I would like to draw your attention to two words that are often used carelessly in everyday discussions, especially among leaders and business people – quality and education. Every leader promises to provide the populace with quality education, yet many of these promises have come and gone without any remarkable impact on the quality of education provided to the people.
It is on record that many leaders, institutions, organizations and individuals have in various ways spent large amounts of their resources to ensure that the objective of providing quality education is achieved. However, in most cases, the situation remains the same, if not worsened. This begs the question, do such leaders or institutions or bodies understand what constitutes quality education?
Just as a woman who doesn’t know the ingredients that make soup tasty may be given a huge amount of money, yet her husband may be tempted to sack her because of the nature of the soup she prepared. It is therefore necessary that the two key words, “quality” and “education” be defined.
Quality, as contained in Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary (2010), means the standard of something when it is compared to other things like it; how good or bad something is. Quality is used on every commodity, such as quality shoes, shirts, cars, etc. Any commodity can either be of high quality or low quality. Similarly, we have low quality and high-quality education.
Now, let us briefly define education before marrying the two words, for a better understanding of the concept of “quality education”. Today, education has become one of the greatest enterprises and has been defined in different ways by different people in different parts of the world and occupations.
A renowned scholar, R.S. Peters defined education as the transmission of what is worthwhile to those who are committed to it – be they children or adults. Another educator and philosopher, Brameld, saw education as “the greatest power man has not yet subdued”. Okpala in his lecture stressed that education is a process of tendering, nurturing and nursing the individual so as to make him a full-fledged member of the society to which he belongs.
Generally, education can be regarded as an activity which goes on in a society and its aims and methods depend on the nature of the society in which it operates. Education is sensitive to time, place and circumstances because it is constantly changing and adapting itself to new demands. It is important for us to understand the true meaning of quality and education before we can provide quality education to the populace. Let us work together to define and achieve quality education for all.
Ladies and gentlemen,
As we talk about quality education, it is important to understand what features must be present for education to truly be considered of high quality. Without these essential features, any claim of providing quality education may fall short of its intended impact.
Firstly, learners must be healthy, well-nourished, and ready to participate and learn. The support of families and communities is also crucial in creating an environment that fosters learning.
Secondly, the learning environment must be safe, protective, gender-sensitive, and adequately resourced. This includes having appropriate facilities for learning.
Thirdly, the content of education must be relevant and reflect the acquisition of basic skills such as literacy, numeracy, and life skills, as well as knowledge in areas such as gender, health, nutrition, HIV/AIDS prevention, and peace.
Fourthly, trained teachers must use child-centred teaching approaches in well-managed classrooms and schools, and skilful assessment to facilitate learning and reduce disparities.
Finally, education outcomes should encompass knowledge, skills, and attitudes that are linked to national goals for education and positive participation in society.
It is only when all of these essential features are present that we can truly claim to be providing quality education to our learners. As leaders and educators, we must prioritize the provision of these features in our education systems to ensure that our learners receive the best possible education.
As we discuss the concept of quality education, it is important to understand that quality learners make for quality education. The quality of a child's life before formal education greatly influences the kind of learners they turn out to be. Quality learners are those who are healthy, have positive early childhood experiences, and receive home support for learning.
Firstly, physically and psychologically healthy children learn faster. Adequate nutrition is critical for normal brain development in the early years. Early detection and intervention for disabilities can give children the best chances for healthy development. Prevention of infection, disease and injury prior to school enrollment is important to the early development of a quality learner. It is therefore necessary for parents, educators and stakeholders to ensure that children are healthy and protected in their early years.
Secondly, early childhood experience also contributes a lot to making learners quality learners. Studies in many countries have shown that children who participate in early intervention programs do better in primary school than those who do not benefit from formal early child programs. Effective and appropriate stimulation in a child’s early years influences the brain development necessary for emotional regulation, arousal and behavioral management. It is therefore important to ensure that children have access to quality early childhood education and care programs.
Lastly, home support or family support for learning plays a significant role in producing quality learners. Parents have a critical role to play in the upliftment of their children’s education. The level of education of parents has been picked as one of the great contributors to children’s ability to learn in school. Parental education not only influences parent-child interactions related to learning, but also affects parents’ income and need for help in the home or school. It is therefore important for parents to actively participate in their children's learning and provide support for their cognitive and psychosocial development in schools.
Quality learners are an integral part of quality education. Ensuring that children are healthy, have positive early childhood experiences, and receive home support for learning is critical to producing quality learners. Let us all work together to ensure that every child has access to quality education, which is essential for their future success.
The importance of quality content and processes in education. The curriculum should be designed in a way that addresses the problems in society and is relevant to students' lives. The quality of teaching is also crucial, and teacher education should be prioritized to ensure that teachers have a deep understanding of their subject matter and effective teaching methods. The methods of teaching should be child-centered, and students should be encouraged to practice and develop life skills, such as hygiene and vocational skills. The content should also emphasize literacy, peace education, and non-discrimination. Overall, the goal is to provide students with a well-rounded education that prepares them for success in all aspects of life.
To achieve quality education, it is essential to consider the processes involved in imparting knowledge. Teachers play a significant role in determining the quality of education, and their professional development is critical to ensuring that students learn and master the subject matter. Teacher training, both pre-service and in-service, should aim to develop teaching methods that focus on child-centered and active learning rather than passive memorization. Life skills and peace education should be emphasized, and the curriculum should be student-centered, non-discriminatory, and standard-based. Feedback mechanisms should be in place to monitor the effectiveness of teaching, and assessment practices should encourage higher-order thinking skills. In addition to teacher quality, working conditions are also crucial for achieving quality education. Poor remuneration, inadequate infrastructure, and class sizes, among other factors, can negatively impact the quality of education. The use of technology can help bridge educational disparities and improve the quality of education, particularly in areas with electricity and telephone lines.
To summarize, a quality learning environment requires attention to three main elements: the physical, psychosocial, and service delivery aspects. The physical element includes factors such as modern and well-equipped buildings, availability of instructional materials, classroom maintenance, and adequate library resources. Class size is also an important consideration. The psychosocial element concerns creating a welcoming and non-discriminatory environment, providing a safe and peaceful environment, and addressing gender-specific issues such as access to education for girls. Teacher behavior, including sexual harassment and violence towards students, can contribute to an unsafe learning environment. Non-violence is critical for learning, and conflict or war can have a significant impact on a child's mental health and ability to learn. Finally, service delivery is important for reducing absenteeism and inattention in school, particularly in relation to health services. Overall, a high-quality learning environment is critical for supporting successful learning outcomes.