1.1 Background of the Study
Education has been described as the bedrock of every society and tool for nation building. For a nation to rise as a standard worthy enough for her to compete favorably in the league of nations, such a nation must ensure that high quality in her education is attained and sustained. Quality of teachers’ input in the educational sector brings quality education which is an instrument highly indispensable in the transformation of individuals, values, beliefs and behaviors. (Ehusani, 2002). Ehusani opined that it is a means of preserving societal cultural settings and acquisitions of skills that make members of the society useful to themselves and their society. The process of educating is to develop the cognitive, affective and psychomotor domain of individuals and groups in order to equip them with knowledge and skills necessary to survive and make society progress. Ijaiya (2009) agreed that trained or educated human resources constitute manpower and personnel that bring about national development. That is to say that the amount of educated citizens is equal to the amount of available quality staff that will contribute to a nation’s development. The quality of the staff in the school system presupposes the quality of the school output, that is, the human resources that will be available for the nation (Ochuba, 2009). Ochuba stressed that in the school system, some determinants of high quality education include goals of education, quality of the input as well as a well-organized school system that ensure the articulation and effective co-ordination of all aspect of school life.
Quality assurance is related to accountability both of which are concerned with maximizing the effectiveness and efficiency of educational systems and services in relation to their contexts of their missions and their stated objectives. In the words of Ehindero (2004), quality assurance focused on the: learners entry behaviors, characteristics and attributes including some demographic factors that can inhibit or facilitate their learning, teachers entry qualification, values pedagogic stalls, professional preparedness, subject background, philosophical orientation, the teaching/learning processes including the structure of the curriculum and learning environment. Okeke (2008) said that quality assurance is regarded as a process and practice primarily concerned with conformance to mission specification and goal achievement within the publicly accepted standard of excellence. In such case, quality assurance is all these attitude, objectives, actions and procedures that through its existence and use, and together with quality control activities, ensure that appropriate academic standards are being maintained and enhanced in the public school system.
Quality assurance in this context is a programme for the systematic monitoring and evaluation of the various aspects of a project, service, or facility to ensure that standards of quality are being met. Quality assurance as the preventing of quality problems through planned and systematic activities will include the establishment of a good quality management system and the assessment of its adequacy, the audit of the operation of the system, and the review of the system itself. It is one of the most critical tasks facing every nation’s educational institutions, so that the societal demands for improved education service delivery would achieve the best learning outcomes that enhance the quality of life of the citizenry.
The realization of quality assurance practices in schools is through quality assurance mechanisms. Quality assurance mechanisms are those strategies adopted to ensure that goals are achieved. Those mechanisms include monitoring, evaluation, supervision, inspection and control.
Monitoring as one of the mechanisms of quality assurance refers to the process of collecting data at interval about ongoing projects or programme within the school system. The aim of this is to access and know the level of performance with a view of finding out how a set objectives are being met (Ehindero, 2001). Monitoring in this context is refers to the ability of those responsible to periodically access both the personnel and facilities to make sure that they are up to date in other to achieve the objective in the system. This includes the teachers, non-academic staff and the facilities.
Supervision is another mechanism of quality control and quality assurance which might involves inspection, but goes beyond inspection and includes attempt at bringing about improvement in the quality of instruction. It is a way of advising, grinding, refreshing, encouraging and stimulating staff (Ochuba 2002). To ensure quality control in schools through effective school supervision, the researcher stated that the primary responsibility of supervisor is to see that high standards are maintained and that schools are run in accordance with laid down regulations. By implications, the supervisors are seen to be fulfilling controlling, coordinating and communicating roles as guardian of educational standard. Supervision is an important component of quality control strategy in education that would ensure maintenance of high standards in public schools. It could be deduced that quality assurance mechanism in education is the totality of the combination of such indispensable variables as quality teachers, quality instructional materials, good leadership and quality infrastructure like classrooms, seats, tables and chalkboard among others that make educational system attractive and livable.
Evaluation: this is a formal process carried out within a school setting. It is based on available data which are used to draw conclusions. It could be formative or summative. The aim of evaluation as a quality assurance mechanism is to see how the system can be assisted to improve on the present level of performance.
Inspection: this usually involves an assessment of available facilities and resources in an institution with a view to establishing how far a particular institution has met prescribed standards. It is more of an assessment rather than an improvement induced exercise.
Quality assurance practices in public secondary schools in North-Central States, Nigeria are yet to rise to its peak. Consequently, in some public secondary schools in the area, the employments of unqualified teachers are still in the system which put their students below from competing with their private school counterparts. Invariably, parents have been complaining about their children inability to perform creditably well in their academics. Also important is the inadequate facilities in many schools in the zone which has characterized poor quality education in public secondary schools. Schools cannot boast to have enough classrooms, laboratory equipment. These have contributed to students’ poor performance in the internal and external examination. Based on the foregoing, the researcher was interested in investigating quality control and quality assurance as tools for quality education in public secondary schools in Nsukka education zone.
