Friday, December 31, 2010

Building Quality into an Education System

Education will be a key concern of many a parent as far as children are concerned but more than often parents make wrong decisions about education to the discouragement of the child and a possibilty of parent-child coflict at home. Very often the child is at the receiving end sometimes for the right reasons and sometimes not.

To the scourge of our educational system it may be pointed out that the education system per-se treats its receipients using a microscopic view of educaion in particular and life itself in general. That, we base our people decisions in Business organizations to a large extent to educational indices is fine but not completely incongruous. Well using such a format creates a system which might be working well but there is need to investigate if anything is amiss.

Many things are defanitely amiss if QUALITY is not maintained by an Educational enterprise. The fundamental mistake many time parents do with the process of education is to go with the brand of an institute- how foolhardy. Just because an institution is in existence for many many decades it must be good is the premise and this need not be true. Students simply drag on through these enterprises and get the education of experience and not the education of learning that they so eagerly desire. They might be better and skewed when they come out of the enterprise but have missed many things- they know: they feel: they comprehend and the dissappointment can last a generation.

How then can Quality be built into an educational process and what is quality? What is quality is largely what the student talks about the institute when he is out of it. What he talks depends on what he was looking for. But the index in all such situations is not the performing student but the student of an average kind who was not so good or not so bad but had crystal clear and lofty intentions from the institute and the question is Were they met! The average student is also called the reasonable individual and he is not highly motivated for anything but learning and is characterized by an above average attendance to the classes; good conduct and is in right company during his stay in the institute. The fact of the matter is that if an educational enterprise does not maintain and stand for quality it becomes a teaching shop and many a mediocre student will walk with laurels that he simply didnt deserve- he knows it very much to the possible dismay of the many who were and could have been the right choice. The system of education must always study the man it portrays to be its best and there could be nothing partisan or unequivocal.

No educational system anywhere in the world is of quality or strives to be so if it does not let students evaluate the faculty however erudite or qualified; I have seen serious confusion and mis direction on this front. The process of evaluation must be simple with possibility of one comment and the result says it all. The biggest mistake any educational institution however exalted does is not to have a semi-formal procedure for this purpose.The procedure can be dichotomous or trichotomous in its execution. Dichotomous means asking the student through a poll if the faculty is GOOD or BAD and adding a trichotomous would be to add an AVERAGE in between. This poll must be essentially conducted at the end of a session and not anytime in between the session. Student needs to study a faculty weeks together to get a right opinion. To prevent any form of manipulation in these procedures this test must be undertaken all of a sudden and with little or no prior intimation. Teaching and its various forms is the figure of an institute and it must be set right before anything else is attempted at. Whayt do we do with people who fail this test. Send and try the faculty at Administration and never ever let him in front of students. This rule must be followed as much as the situation permits.

The next step in the acievement of Quality is the so called Ground of the institute. Ground means the setting. The biggest problem in the setting of institutes is Co-education because it largely veers the imagination of students into not so imminent kind. If we could do away with co-education many of the ill on the floor of educational enterprises can be done away with. But the demand for education is so high such an approach would be far from practical and a co-educational institute must form the right kind of ground rules in the way the educational enterprise functions. For example full fledged uniform for men and women and at the same time strict rules regarding acculturisation and seating in the classes.

To make the ground well tuned the educational institute must be designed with some professional principles. It must have a garden and all the paraphrenalia that goes with education well placed and oriented. If proper planning is not done on this front adhocism will result which in turn creates confusion in the human populace. With appropriate effort a person must be able to move from one entity in the institute to another.

To make the ground progressive and give students the right verve in life all educational establishments must have a vision ; mission and operational statements. Nothing motivates any human being better than leadership. With a proper V M O statements the organization becomes well oriented and motivating. I have personally studied the vision and mission statements of various institutes and find them wanting in their fundamental content and context. These statements must have the capacity to fundamentally lead the student. They should be by the student; for the student and of the student.

The ground of an institute must be aligned vis-a-vis evaluation procedures. How to evaluate students ? It is in this context that a major confusion exhibits itself. Note that this question can best be answered by figure of the institute namely the teaching. If a faculty does not teach to the satisfaction of the student his evaluation is also likely to be erroneous. Assuming that the academician is doing a well informed job he must be given the autonomy of choosing his own methods of student evaluation and this procedure should not be questioned by administrative authorities by and large. The procedure must not only be fair but also must have subjective and objective content.
There is no doubt that the ground of an educational institute is better strengthened by high qualification and experience profile of its various staff and also the correct creation of organizational structures and designations. It is a collosal mistake if faculty are promoted solely based on qualifications and it must be a judicious combination of qualification, experience and the ability to teach. Acadamecians must concentrate on obtaining higher qualifications largely through a non-time bound procedure than strictly from a time bound one. But the greatest hindrance in creation of a good ground is the promotion of faculty based on academic qualifications alone to the exclusion of many other skills. This creates a wooden and non flexible structure to the disadvantage of the basic activity that builds spirit into the institution namely the teaching process. The economic heads of institutions where ever feasible must take multiple indices into account in their compensation procedures; age being one of them and so also the ability to teach and the academic and experiential components. Faculty must attend conferences too during the course of the year to get inputs on upcomig sectors and also the systems and procedures adopted by other institutes. I beleive at the end of the day any professor who is consistently performing as a teacher should never be designated and treated as anything below a Assistant Professor if not slightly more and this is the worst cut of all to the process of education and its stake holders.
The ground of an institute is propped by better IT infrastructure with control on its use and so is the high behavioral standards for all ; namely the students staff and support staff.
Together I think the world must look for creating the right kind of educational set-ups and systems for the many generations who would invariably embark upon the education process and remember as I read some where Education is for life and not just a passport to some kind of living.

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