Quality in education institutions - who defines, who measures

My colleague was furious. He was swearing at the school representative over his cell phone. As I was looking at his actions with mild amusement, he slammed his phone on the work desk and kept muttering.

He saw I was looking at him, and told me, “The idiots at my kids’ school are saying they won’t be able to provide school bus service for today evening.” He paused for a moment and continued, “Now I am supposed to find someone to pick my child up in the 11th hour. And these guys say they are quality education service providers.”

The guy was fuming. It must be a serious issue. He went on, ranting at the school authorities. “It’s not like these people provide awesome education either.”

This incident forced me to think.

Do all these issues with school bus, canteens, library, etc count as part of an education institution’s quality or is it just the standard of the education provided that is counted as the criterion?

My mind, instead of answering this question, gave rise to several new questions, the most important being –

“who defines and sets the criteria for an education institution’s quality benchmark?”

Yes, obviously there are authorities who provide rankings for schools so that it is easy for parents to choose the better equipped or higher quality schools.

But if a school wanted to improve its quality, it won’t happen overnight. There should be proper planning with dedicated resources who work to improve the school’s standard.

So, what do you mean when you say standard or quality?

We can basically divide quality aspects into two –

(i)   Educational aspects –

  • The quality of teaching
  • Laboratory facilities
  • Language excellence
  • Emphasis on value education
  • Language excellence

(ii)  Non-educational aspects

  • Communication with parents
  • Cleanliness
  • Customer service
  • Safety & security
  • Recreational/extracurricular facilities
  • Working conditions and management of faculty

These would be the basic aspects to consider if an institution were to improve its quality by itself.

But who defines, judges and ensures the quality of education in schools?

Over the years, efforts have been made to answer this question, but in vain. To make judgments about the educational quality on students, educational program evaluations, students’ achievement tests, competency tests, teachers’ performance assessment etc can be done. However, an effective machinery to judge and define the quality standards in Indian schools is non-existent!

It is the duty of Human Resource Department to define roles for the existing responsibilities. The HR department should set who defines and who measures quality in an institution. But curiously, the HR department itself is auspicious by their absence in Indian schools.

Does it matter?

Does it really matter if Institutions strive for internal quality improvement or not? Most certainly, yes!

Unless a school strives to improve itself in both educational and non-educational factors, the reputation of the school gets affected gradually. And that is never a good thing in the hugely competitive education sector.

The absence of HR department in Indian schools might be attributed to it being viewed as an additional expense. But, is there an alternative method that can provide the benefits of an HR department while being pocket-friendly?

Technology might have an answer. Subscribe to our newsletter and stay tuned for further discussions.

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