QUALITY CONTROL AND QUALITY ASSURANCE AS TOOLS FOR QUALITY EDUCATION IN PUBLIC SECONDARY SCHOOLS IN NSUKKA EDUCATION ZONE

BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION & MANAGEMENT

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

 

Background of the Study

Education has been described as the bedrock of every society and tool for nation building.  For a nation to rise as a standard worthy enough for her to compete favorably in the league of nations, such a nation must ensure that high quality in her education is attained and sustained.  Quality of teachers’ input in the educational sector brings quality education which is an instrument highly indispensable in the transformation of individuals, values, beliefs and behaviors.  (Ehusani, 2002). Ehusani opined that it is a means of preserving societal cultural settings and acquisitions of skills that make members of the society useful to themselves and their society. The process of educating is to develop the cognitive, affective and psychomotor domain of individuals and groups in order to equip them with knowledge and skills necessary to survive and make society progress. Ijaiya (2009) agreed that trained or educated human resources constitute manpower and personnel that bring about national development. That is to say that the amount of educated citizens is equal to the amount of available quality staff that will contribute to a nation’s development. The quality of the staff in the school system presupposes the quality of the school output, that is, the human resources that will be available for the nation (Ochuba, 2009). Ochuba stressed that in the school system, some determinants of high quality education include goals of education, quality of the input as well as a well organized school system that ensure the articulation and effective  co-ordination of all aspect of school life.

of any educational system as an investment lies in its capabilities to continuously serve its customer which is the students, parents, employer, labour or the society better and remain relevant. Ijaiya (2009) said that educational planners are therefore faced with two main challenges: providing for quantity and for quality.

The concern for quantity and quality in the school system is that quantity through the admission of many citizens as possible to school within the shortest time allowed should be assessed to ensure quality (Adegbesan, 2010). Adegbesan maintained that quality cannot be achieved without quantity which serves as an assessment. According to Ajayi and Adegbesan (2007), Quality means a total of the features of a process, product or service on its performance in customers or clients perception of that performance. It is not just a feature of a finished product or services but involves a focus on internal processes and outputs which includes the reduction of wasted and the improvement or productivity. Fadokun (2005) defined quality by three interrelated and interdependent stands, Efficiency in the meeting of its goals, Relevance to human and environmental conditions and needs, something more that is the exploration of new ideas, the pursuit of excellence and encouragement of creativity.

In this study, quality means the assessment of resources put in education such as finance, teachers, facilities that will enhance quality output. It is in the aspect of qualitative growth that educational planners can lay claim to some success in restructuring of school system. Despite government effort to restructure public secondary schools in order to reduce wastage and ensure greater quality, a lot is still required from the school administrators to put our educational system in a high standard, that the improvement of teachers’ input.

The quality of education being provided for children especially in public secondary schools has been a source of grave concern for long time. The international institute of educational planning (IIEP) in their paper presented at the 1999 general meeting stated that the education was too bookish and irrelevant to African needs during the colonial period and after independence in 1960. The 1969 curriculum conference which culminated in the national policy on education and the 6-3-3-4 system of education was a reaction to that fact. The school curriculum was expected to be comprehensive to cater for varying talents of children. Yet, complaints about the low quality of education have continued (Jacob 2001). Jacob expressed concern about the declining level of literacy in some public secondary schools in south-east which can be traced to teaching employment given to unqualified applicants and admissions given to some unqualified candidates. Others are bad leadership in most public secondary schools and inadequate facilities that have endanger public secondary schools.

In the school system, the quality of teachers’ remains the determinant of it’s’ success. Ijayi (2001) see teachers’ input as the ability of the teacher to influence the learners through impacting them academically. The researcher stated that the teacher deliver to the students what should be given to them to be sound in academics. Ehindero (2004) opined that for a teacher to be effective in teaching, there must be a constant training to be embarked like workshops, seminars, conferences and symposium that will enable them be updated with new techniques and methods that make the teacher superior to the students and achieve a better output.

Teachers input in this context means the totality of what the teachers have injected on the students that enable them perform better in their examinations. The contributions of the teachers towards the development of students intellect makes it imperative for government to equip the teachers through constant training like conference, workshops that will enable them be effective in teaching processes.

