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Quality: An Assurance for Reliable Education What does quality mean in the context of education?

Many definitions of quality in education exist, testifying to the complexity and multifaceted nature of the concept. The terms efficiency, effectiveness, equity and quality have often been used synonymously Quality of education is ensures the abilities of assimilating the knowledge in the area of educational needs and the implementation of this knowledge to creating mechanisms allowing the fulfilment of expectations of customers and educational services. In spite of progress in responding to the demand for increased school access, developing more effective national planning and policy mechanisms, and implementing massive training programs for teachers and administrators, dissatisfaction persists with the capability of education systems to support national economic and social aspirations. To some extent, plans and policies calling for higher-quality schooling now supplement or even replace earlier attention to such priorities as education expansion and school access. It would seem that a consensus is forming that immediate attention of policymakers and involved international agencies should be focused on designing and implementing policies, programs, and actions to improve education quality. Translating the growing consensus into viable policies is a major challenge. Though the rising incidence of joblessness wasnt a major issue in the recently concluded general election, there is growing concern within the ivory towers of academia about the widening mismatch between the demands of Indian industry which is experiencing an acute shortage of skilled personnel and the crude, unfinished human resources developed by the nations rapidly obsolescing higher education system. With increasing cases number of jobless graduates concerned authorities are expected to demonstrate: accountability; transparency; continuous improvement; and Ownership. No wonder droves of students are driven to technical institutes, which offer crash courses in computers and multimedia. It is high time education authorities restructured outdated undergraduate syllabuses to the needs of a modern knowledge-based society. Universities and their curriculums need to be overhauled in the larger interest of producing students who are able to meet the rising expectations of industry and the economy by becoming productive quickly. The quality of education delivered in various institutions is also a very big question.

The Concept of Reason should be introduced:

Responsibility
y y To create binding ties of collective identity that will favour vulnerable populations. To encourage education institutions to train professionals who work with citizenship; to generate academic, social, cultural, economic and scientific values; to favour development and innovation; and to form ideas on how to solve problems such as poverty and inequality

Evaluation
y Increasingly, social service providers, programme administrators and legislators use evaluation research in order to consider the effectiveness of new and existing programmes, procedures and/or interventions at producing some form of outcome or change. The findings from evaluations focus on the strengths and weaknesses of various aspects of innovations as well of their overall outcome. This information is, in turn, used to consider how such interventions might be modified, enhanced or even eliminated in the effort to provide a better service, fulfil a particular need or meet a specific challenge.

Accountability and Assurance


y Quality assurance of university academic programs has been adopted around the world and is widely recognized as a vital component of every viable educational system. Considerable international experimentation in the development of quality assurance processes, along with increasing pressure for greater public accountability, has raised the bar for articulating Degree Level Expectations and learning outcomes in postsecondary education. Quality assurance balances the need for accountability with the need to encourage normal curricular evolution. In particular, if quality assurance measures become too onerous or restrictive, they can become impediments rather than facilitators of continuous program improvements.

Sustainability
y The style of teaching and content needs to change in India, a good education system is fundamental to a nation that wants to be economically and otherwise independent. In my view, India still has a long way to go to reach this goal. Much has been spoken and written of Indias demographic dividend. With almost 40% of the population around 500 million people under the age of 15, it is estimated that around 25% of the global workforce will be Indian by 2030. What this means is that the quality of education that young Indian children are receiving today is going to impact us all in the near future. But even as the government and private institutions are building more

schools, the quality of instruction is falling sharply. Teacher training needs a great deal of work and effort. Here, it is heartening to see the number of NGOs that are rushing to fill this gap but most of these efforts are still confined to urban areas, and especially large metropolitan cities. We need high-quality instruction to produce highquality students capable of playing active roles in a rapidly growing country.

Open-mindedness
Questions shouldnt be left unanswered, good thinking is necessary for growth, because good thinking involves competition among possibilities, evidence, and values, it is almost always quantitative, in the sense of weighing things against each other. When we pit safety against price, we must ask how much safety for how much price, and how much we care about each. Sometimes it may help to make the quantitative aspects explicit. Open-mindedness would eventually lead to:

1. Search is sufficiently thorough for the question; 2. Search and inference are fair to all possibilities under consideration; and 3. Confidence is appropriate to the amount of search that has been done and the quality of the inferences made. People often depart from good thinking by: 1. searching too little when the issue is important (or too much when it is unimportant); 2. searching and making inferences in a way that favours possibilities that are already strong or that the thinker wishes were adopted; 3. having high confidence when this is not warranted by the search and inference that have been done