Secondary schools occupy a strategic position in every educational system since they provide a vital link between primary and tertiary institutions. According to the Federal Republic of Nigeria (2004), secondary schools are where children receive education after primary education and before entering into tertiary level of education. Lippit (2007) conceptualized secondary schools as educational institutions designed for the provision of full-time education to students who are within the age range of 11 to 18. According to Eubanks and Eubanks (2000), the average age of entrance into the secondary school is 10–11 year and expected year of graduation is 17–19 years. In this study, secondary schools are considered as educational institutions which aim at inculcating worthwhile knowledge, skills, attitudes, competencies and values to students. The broad goal of secondary school education in Nigeria is to prepare the individual for useful living within the society and for transition into tertiary education. To ensure that the role of education of its different levels are realized, it is necessary to engage in regular assessment of educational processes and practices Assessment is the process of measuring the level of performance of an individual or an organization in a particular area or field of endeavour (Edikpa, 2008).
This definition as it relates to this study, implies that assessment involves measuring the level of performance of secondary schools in the implementation of quality assurance practices. According to Mistra (2006), assessment is the action of evaluating, appraising, estimating, and/or calculating the value or worth of an event, activities or programme. Paulk (2011) conceptualized it as any activity that involve the use of empirical data to refine programmes and improve their performance. Thus, assessment is operationally defined in this study as the process of determining the extent to which secondary schools carry out their quality assurance practices in conformity with the established guidelines for their implementation.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The effectiveness of the school, and the level of students’ performance in both internal and external examinations, which is hinged among other things on the quality of teachers inputs need to be enhanced. Contrary, the students in the public secondary schools in North central States of Nigeria are not doing well in their exams and cannot compete with their private school counterparts. This is as a result of unqualified teachers, incompetence among school administrators in leadership and inadequate facilities which culminated to low quality output. The complexities in educational system in the use of modern techniques in the teaching and learning have made it imperative for teachers to attend workshops, seminars to improve their teaching method. This is the fact that students in public secondary schools in North Central States are not performing well due to low quality inputs from their teachers. Quality assurance and quality control which are tools of ensuring the employment of qualified teacher and the availability of facilities that are needed in ensuring quality education in North Central States have not yet be put in place.
The low quality output has constituted a problem for the fact that students are no more finding it easy to cope with their private school counterparts, and choose to transfer from public to private schools where qualified teachers, adequate facilities and proper management have been guaranteed.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The study sought to assess the extent of adherence to quality assurance practices in public secondary schools in North Central State of Nigeria. Specifically, the study sought to;
1. examine the contribution of quality assurance practices to school leadership in ensuring quality education in public secondary schools.
2. ascertain the extent to which quality assurance practices raise the standard of facilities in public secondary schools.
3. ascertain the extent to which quality assurance practices raise the standard of learning environment in public secondary schools.
1.4 Research Questions
1. What are the contributions of quality assurance practices to school leadership in ensuring quality education in public secondary schools?
2. To what extent do quality assurance practices raise the standard of facilities in public secondary schools?
3. To what extent does quality assurance practice raise the standard of learning environment in public secondary schools?
1.5 Research Hypotheses
Ho: Quality assurance practices have no contribution to school leadership in ensuring quality education in public secondary schools?
Hi: Quality assurance practices have contributed to school leadership in ensuring quality education in public secondary schools?
Ho: Quality assurance practices have not raise the standard of facilities in public secondary schools to a great extent.
Hi: Quality assurance practices have raised the standard of facilities in public secondary schools to a great extent.
1.6 Significance of the Study
In the practical significance, this study will be beneficial to students, teachers and principals of the schools. The finding of the study will also guide the students to be comfortable with adequate classrooms and modern equipment and facilities. The findings will boast the students’ morally and academically and stand to compete with their private counterparts in both internal and external examinations.
The finding of the study will guide the teachers who have been employed with low qualifications to upgrade their certificates. It will also enable them to embark on workshops, seminars and conferences where they will be upgraded to new techniques of teaching the students.
The findings will guide the principals in using modern techniques and equipment in planning and organizing school activities. Quality assurance was made for standardization; therefore, the necessary facilities that are needed will be put in place to ensure effective administration of schools.
This study will also be of immense benefit to other researchers who intend to know more on this study and can also be used by non-researchers to build more on their research work. This study contributes to knowledge and could serve as a guide for other study.
1.7 Scope/Limitations of the Study
This study is on immorality in churches will cover all forms of immoral activities that exist in churches today with a view of finding a lasting solution to the problem.
Limitations of study
1. Financial constraint: Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
2. Time constraint: The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
1.8 Definition of Terms
Quality: it’s the standard of something as measured against other things of a similar kind; the degree of excellence of something.
Practices: it is the actual application or use of an idea, belief, or method, as opposed to theories relating to it.
Quality Assurance: Quality Assurance in Education (EQA) is a process of monitoring, assessing, evaluating and reporting objectively based on agreed quality standards, all aspects of school life to ensure that acceptable standards are attained, maintained and improved upon continually.
Public Secondary School: Middle schools, or junior high schools, are schools that span grades 7, 8, and sometimes 5, 6 and 9, which straddle primary and secondary education. Upon arrival in middle school or junior high school, students begin to enroll in class schedules where they take classes from several teachers in a given day.
Assessment: In education, the term assessment refers to the wide variety of methods or tools that educators use to evaluate, measure, and document the academic readiness, learning progress, skill acquisition, or educational needs of students.
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