progress and willing to give collective commitment or use influences to achieve EFA goals by a given time frame (12)A study done by Asian Development Bank with the aims of providing the backdrop to ADB’s educationsector policy paper articulating the policies, priority and strategies that it intends to emphasize onstrengthening infrastructure in the center. In this regards ADB suggests (a) capacity building processesextend from the policy environment at the central level to school level management and (b) improvement ineducation planning and policy capabilities of provincial and district institutions and restructuring schoollevel management with strategies to back up these policies.(13) In short some policies and strategies to improve quality in education can be suggested as: • Secure accessibility, affordability and quality in education. • Build accountability through partnership and ownership in education. • Streamline community actions and involvement. • Focus on integrated national development approach as an umbrella system of educational sub system • Reform educational administration and school management. • Democratization in education through decentralization. • Build effective supervisory and facilitating mechanism to regulate coordinate and motivate quality excellence in identifying the needs of the school • Allocate and mobilize adequate resources to bring quality educational output and build proper transparency in its transaction • Build professionalism in education and enhance professional competency in teachers through highly effective rewards and punishment instruments. • Confirm strong political will and state commitment to improve education and give it proper dynamism and direction. Indicators of Quality education Achievements can be assessed both qualitatively and quantitatively. In both the cases, some of the objective as well as subjective parameters are needed as indicators of quality education. The following list provides the list of quality indicators: Table 3 Quality indicators for education Objective indicators of quality education Subjective indicators of quality education • Enrollment (male, female, effective economic and social and gross enrollment) empowerment through • Retention and completion level (male- female and • Poverty reduction gross enrolment) • Social transformation 6
  7. 7. • Adult literacy rate (male- • Availability of freedom female) situation • acquiring basic life skill and • Lowest level of human standard of quality life. deprivation. • Level of academic freedom • Sustainability of socio • acquired communicative skill economic development of the learner plans, policies and • Teachers preparation, programs motivation and compensation • Social cohesion, unity packages and peace • Physical facilities available • Social equality and availability of advanced and justice teaching and learning aids • Best use of social and forteachers and students natural resources • Percentage of public allocation and parental • Democratization of social contribution living and national polity. • Use of modern technology in education • parental and community participation in school • management • Teachers mobilization and accountability building mechanismThe objective indicators are scientific and subjective indicators deal with human satisfaction. But theremarkable thing is that both the indicators are equally important forthe ensured quality education. Herein below is the list of tools that help promote quality education. Table 4 Tools for measuring quality in education Regular scoring tools Additional tools or techniques 7
  8. 8. • Curricular achievement level (a) At the personal • Activities as demanded by curriculum • Self reliant and • Other social activities confident. • Style and standard of daily • Has fixed life goals and living wants to live a purposeful • Kind and quality of support life. student provides and • Has learnt what s/he receives is expected to learn. • General outlook towards life • Has his/her education applied and other relevant situations in his daily life? • Sense of responsibility and • Has some personal accountability at different limitations. levels • Personal life and character (b) at the social level • Norms, values and • Has built friendship circle belief system for personal • Has maintained family and social living. responsibility. • Has participated in school and social activities. • Has troubled relation with any family or community member or friendship circle. • Has enthusiasm for social interactionsThe above tools and techniques contribute in two ways for quality education. At one level, it provides ageneral frame. And at the individual level, it highlights both the social as well as personal skills for qualityeducation. As a quality promoter a teacher is supposed to deal with both these frames through curricularas well as extra-curricular activities.Teacher unions for quality education for all Quality, Equality, Sustainable Development and Proper use of Human Social and Naturalresources are the buzz words that are related to quality education. In order to translate these wordsinto action teachers union must show their organizational commitment keeping the view that (a) quality ofeducation determines the quality of nations and society (b) quality of teachers ascertains the quality ofeducation. Therefore the quality of education is the outcome of total national commitments made andpracticed on the part of education. No individual and any single group of people or agencies can do thisjob. But the basics of quality starts from teachers – the education and training of teachers, the processof their recruitment, deployment, proper remuneration, instructional support and working conditions.Moreover, the level of competency and sense of accountability that a teacher endows give him/her dignity 8
