Quality education is valuable for the Pacific Islands’ nation building
C.D. Throsby and K. Gannicott’s work, the “Quality of education in the South Pacific”, reviewed many island economies of the South Pacific and highlighted general problems as “many teachers in the region received no teacher training, with the use of unqualified staff being especially prevalent in more remote locations where it is difficult to attract teachers.
“Some secondary teachers have no more secondary schooling than the pupils they teach. Problems of teacher quality are especially acute… There are problems of inadequate facilities and shortages of materials and equipment throughout the region…Better administration and management are essential components of improved quality of education in the Pacific, but it has to be appreciated that investments in this area take a long while both to implement and to show any return.”
Thus the issue of quality education is the theme of this article which as reviewed some prominent works to highlight the value of quality education and its value in educational planning.
The concept of quality education is related to development and pedagogical notions that helps the students to get educated and to become literate and productive citizen of a nation. This education is not based solely on examination results but it is related to the amount and acquisition of pedagogical and intellectual knowledge the child has acquired.
Many synonyms are used to explain quality, in terms of equity, efficiency, attributes, effectiveness and conditions, but quality education is defined as learning that strengthens the capacities of children by acquisition of useful skills, appropriate attributes and relevant knowledge which are for the betterment of the children (Bernard, 1999).
This concentrates on the child’ social, emotional, mental, physical, and cognitive development regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, socio-economic status; and prepares the child for survival in future with giving them overall development besides formative assessments.
This also offers outcomes that are required for individual, communities and societies to prosper for long term competence and viability in enhancing sustainability. However, quality education can be provided by the use of quality professional learning and development tools, creation of safe quality learning environment and making assured to provide best quality education to students with experience educational administrators and teachers. The healthy learners should be supported by trained teachers in protective, healthy, safe and conducive environment that are backed up by appropriate facilities, resources and curriculum, also supportive by providing skills of life and knowledge on health, gender, nutrition and ethics to lead a quality education.
Quality education is the process of bringing improvement in the learning strategies that will enhance the skills, knowledge and capabilities of the students for their future development and advancement. Quality education is facilitated by educational planners by giving professional development training to their teachers to raise their skills and knowledge so that they can provide quality education to their students using new techniques, maintaining safe learning environment in the classroom and assess to the best quality of teaching-learning process. The quality of education is improved in schools by bringing improvement and changes in the curriculum, content, educational assessments and teacher education. The quality of the education is generally low in the rural areas in comparison to the urban areas.
Quality education in Education Planning
MoE and planning commission does play a role in planning and implementing strategies and take measures that can be supportive in achieving quality education for every child by resource allocation, school mapping and micro planning for future sustainable development.
Quality education is supported by ensuring access to quality teachers; establishment of safe and supportive quality learning environment; and providing use of quality learning tools and professional development. Thus obtaining quality education is a base of improving people’s lives and sustainable development. Educational planners plays a pivotal role in devising ways and means to provide education that can be structure and inclusive, also enable the assessment of every student. In order to achieve quality education, one need to be mindful of individual differences, coordinate closely, integrate subject matter and focus on target oriented student learning.
This approach should be given importance in the strategic planning process through the proper usage of the resources, implementation of the appropriate school mapping and conducting micro-planning for the well-being of the students. Different indicators are used by the educators to determine the quality of education in schools such as class size, percentage of the qualified teachers, repetition rate, student enrollment rate, percentage of educational expenses, student-teacher ratio, student achievement ratio by looking into different classroom assessments and teacher turnover rate.
According to Jacques Delors (1996), quality education tool is based on four-fold principles which are as follows:
- Learning towards knowing where the students build their knowledge by combining the local elements with the external environmental elements.
- Learning towards doing where the students will take the opportunity to apply their skills and knowledge of what they learn in the classroom.
- Learning towards living together where equal opportunities should be given to each student with no discrimination.
- Leaning towards developing the capabilities and skills of the students to their full potential.
In 1990, the World Declaration on Education for All noted that the generally poor quality of education needed to be improved and recommended that education be made both universally available and more relevant.
Access to quality education is the right for every child, Dakar framework (2000) explained quality sets out the desirable characteristics of learners (healthy, motivated students), processes (competent teachers using active pedagogies), content (relevant curricula) and systems (good governance and equitable resource allocation).
The World Education Forum (2000) recommended “improve all aspects of the quality of education to achieve recognized and measurable learning outcomes for all – especially in literacy, numeracy and essential life skills”.
Everyone should have the right to receive quality education and achieve this will help Pacific nation to blossom in comparison to the so called high standard quality education of other nations of the world.
Disclaimer: Dr Sakul Kundra is an assistant professor in history at the College of Humanities and Education of the Fiji National University. Ph.D History from Jawaharlal Nehru University, M.Phil History, MA History, PG Diploma in Journalism, PG Diploma in Book Publication and PG Diploma in Education (Dec 2018). The views expressed is his own and not of this newspaper or the employer. For comments or suggestions, email. firstname.lastname@example.org.