16 June 2012

Quality in K-12 schools

Poverty at home and lack of resources in school are considered to be the most predominant causes of poor performance of children at the global level. This being just the tip of the iceberg, there are many other causes (not usually noticed outside school systems) such as quantity driven curriculum with scant respect for quality, teachers' workload (which leaves them with  no free time for lesson planning, marking children's work etc. during school hours) and lack of accountability.

I think that accountability is not taken  seriously in many school systems in our country. If a teacher teaches wrongly or doesn't contribute positively to teaching learning, the school principal is expected, logically speaking, to mend the problem. But sometimes, school managements ask their principals to ignore such problems. (I have experienced this oddity myself). Principals should be allowed to be strict (without being harsh) when handling issues related to teachers who are indifferent or display misbehaviour.

We can always learn from authentic educational research done in similar school systems in other countries. Eversince I joined as Physics master at a local school where I began my career nearly 35 years back, I always tried to implement good practices from other countries in my work.

As education professionals, we know that exams are one of the main causes of stress in children and that it is compounded by parental obsession for `ranks' and `marks' in Board Exams. Is CBSE's recent move to abolish annual exams upto standard 9 a viable solution? The answer lies to some extent in an article which I read recently. I hope our K-12 education policy makers take such  articles seriously and work out solutions so that all children get quality education at least to some extent toward the objectives of the The Dakar Framework

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About Me

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Chennai, Tamilnadu, India
I am a retired K-12 Education Management Professional. 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.