  9. 9. and honor that s/he deserves to improve quality. But without upgrading their status and morale such competency and accountability is not quite possibleTeaching is a never ending job, not confined within a given time and space. Inside the four walls of aclassroom the past comes to prepare the future through present and meets the whole human race throughtheir cultural and national linkages. It is where teachers union can be instrumental. Similarly students arethe part of teachers. When students excel or fail the real winner or loser is the teacher himself/herself,because it is teacher who looks through the eyes of students, thinks and senses from students mind, workswith their hands and walks with their legs. Likewise the students peeps the world through the eyes of ateachers. So the quality of education has to cement the bond of relationship between students andteachers. Class-room with goal oriented teachers and student reserve energy at bringing peace,development and amity among people, fighting injustices and un-freedom and breaking poverty cycle ofsocieties. But the classrooms are also to be energized to reserve and tap this (energy) and bring change inthe mindset of people and their work through number one national priority to improve the teaching andlearning conditions. Reflecting upon the above contexts the following action programs have been identified for teachers unions: 1. Capacity building of the teachers union by (a) mobilizing and re-orienting teachers and their unions to achieve EFA goals (b) building competent networks to meet the professional challenges and broaden new opportunities.(c) promoting maximum participation and ownership in union decisions to enhance transparency and accountability (d) collecting and mobilizing resources, and (e) building unions capability to address the need of teachers while being democratic, representative, non discriminatory, active in promoting quality education, concerned and involved with community stakes and relevant to the modern school needs(16) 2. Education and training program for the teachers and union leaders with the ultimate goal of promoting quality in education by (a) conducting mini pedagogical researches (b) enhancing capacity and willingness of teachers to implement quality teaching techniques (c) deriving strategic visions (d) motivating teachers to apply quality indicators and quality scoring instrument in the assessment of student’s achievement level, and (e) orienting teachers with EFA goals and mobilizing them to achieve it. Teachers union and their general members are to be made aware of the governments negligence in education.(15) 3. Advocacy and campaigning to adopt and implement follow up activities by (a) promoting modernization and higher standards in the recruitment, training, deployment and ensuring appropriate incentives for teachers (b) applying ILO/ UNESCO recommendation concerning the Status of Teachers’ 1996and EI resolution 1995/ 1998, Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other related international Conventions, World Declaration on Education for All 1990 and Dakar Framework for Action 2000, UN World Summit Declaration for Social Development 1995 ( 10 commandments for Social Development ), Decisions of the tripartite meeting of ILO/ GMEP (1996) on the desired content and processes of teachers’ preparation and professional development, and UN Declaration on Millennium Development Goals 2000. 9
  10. 10. 4. Social mobilization (social partnership through Alliance and ownership) of the teachers for (a) expanded accessibility, affordability, and quality of education (b) restored school accountability towards parents and parental accountability towards schools (c) secured state commitment and community actions to expand educational opportunities for all (d) streamlined educational issues to be addressed through integrated socio economic process of development (e) created regular social dialogue to improve education (f) developed and implemented collaborative strategic planning to build massive educational efforts and adequate budgetary allocation for quality education, and (g) empowered stakeholders of education. In a nutshell the instrumental force that ensures quality education is teacher. The teacher thus requires dialogical environment, professional updating, career path, parental cooperation, cultural support, and process oriented mentality of the students. In all these themes, teachers union should be mobilized to promote quality EFA.(1) G.H.Sabine: A History of Political Thought, P 59.(2) Edmund O’ Sullivan; Trans formative Learning: Educational Vision for the 21st Century,Zed Books,1999.(3) Amartya Sen; Development As Freedom, Oxford 1999, and with Jean Dreze India-Development AndParticipation, Oxford,2002(4) Dreze and Sen. op.cit.p.39.(5) quoted in Federico Mayor and Jerome Binde; The World Ahead; Our Future in the Making UNESCO, Zed books, 2001, p.1.(6) adapted from the resolutions of 5th.Council Meeting of STF (April18-20, 2002) Katmandu.(7) (World Declaration on Education for All- Meeting Basic LearningNeeds-5-9 March 1990). 8). The Dakar Framework for Action, UNESCO, 2000. (9) Mayor, op.cit. p. 360,362.10) Some examples of similar experiences can be borrowed from Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh,Himanchal Pradesh in India see N. ChandrababuNaidu, Plain Speaking Viking, 2000 p 163-173. Dreze andSen in India-Development and Participation 143-188 have given their compelling remarks as well asconclusions of various well researched studies made in India on various well researched studies madein India on universal primary education.(11)The approach of Grameen Bank in Bangladesh has set an excellent example in this regards, see, LifeLong Learning in the 21st Century, ILO, 2000, p.20. The mentioned work has numbers of practices appliedaround the World(12). For Kenyan example see World Development Report World Bank 2002, p.178. How financial constraints blocks educational opportunity of children’s illustrated in World Bank Report 2000/2001 with illustrious example p-83(13) Education and National Development in Asia – Trends, Issues, Policies and Strategies, ADB 2001, Executive Summary.(14)For correlation of social capital with indicators of school quality sees Narayan and Pritchette- SocialCapital – evidence and implication in Das Gupta and Seragaldin edited Social Capital – a Multi facetedPerspectives, World Bank, 1999(15) The observation made by a noted Human Development Expert Dr. Mahbub -Ul –Haq shows the pictureof educational negligence in the developing nations. According to his observation, – South Asia takespride in allocating 6th times more money in arms purchase than in Education (See Reflections on Human Development, Oxford)-2000, P.220. Dr. Haq’s hard exposure and brilliant conclusion and policysolutions seems best alternatives to change the disappointing state of living in South Asia (See also figureattached with this paper) 10
  11. 11. (16) Adapted from the Resolutions on Building Trade Unions into the 21st Centaury, ICFTU-APRO,December 1996. The author is former President of Nepal’s Teachers’ Association, Teachers’ Union of Nepal and former General Secretary of SAARC Teachers’ Federation 11