“Improving the Quality of Education: Role of Teachers in Achieving Quality in Education in South Asia”
(December 26-28, 2011)
Quality of education is a relative and dynamic term varying from contexts to contexts and time to time. In a changing world driven by technological advancements, quality defined yesterday may not be valid today or tomorrow. Therefore, it is essential to discuss the concept and define and redefine quality of education with the passage of time. Quality of education is desirable even in countries where all the children are enrolled in schools for basic education because education has to allow all students to enhance their potentials in cognitive, psychomotor and affective domains. Most of the policy makers overlook qualitative aspects of education instead they focus on quantitative aspects of it. Links between qualitative aspects of education and society are strong and so is important teacher’s role in bridging the two in a way that students can play effective role in society. 2.
Quality education includes but not limited to: healthy learners; healthy environment; healthy content; healthy process; and healthy outcome. Since access to education has been a major problem in SAARC Region, quality of education provided is also emerging as a major challenge. High dropout rates in most of the member states also neutralise the effect of growing enrolment in primary education. Several policy initiatives have been taken in this regard but in the absence of well developed school-based process there is a considerable distance to go before achieving quality education for all. Additionally, different segments of societies undergo different educational experiences causing social stratification which is an unhealthy sign for the communities in the region. 3.
Improving quality of education has always been emphasized alongside education for all at national, regional and international forums such as the World Education Forum in Dakar held in 2000. Similarly various articles of the Convention of the Right of the Child highlight the right of everyone not only to get education but education of high quality. All the declarations by the international communities and goals set by United Nations regarding education also emphasize quality of education provided to the masses which can only be achieved through effective teaching and learning process, regularity and punctuality of students and their long stay in schools.
Teachers play crucial role in imparting quality of education. They are the role models and have greater impacts on the personality development of students. Education is a unique activity and the relationship between teachers and students can not be undermined for achieving quality of education. All that needed is to bring about educational reforms to allow well educated teachers to improve and develop their work in the classroom. 5.
Teacher quality mostly determines quality of education in an educational setting. Some of the teacher quality dimensions include: 1) Command on the subject matter; 2) Pedagogical skills; 3) Reflective attitude and critical thinking ability; 4) Professional commitment and dedication; 5) Administrative skills; 6) Effective communication skills; 7) Greater flexibility; and 8) Respect for pluralism and diversity. The purpose is not to confuse teachers with so many roles and responsibilities but to make them aware of the prerequisites which they need to effectively accomplish this moral activity. 6.
Knowledge of what has been in the field of quality education worldwide and regionally will provide a useful background for policy makers, midlevel functionaries and ultimately the teachers to improve the educational standards in the region. Providing only access to educational facility without quality will not suffice the need to get productive citizens and capable human...