Neutral Assessment of SkillsAssessment free from pre-conceived notion is needed for improvement

opportunities for the academic community to engage in self-reflection of its learning goals, to determine the degree to which these goals correspond to student and societal needs, and to evaluate if students activities, products, or performances coincide with the academic communitys expectations; offers information to students about the knowledge, skills, and other attributes they can expect to possess after successfully completing coursework and academic programs. establishes ways for academic units to understand the dimensions of student learning when seeking to improve student achievement and the educational process

y y

According to Quality Management in Education (QMIE), published by Her Majestys Inspectorate of Education (HMIE,UK) in 2000, set out a framework for self-evaluation of the performance of education authorities in Scotland. The framework is based on six high-level questions which can be answered by evaluating the quality of education systematically across ten Key Areas. What key outcomes have we achieved? y Key Area 1. Key performance outcomes How well do we meet the needs of our stakeholders? y Key Area 2. Impact on service users y Key Area 3. Impact on staff y Key Area 4. Impact on the community Evaluations of quantitative and qualitative data that demonstrate the extent How good is our delivery of education processes? y Key Area 5. Delivery of education processes How good is our management? y Key Area 6. Policy development and planning y Range and appropriateness of policies Coherence with council-wide policy Links to vision, values and aims Managing, evaluating and updating policies

Key Area 7. Management and support of staff

Identifying and meeting human resource needs Recruitment, appointment and induction procedures Care and welfare Equality and fairness in recruitment and promotion Recognition y Key Area 8. Partnerships and resources How good is our leadership? y Key Area 9. Leadership What is our capacity for improvement? y Key Area 10. Capacity for improvement

Requirement of a Common Governing Council for all educational institutions udgement of an organisations capacity for improvement takes into account the evaluations arrived at in Key Areas 1-9, with particular reference to the quality of the leadership and management of the council and overall impact and outcomes. The councils focus on improvement and its track record in bringing about improvement are particularly important, as is the accuracy of its self-evaluation, which is used as the basis for planned improvements. The judgement also takes into account any significant aspects of the authority's internal or external context, for example, impending retirements of senior staff, plans to restructure or significant changes in funding. The judgement reviews the past, and looks forward to the future. Judgements of a councils capacity for improvement could be expressed in terms of a degree of confidence that it has the capacity to continue to improve. The judgement may be that the evaluators are confident that the council has the capacity to continue to improve. This judgement would be made when highly effective leadership and management have sustained high levels of quality and brought about major improvements to outcomes and impact on earners and other stakeholders. Evidence at the time would indicate that these improvements were sustainable and that improvement would continue. No significant changes in the internal or external context of the organisation would be apparent or predicted at the time the judgement was made. When there are reservations about one or more of these aspects, the use of other terminology would be more appropriate. For example, those carrying out the evaluation might have only limited confidence, or indeed, no confidence, that the council has the capacity to continue to improve. It would be important for evaluators to note the nature of their reservations, for example, by pointing to specific aspects of the councils work or its current or future context. The service may make a significant contribution to thinking and practice within a particular area of work. For example, staff may be actively involved in working groups, lead national initiatives and share innovative practice with others. Although some of the international treaties, by specifying the need to provide education on human rights, reproductive health, sports and gender awareness, touched on educational quality, they were

Quality in the humanist Tradition


y Standardized, prescribed, externally defined or controlled curricula are rejected. They are seen as undermining the possibilities for learners to construct their own meanings and for educational programmes to remain responsive to individual learners circumstances and needs. The role of assessment is to give learners information and feedback about the quality of their individual learning. It is integral to the learning process. Self-assessment and peer assessment are welcomed as ways of developing deeper awareness of learning. The teachers role is more that of facilitator than instructor. Social constructivism, while accepting these tenets, emphasizes learning as a process of social practice rather than the result of individual intervention.

generally silent about how well education systems could and should be expected to perform in meeting these objectives.

Quality for Whom and What? Rights, equity and relevance Although opinions about quality in education are by no means unified, at the level of international debate and action three principles tend to be broadly shared. They can be summarized as the need for more relevance, for greater equity of access and outcome and for proper observance of individual rights. In much current international thinking, these principles guide and inform educational content and processes and represent more general social goals to which education itself should contribute. Of these, the question of rights is at the apex. Although, as indicated earlier, most human rights legislation focuses upon access to education and is comparatively silent about its quality As with all aspects of development, a balance should be struck between ensuring the relevance of education to the socio-cultural realities of learners, to their aspirations, and to the wellbeing of the nation. Industries require conceptual skills, analytical skills, verbal skills, interpersonal skills and technical skills. Enhancing employability through imparting required skills has become the imperative of the higher education system. Further in association with industry, an industry internship programme should be made mandatory so that the graduates can understand the industry atmosphere and the industries can identify the talents and skills in students and employ them when opportunities arise. The future of industry depends on the availability of trained graduates not only for its day-today working but also for innovative approaches on which the growth of industry finally depends. Improving of skills and capabilities as related to the requirements of the society is the basic task of universities. Skills which are more in demand should be provided by our universities, on a priority basis. According to a NASSCOM report, each year over 3 million graduates and post-graduates are added to the Indian workforce. Of these, only 25 percent of technical graduates and 10-15 percent of regular graduates are considered employable by the industry. What about the rest 75 percent of graduates? What makes them unemployable? According to Kapil Deorukhkar, Regional Manager at IndiaSkills, a skills training company, "Nearly 85 percent of graduates are not employable, while 75 percent of engineering graduates are not employable." Some of the reasons cited for the same are lack of focus and definite career path among graduates, undue emphasis on academic excellence, lack of industry-relevant curriculum and the like.

