Quality Assurance in Teacher Education

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TEACHER EDUCATION : QUALITY ASSURANCE AND ITS INDICATORS

‘Quality’ became very common word nowadays. What actually quality means. It is very familiar term but its meanings and uses vary widely. In general term quality is the position of a ‘product’ or a ‘process’ attribute on good –bad scale. It is often associated or linked with defects and deficiencies in products or process.

Definitions

“Quality is the capability of products or services to knowingly satisfy those preconceived composite wants of the user(s) that are intelligently related to the characteristics of performance, and do not cause major overt or covert reactions or actions by other people.” Johnson –1987

“Fitness of use.” Juran –1974

“Conformance to requirements.” Crosby – 1984

From the above concepts of quality when two aspects combined together may help in understanding the concept in an optimum way.

Thus quality can be defined as the totality of features and characteristics of a product or service that bear on its ability to satisfy stated or implied needs. Alexander Astin (1993) pointed out in the discussion on quality in education system,

You – cannot – define – it – but – you – know – it – when – you – see – it.

According to him there are four views on excellence in quality higher education-

Educational institutions have a tendency to measure their quality in terms of students’ academic achievement. The assumption is that if the results of an institution are improving, its quality must be good. Besides, academic achievement is not a competent measure of educational quality since it depends on many other factors such as students innate intelligence, study habits, learning styles, motivation, parental socio-economic status and home environment. Hence we have to identify relevant indicators of educational quality and measure it in a reliable and valid manner.

In quality management system total quality management starts with-

Quality inspection

This is very initial step and through this, defects are observed and communicated for quality improvement.

Quality improvement

It is the commitment and approach used to continuously improve every process in every part of an organization. Quality improvement is long term approach, established through incremental steps. Quality improvement is a way of working that facilitates change and influences teaching and learning by quality providing the stimulus and support for further assurance of quality.

Quality Assurance

Once quality is assured at reasonable level it needs to be controlled from deviations to ensure quality management. In the TQM the goods or services are expected to be with zero defects and when require further modification. Due to social or professional reasons the same may be communicated at the appropriate level for compliance. Thus quality assurance acts a backbone in the total system of quality management and hence requires more concern.

The subject of quality assurance has become a important word in the sphere of higher education. Among higher education teacher education occupies central stage due to its being the caretaker of macro educational system. The teacher education has assign the task of producing the teachers for primary and secondary education and also build solid foundation of the system.Due to its role and significance, the teacher education has vast amount of growth during last decade. Education of teachers is not only responsible for improvement of school education but also for preparing competent, committed and professionally well qualified teachers who can meet the demands of a system. A teacher’s content knowledge, verbal skills or enthusiasm for learning necessarily constitutes high mark for being a high quality teacher. Viewed in this perspective, a high quality teacher must imbibe the four pillars of education as mentioned in the Jacques Delor’s report, “Learning the Treasure Within” (1996). These four pillars of education are,

Learning to know

The teachers must have an urge for learning to learn. It can be achieved by combining a sufficiently broad general knowledge with the opportunity to work in depth on a small number of subjects.

*Learning to do

Emphasizes acquisition not only of an occupational skill but also of the competence to deal with many situations and work in teams.

*Learning to live together

Requires development of an understanding of other people and an appreciation of interdependence in a sprit of respect for the values of pluralism, mutual understanding and peace.

*Learning to be

Will support the development of one’s personality and ability to act with greater autonomy, judgement and personal responsibility. Thus these four pillars are consider as a founding pillars in the preparation of high quality teacher.

Also high quality teacher must posses three C’s,

*Competence

It is concerned with identifying the basic competencies in the teacher which will have the potential and promise for ensuring results and delivering the goods.

*Commitment

It will imply lot of self-governance and self-initiative of the teacher.

*Confidence

The teacher perceives instrumentality and their utilization for improving the day-to-day situation.