Facilities determine the grading of schools to world class. Adegbesan (2010) see facilities as those components that through its availability, school will achieve its goals. These include laboratories, libraries, computers, seats, classrooms among others. The researcher further stated that with the availability of these, the academic standard will be achieved. Ikediugwu (2001) defined facilities in the school system as materials used in both teaching and learning in other to make teaching and learning attractive. The researcher opined that these comprise the seats, laboratory equipment, and classroom, information and communication technology (ICT) among others. The researcher further stated that the school cannot operate without the require facilities in place.

In this context, facilities are defined as all the components needed in school in other to achieve maximum objectives. This includes library, laboratories, chalkboard, seats, computers among others.

The depreciation that has endangered public schools is undoubtedly the major cause that led to the emergence of private schools (Olayemi 2001). Olayemi however noted that public schools which are schools owned and funded by state government, need to be closely monitored to stem the abuse which is now common among them. Ani (2002) Opined that public secondary schools are schools that are jointly managed by both the government and the community to ensure that the goal is achieved. Ani stated that the involvement of communities in management of schools were to ensure quality in the school system. This according to the researcher is to ensure that every community get equal educational opportunity. Weber’s seventh collegiate dictionary (2007), defined public secondary school as a school that is maintained at public expenses for the education of the children of a community or district and that constitutes a part of a system of free public education commonly including primary and secondary schools. Public secondary schools on the other hand according to Ogbonnaya (2009) are those secondary schools owned, managed and controlled by the state. The researcher opined that community owned secondary schools are regarded as public schools because it is run and managed by state government where the community falls.

One can deduce that public secondary school in this context is that secondary school under the finance and maintenance of government for the benefit of her citizens.

Result has not been achieved  in these schools for the fact that majority of the principals in school are not competent to administrative job and  put public secondary school at the backward. Apart from such comments, other indicators of declining quality and wastage in the education system include: high drop-out, failure rates, rampart examination malpractices, poor reading and writing skills among students at all levels. Evidence of wastage abounds among the teeming population of students who repeat General Certificate Examination (G C E) and Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) Examination every year. There is also evidence of client reaction as many parents take their children to private schools within or outside the country for those who can afford to. This is as a result of incompetent in some public secondary schools administrators.

Leadership is indispensable in any organization especially in the school system because of its far reaching effects on the accomplishment of organizational goals. School leadership according to Oboegbulem and Onwurah (2011)  means the process through which school head influence their followers to act for certain goals that represent the values, needs aspirations and expectations of both leaders and followers. The authors further stressed that those occupying leadership positions especially in schools such principals should be aware that their personality influences their leadership effective. Ikediugwu (2001) defined school leadership as a process in which intention influenced is exerted by the school heads over other people (the teachers and students) to structure and facilitates the activities and relationship in the group or organization. The author opined that in a school system, the principal is expected to posses the necessary leadership style which will enable him perform comfortably.

In this context, school leadership involves a process of influencing, directing, acquiring normative personal characteristics power and coordinating group activities to make individuals which are the (staff and students) in the schools system strive willingly towards the attainment of organizational goals.

In recent years, the trend in many countries have been restructuring of school system. Decentralization has received moral attention as a means of reducing wastage and ensuring greater quality. Quality control and quality assurance were introduced to ensure standardization and teachers review.

Quality control is a system for setting standards and taking appropriate action to deal with deviation outside permitted tolerance (Cole 1996). The researcher opined that the issue of quality control in the school system cannot be over-emphasized. It is one of the strategies for establishing quality assurance in the education system at all levels. Ojedele (2007) suggested that quality control should be of concern to the country in its drive towards technological developments. For this to be successfully carried out, there is need to examine the qualification of teachers, teachers by gender, the adequacy of the curriculum, availability of equipment in the required number as well as the proper use of the processes involved in the various skills to ensure that the finished products are of high standard. In relation to the above assertion, Arikewugo (2004) defined quality control in education to be judged by both its ability to enable the students perform well in standard examinations and relevance to the needs of the students, community and the society as a whole. The researcher finally concluded that quality serves as determination based on standard of excellence which a mark of inferiority is imposed or adduced and above which grades of superiority are defined. Similarly, Ajayi and Adegbesan (2007) stated that quality control is related to quality assurance, but its function in a rather proactive manner in the sense that quality control serves as series of operational techniques and activities used to fulfill that requirement are met, while quality assurance goes beyond because it extends the focus from outcomes outputs to the process which produces them.