Why focus on quality?

Although some of the international treaties, by specifying the need to provide education on human rights, reproductive health, sports and gender awareness, touched on educational quality,2 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 Declarations commitment to achieve 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.3 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. More fundamentally, education is a set of processes and outcomes that are defined qualitatively. The quantity of children who participate is by definition a secondary consideration: merely filling spaces called schools with children would not address even quantitative objectives if no real education occurred. Thus, the number of years of school is a practically useful but conceptually dubious proxy for the processes that take place there and the outcomes that result. In that sense, it could be judged unfortunate that the quantitative aspects of education have become the main focus of attention in recent years for policy makers (and many quantitatively inclined social scientists). It should come as no surprise, therefore, that the two most recent United Nations international conference declarations focusing on education gave some importance to its qualitative dimension. Need for skilled manpower In many countries, building a workforce with higher order skills is an important part of improving the climate for investment, acquiring a competitive edge and generally maintaining an engine of growth (World Development Report, 2007). Higher education enhances earnings of the individuals and contributes to economic development and makes a significant contribution to reduction in absolute as well as relative poverty. A recent survey among our students has shown that 75 per cent of our students are studying for employment (that is learning is for earning). More than 50 per cent of our GDP is supported by service sectors and about 28 per cent is through the manufacturing sector. The Mc Kinsey Global Institute predicts that during 2008, about 160 million jobs in service are likely to be outsourced and hence India stands to have a better opportunity in getting a lions share in that opportunity, since we are the global leaders in IT and BPO outsourcing. The report also says that India needs a 2.3- million-strong IT and BPO workforce in the next two years. The same report has also cautioned that India will confront a potential shortage of skilled workers in IT and BPO industries.

According to an Evaluation Survey Report, the KPO sector will create 2,50,000 jobs by 2010 and for every job created in the offshore financial sector, that will result in creation of an additional two - three jobs in other sector. A report on global skills for graduates in financial services (Business Standard, June 6, 2007) also says 58 per cent of our financial service organizations are facing difficulties in recruiting people with right set of skills. At present only 25 per cent of our technical graduates and 10 15 per cent of general graduates are suitable for employment. In a knowledge-based economy and knowledge-based society only those with the highest skills can advance and progress. To meet the challenges of globalization and market demand, the emphasis of higher education must be a skilled manpower development. Recent research suggests that the increase in opportunities for the skilled graduates have substantially increased the value of education further. Soft Skill Programmes Though the employers come up with plenty of openings, the number of graduates who will have required qualifications and skills in terms of analytical, verbal and interpersonal skills will be only 4 per cent. The remaining 96 per cent of our graduates are unemployable. Such a high percentage of unemployable graduates awakened us at the university to think about providing the set of required skills to the graduates. University-industry collaboration One of the serious complaints in India has been that the higher education sector and the industrial sector have worked in isolation from each other. This isolation has to end and the two sectors need to come together in their own interest and in the interest of the nation. Our universities must build relationships with industry and collaborate with them in designing the requisite curriculum for supplying employable graduates in the industry and business organizations.

Conclusion For India to realise its full potential its is slated to be the third largest economy in the world its population of 1.2 billion people, two-thirds of which lives in rural areas, needs to be suitably educated in order to be productive members of the workforce. The growing economy now faces shortage of competent manpower. There is a mismatch between required qualifications and competencies. The achievements in terms of academic qualifications do not show up in terms of competencies in the work area. There is a big difference between the actual learning outcomes and the required learning outcomes.

The growing concern now is the ever increasing number of unemployable graduates. Hence, the reform in the higher education system must necessarily provide the skilled graduates with suitable value additions in order to meet the demands of the growing economy. The higher education sector is characterized by diversity; course and student profiles are different and universities aim to develop students with distinct characteristics or attributes. Universities are required to work in developing employability skills in their students by providing academic staff with relevant support and resources, integrating these skills into curriculum and course design, providing students with work placements and exposure to professional settings and providing advice and guidance through career services. The following are few suggestions: The employability skills in all university curriculum are to be explicitly identified; The teaching and assessment of employability skills are to be enhanced; Provide funding for universities to systematically review their work on developing employability skills. If the strategies related to the programmes for the development of employability skills are formulated and monitored religiously. y y y

References
Total Quality Management Applied to Schools -Fred C. Lunenburg Sam Houston State University Deming, W. E. (1988). Out of the crisis. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Gardner, H. (1993). Frames of mind: The theory of multiple intelligences. New York, NY: Basic Books. Popham, W. J. (2010a). Educational assessment: What school leaders need to understand. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press. Rao, K.N. 1994. Evaluation of an Andhra Pradesh Primary Education Project (APPEP) Training Course: A Case Study. Hyderabad: British Council Division. Agarwal, S., and Harding, D. 1997a. Educational Quality in Asia: An Examination of Trends, Policies and Emerging Priorities . A Technical Working Paper prepared for ADB.