defining quality in education

Topics: School, Education, High school Pages: 14 (4023 words) Published: November 22, 2013

Defining quality in education

Study paper

Riga, 2013

Table of Contents

1. Focus on quality
Although some of the international treaties, by specifying the need to provide education on human rights, reproductive health, sports andgender awareness, touched on educationalquality, they were generally silent about how well education systems could and should be expected to perform in meeting these objectives. This remained true as recently as 2000, when the United Nations Millennium Declaration’s commitment to achieve UPE by 2015 was directly and simply set out without explicit reference to quality. Thus, in placing the emphasis upon assuring access for all, these instruments mainly focused on the quantitative aspects of education policy. It seems highly likely, however, that the achievement of universal participation in education will be fundamentally dependent upon the quality of education available. For example, how well pupils are taught and how much they learn, can have a crucial impact on how long they stay in school and how regularly they attend. Furthermore, whether parents send their children to school at all is likely to depend on judgements they make about the quality of teaching and learning provided – upon whether attending school is worth the time and cost for their children and for themselves. The instrumental roles of schooling – helping individuals achieve their own economic and social and cultural objectives and helping society to be better protected, better served by its leaders and more equitable in important ways – will be strengthened if education is of higher quality. Schooling helps children develop creatively and emotionally and acquire the skills, knowledge, values and attitudes necessary for responsible, active and productive citizenship. How well education achieves these outcomes is important to those who use it. Accordingly, analysts and policy makers alike should also find the issue of quality difficult to ignore.

2. Children have a right to an education, a quality education. Quality education includes:
Learners who are healthy, well-nourished and ready to participate and learn, and supported in learning by their families and communities;
Environments that are healthy, safe, protective and gender-sensitive, and provide adequate resources and facilities;
Content that is reflected in relevant curricula and materials for the acquisition of basic skills, especially in the areas of literacy, numeracy and skills for life, and knowledge in such areas as gender, health, nutrition, HIV/AIDS prevention and peace.

Processes through which trained teachers use child-centred teaching approaches in well-managed classrooms and schools and skilful assessment to facilitate learning and reduce disparities.
Outcomes that encompass knowledge, skills and attitudes, and are linked to national goals for education and positive participation in society.1

Student-centred, non-discriminatory, standards-based curriculum structures. Research on educational practices and projections about future needs in society contribute to current understanding of the structure of school curriculum. In general, curriculum should emphasize deep rather than broad coverage of important areas of knowledge, authentic and contextualized problems of study, and problem-solving that stresses skills development as well as knowledge acquisition. Curriculum should also provide for individual differences, closely coordinate and selectively integrate subject matter, and focus on results or standards and targets for student learning (Glatthorn & Jailall, 2000). Curriculum structure should be gender-sensitive and inclusive of children with diverse abilities and backgrounds, and responsive to emerging issues such as HIV/AIDS and conflict resolution. In all content areas, curriculum should be based on clearly defined learning outcomes and these outcomes should be grade-level appropriate...

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