Quality control in this study is a process of dictating and elimination of product that is not up to standard to enable standard product perform the assigned duties. Quality control practices in educational system is based essentially on school inspection, monitoring and control for obtaining data on policy implementation and for strategic planning and aid public accountability.

Quality assurance is related to accountability both of which are concerned with maximizing the effectiveness and efficiency of educational systems and services in relation to their contexts of their missions and their stated objectives. In the words of Ehindero (2004), quality assurance focused on the: learners entry behaviors, characteristics and attributes including some demographic factors that can inhibit or facilitate their learning, teachers entry qualification, values pedagogic stalls, professional preparedness, subject background, philosophical orientation, the teaching/learning processes including the structure of the curriculum and learning environment. Okeke (2008) said that quality assurance is regarded as a process and practice primarily concerned with conformance to mission specification and goal achievement within the publicly accepted standard of excellence. In such case, quality assurance is all these attitude, objectives, actions and procedures that through its existence and use, and together with quality control activities, ensure that appropriate academic standards are being maintained and enhanced in the public school system.

Quality assurance in this context is a programme for the systematic monitoring and evaluation of the various aspects of a project, service, or facility to ensure that standards of quality are being met. Quality assurance as the preventing of quality problems through planned and systematic activities will include the establishment of a good quality management system and the assessment of its adequacy, the audit of the operation of the system, and the review of the system itself. It is one of the most critical tasks facing every nation’s educational institutions, so that the societal demands for improved education service delivery would achieve the best learning outcomes that enhance the quality of life of the citizenry.

The realization of quality control and quality assurance practices in schools are through quality control and quality assurance mechanisms. Quality control and quality assurance mechanisms are those strategies adopted to ensure that goals are achieved. Those mechanisms include monitoring, evaluation, supervision, inspection and control.

Monitoring as one of the mechanisms of quality assurance refers to the process of collecting data at interval about ongoing projects or programme within the school system. The aim of this is to access and know the level of performance with a view of finding out how a set objectives are being met (Ehindero, 2001). Monitoring in this context is refers to the ability of those responsible to periodically access both the personnel and facilities to make sure that they are up to date in other to achieve the objective in the system. This includes the teachers, non-academic staff and the facilities.

Supervision is another mechanism of quality control and quality assurance which might involves inspection, but goes beyond inspection and includes attempt at bringing about improvement in the quality of instruction. It is a way of advising, grinding, refreshing, encouraging and stimulating staff (Ochuba 2002). To ensure quality control in schools through effective school supervision, the researcher stated that the primary responsibility of supervisor is to see that high standards are maintained and that schools are run in accordance with laid down regulations. By implications, the supervisors are seen to be fulfilling controlling, coordinating and communicating roles as guardian of educational standard.  Supervision is an important component of quality control strategy in education that would ensure maintenance of high standards in public schools. It could be deduced that quality assurance mechanism in education is the totality of the combination of such indispensable variables as quality teachers, quality instructional materials, good leadership and quality infrastructure like classrooms, seats, tables and chalkboard among others that make educational system attractive and livable.

Evaluation: this is a formal process carried out within a school setting. It is based on available data which are used to draw conclusions. It could be formative or summative. The aim of evaluation as a quality assurance mechanism is to see how the system can be assisted to improve on the present level of performance.

Inspection: this usually involves an assessment of available facilities and resources in an institution with a view to establishing how far a particular institution has met prescribed standards. It is more of an assessment rather than an improvement induced exercise.

Quality control and quality assurance practices in secondary school in Nsukka education zone are yet to rise to its peak. Consequently, in some public secondary schools in the area, the employments of unqualified teachers are still in the system which put their students below from competing with their private school counterparts. Invariably, parents have been complaining about their children inability to perform creditably well in their academics. Also important is the inadequate facilities in many schools in the zone which has characterized poor quality education in public secondary schools. Schools cannot boast to have enough classrooms, laboratory equipment. These have contributed to students’ poor performance in the internal and external examination. Based on the foregoing, the researcher was interested in investigating quality control and quality assurance.

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