23 December 2009

Quality Accreditation in Schools

I happened to read a newspaper report “Quality Council of India introduces accreditation standard for schools” in THE HINDU dated 22 December 2009.  I gather that one school in Chennai has gained accreditation of the QCI and many others schools would follow.

It is good that some agency has come forward to monitor and evaluate quality standards in our schools.  But then, how effective is this going to be?  Is it just one more fancy idea that is going to catch up with increasing number of schools in an increasingly market oriented consumer society?  Are we talking about quality without adequately analysing the many issues involved in school education?

Although there have been many education commissions which have given guidelines to improve quality of education imparted in our schools here in India, nothing significant seems to have taken place in this direction.

I think that the most important ingradient of any quality oriented school system is an appropriate curriculum, which is by and large reflected in teaching resources used in classrooms.  These resources are developed by textbook publishers and multimedia companies, based on recommendations and draft syllabi that come from syllabus boards. I don’t think that the status quo will really improve unless radical changes are brought in at syllabus development and textbook (and digital media) production levels even though schools may be interested to join the quality bandwagon just because it is a new concept.  Most schools in India function on illusory concepts of what quality in education really means.  However there a few Government schools and NGO run schools that seem to function very effectively without any `elitist' aspirations. I had the pleasure of working in PREPARE (Green Valley Schools), an NGO that works from Chennai, with quailty objectives.  Although exceptionally effective systems do function, these are just a drop in the ocean.

[Just before writing this post, I tried to read the school quality standards as identified by the QCI by accessing http://www.qcin.org/, their official website. But to my disappointment, I could not get to the details of their “National Accreditation Board for Education and Training” in spite of using a clicking option provided in their homepage. I experienced same result when I tried to click their “Feedback” option at the right hand top corner of the website. I tried to access other websites, to confirm whether my computer system and Internet connection were okay and confirmed that they were okay. It took nearly 10 minutes to navigate to other pages of the QCI website before accessing the NABET].

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About Me

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Chennai, Tamilnadu, India
I am a K-12 Education Management Professional turned freelance Education writer. I have worked at different levels in K-12 school systems, textbook publishing, elearning and Education NGOs. I have held memberships in The Association for Science Education (UK), American Association of Physics Teachers and The Malaysian Institute of Physics. I hold a 1st class B Sc Degree in Physics followed by B Ed [English and Physical Science] and M A [Childcare and Education] degrees. My published works include 59 articles in teacher development magazines in India and the US and a book entitled `Creative Classrooms and Child Friendly Schools' (listed in Amazon). This book is almost an anecdotal account of my professional experience in six countries (including Cambodia where I worked as Technical Adviser to the Ministry of Education, Youth And Sports). I served as mentor in the Certificate of Teaching Mastery Program offered by Teachers Without Borders.