Three terms are vital for an effective coverage of the topic – these are – Local Government Authorities, Quality and Basic education. Let us look at each in turn, starting from Quality
- Quality involves standards
- It means fit for purpose
- It means meeting some basic criteria and norms,
- It means good and imbued with attributes that bring are associated functionality
- It means desirable and something of value
Quality does not simply happen, it does not fall from the sky – it is the result of human action.
- Quality requires planning, it requires work, it requires sweat, but that sweat produces sweet results
- Quality comes around when good and relevant processes, policies, strategies are combined with the tactics and activities
Basic Education – education in the first nine years of formal schooling,
- Foundation for all further education
- Covers primary, pre-primary, ECD, NFE, Alternative education such as IQE
- It is the base on which all other education efforts are built on.
- It is the foundation of all other education
- Important are for national development.
- It is also important for personal development – benefits include learning new things – (literacy and numeracy + emotional and social literacies), preparing the mind to learn new things and socializing.
- Completion of basic offers a whole array social benefits, these benefits including social, health, Nutrition, workforce development.
LGAE- this the level of administration closest the people. We have 774 of thee in Nigeria
In Nigeria, Basic education is the responsibility of the state and local government levels of administration.
Responsibility for the day to day management of Basic education rests however with Local governments.
Such responsibility includes the responsibility for quality in basic education Planning, Research, Implementation, Monitoring and Evaluation – PRIME
Good operational plans are realistic, participatory in their design, inclusive in their design, equity and disparity reduction in their intentions, processes and strategies. Their indicative budgets are realistic, competitive and build on established industry bencmarksThey are evidence based, context sensitive and implementable. They have reliable baselines and indicators for measuring progress
Quality in Basic Education results from the interaction four factors. They also have reliable and relevant midlines and end lines.
Quality in BASIC EDCATION
In any educational system quality results from te interaction of four variables – these are learner, instructional, socio-cultural and administrative factors – LISA. These factors interact and influence one another
Each of these factors is turn made up of several factors –
Learner factors are made up of the age, sex, socio-economic status, family background, achievement orientation, interest, intelligence, aptitude, attitude, character etc.
Some of these are beyond the capacity of LGAE authorities to determine. Some they can influence, some they can control. Which ones from the listing above are within the control and influence of the LGAE?
Instructional factors include teacher qualification, teacher certification, teacher conditions of employment, sex of teacher, age, experience, degree of motivation of teachers, curriculum, syllabus, books, school materials, school toilets, classroom size, desks, chairs, writing materials, lesson notes, length of lesson, type of shift in school – single or double shift? Can you list some more?
Which of these are within the control and influence of the LGAE?
Socio-cultural factors include cultural and social norm, gender norms, attitude to life. Attitude to education, cultural orientation, cultural beliefs etc. Are any if these under the direct influence of the LGEA.
Administrative factors include school buildings, school resources, blackboards, storage facilities, toilet facilities, school policies, regulations, procurement policies, Procurement practices, maintenance policies, employment and HR policies, teachers’ salaries, training policies, financing, school budgets, fund allocation, school census, school mapping, school plant size management, school design, classroom design, ventilation, lighting, school Inspection and support services, etc.
For an educational system to effective, efficient and successful, all the four factors of LISA must be in harmony. They must all agree. They must also support one another.
Let me give an example – if you provide enough budgets and use them transparently and in keeping with procurement policies, you will build more classroom; if you build more classrooms, your pupil classroom ratio will improve, if this improves, learners will be more comfortable, if learners are more comfortable, then more learning will likely take place
Another example, if teachers’ salaries are paid regularly, teachers will be more motivated, if teachers are more motivated, they will teach more effectively, if they teach more effectively, many more learners will learn.
Try your hands now with working out such relationships between instructional factors and learner factors. Do same for learner factors and admin factors. Ditto for socio-cultural factors and admin factors.
You will soon begin to see the links between these different elements. You will soon begin to appreciate that what you as LGAE can influence the quality of Basic Education in your LGA.
Remind yourself this – what is it that we want as accountable, professional and effective LGEA workers are the following
- More children are going through our basic education system and passing well
- Less and less repetition and wastage is noted in our schools
- More and more children move from one year to another and pass each grade
- More teachers are employed in our basic education system and teaching well and inculcating positive values
- More teachers in our LGA are being supported through regular and supportive inspection, monitoring and mentoring visits
- More and more teachers in our LGAE are supported through value adding In-Service Teacher training and continuous Professional Development
- More relevant teaching learning materials are availed to all learners in our school schools and the pupils are using these to learn, survive and thrive in and out and of school
- More resources are being spent in schools and our spending and funds use are rational, transparent, procedures compliant and achieve high returns on our investment
- More school building and school facilities are availed
- More gender equity is achieved in our schools because of good planning
- More girls are in school, completing school and passing well because our teachers have been taught to be gender friendly and responsive in their pedagogic practices
- More and more schools are gender friendly with toilet facilities and water and sanitation access
- Schools are more efficient because school planning is based on correct evidence and on very up to date statistics
Resources are in schools and are optimally being used and the LGA is achieving value for money through realistic spending and costing
Some of the above are the benefits of good planning and are some of the indicators of quality in Basic education. Your state need quality in Basic Education. And you can make it happen. Be the change. Remember the power of one!
Noel Ihebuzor, LC, FoL