However with the expansion of teacher education institutes the assurance of quality has been challenged which is the basic requirement in knowledge society. Due emergence of knowledge society the need of quality assurance has further multiplied its intensity. The application of quality assurance in industrial sector helps us designing quality assurance strategies for teacher education. i) Maintain ii) Enhancing iii) Ownership iv) Checking quality As a whole quality assurance in teacher education may be ensured by studying its customer than assuring quality at every stage because all these parts are interrelated. i) The education service (Value added learning) The value added learning in teacher education is complex of inputs to the teaching and learning, teaching process, service quality, and institutional arrangement to assure quality in the inputs the discipline may use national curricula with inbuilt flexibility suiting to regional requirements. The disseminator of teacher education is a teacher and preparing the teachers where he/she is in the direct contact with the end users. The close interaction between the service provider and end user also allow multiple opportunities for feedback and evaluation directing at satisfaction level of the end users. However due to involvement of repeated human interactions the possibility of human errors also enhances. Therefore, for the purpose of assuring quality in teacher education we need to infuse soft indicators of quality assurance i.e. care. Courtesy, concern, friendliness, and helpfulness to delivery superior service quality.

ii) Primary external customer (learners) They are future teachers i.e. nation builders hence entry norm should be made more reliable. Once student has been enrolled in the teacher education programme again it is the teachers who can make him feel the real worth of the course. The trainee teachers should be prepared socially responsible teachers with high values and morality. After completion of degree students should enjoy feeling of self- sufficacy and fulfillment. iii) Secondary external customers(parents, society) Parents are preliminary school for children and the prime decision maker in career choice. They should send their ward in teacher education if they convinced that he/she can be a real teacher and can do justice in the field. There should be mindset and valuing the teachers in the society. iv) Internal customer (teachers) In the modern society, the satisfaction of internal customer is as important as that of external customer. In order to get value from outside any system first should be valued from within because poor internal relationship will definitely prevent the institution from working properly and ultimately external customer suffers. Indicators of quality assurance i) Organizational mission The mission of an institution is its basic purpose and reason for existence. The mission of an institution should be articulated in a mission statement, understood by all the teachers. Valued by them and used consistently to guide all plans, goals and action. For example, mission of a ashram school could be empowerment of vulnerable section of society. ii) Continuous improvement Critical thinking and innovations, openness and flexibility. iii) Student orientation Quality implies fulfilling and exceeding the expectations of students in particular and the larger society in general. iv) Leadership commitment Commitment is in terms of emphasis on the value and importance of quality, allocation of resources and support for quality and building commitment among all the staff members towards quality. v) Empowerment Empowerment is helping teachers to use their personal, professional or situational powers that they possess.


vi) Collaboration Collaboration teams include members from different departments, subjects levels etc. so as to utilize divers viewpoints, knowledge and skills of such people. vii) Focus on processes Failures in quality are the result of faulty processes rather than faulty human beings. processes are a set of actions carried out to achieve predetermined results. Processes are generally complex and are linked to preceding and following actions. i.e., processes are linked to inputs (preceding actions) and outputs (following action) of an institution. For enhancing the quality of processes, it is necessary to ensure the consistency, validity, reliability, usability and cost-effectiveness of the processes.

According to national curriculum framework 2005, list vision for teacher education.

Teacher education must become more sensitive to the emerging demands from the school system. For this it must prepare the teacher –

1) To care for children, and should love to be with them. 2) To understand children within social, cultural and political contexts. 3) Be receptive and be constantly learning. 4) View learning as a search for meaning out of personal experience, and knowledge generation as a continuously evolving process of reflective learning. 5) View knowledge not as an external reality embedded in textbooks, but as constructed in the shared context of teaching-learning and personal experience. 6) Own responsibility towards society, and work to build a better world. 7) Appreciate the potential of productive work and hands on experience as a pedagogic medium both inside and outside the classroom. 8) Analyze the curricular framework, policy implications and texts.

Conclusion: Quality assurance in teacher education plays the central role in the total quality management mission of the system. Quality assurance can be ensured by its application in all parts of customers. The main focus is on primary customers i.e. learners. Similarly equal attention need to be paid on the total education system and slight deviation in any part of sub-system will disturb the way of quality assuranc

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