Quality education: Improve teachers’ efficiency

Parents want their children to be taught by competent, qualified and professional teachers. But how many of us encourage our children to become teachers with the qualities that we seek in their teachers?

Teachers are the most influential factor in students’ learning process. Therefore, teachers need to develop the three dimensions of learning skills – basic skills such as reading, writing, mathematics and vocabulary; cognitive skills such as non-verbal reasoning and problem-solving; and effective skills such as self-esteem and self-image.

We never get tired of advocating quality education. But do we really think about making teachers competent and efficient? There is a general tendency among the general public to blame teachers. But we tend to forget the fact that teachers are also the role models of a society.

Without recognising their contribution to the society, there is no meaning of talking about quality education.  We parents want our children to be taught by competent, qualified and professional teachers. But how many of us encourage our children to become teachers with the qualities that we seek in their teachers?

Quality education is something we hear too often these days. But rarely are there discussions on ways to improve the quality of education. The government, hence, must take the lead to ignite the discussions to find ways to improve quality of education. There is an urgent need

to devise new education policy and systems that ensure quality education. Quality education requires qualified and competent teachers.

We often talk about government schools, saying the education children get there is not up to the mark. This could largely be due to lack of qualified and competent teachers there. So the best point to start could be selecting teachers based on competence and professional responsibility.

There are five main areas of responsibility for teachers – their subject matter, their students, the institution they are involved with, their profession, and finally the community at large. The greatest problem in teaching today is how to create, sustain and motivate good teachers throughout their careers. Recruiting and preparing high quality teachers must remain a priority of policymakers, which is yet to happen in the context of Nepal.

Quality teachers can be attracted and retained by creating an atmosphere where they get positive support for their career enhancement, trainings, good remuneration and facilities. Furthermore, special efforts must be made to attract these qualified teachers who have the temperament and passion to cope with everyday challenges. And these teachers must receive necessary support so as to enable them to improve their efficiency.

In order to attract individuals to the profession and retain them, pay and perks must be attractive for both new and experienced teachers. The governments at all levels should also help in creating a good environment at schools so as to retain quality teachers.

Several pedagogical researches have shown that what teachers do in the classroom is undoubtedly the key educational determinant in students’ learning and achievement. It goes without saying that not all teaching practices are equal in this respect. It is therefore important to identify and promote the most effective practices, that is to say, practices which help to achieve desired learning outcomes in the most effective way. Quality teaching is the use of selected pedagogical techniques to produce learning outcomes for students.

In Nepal, it seems most of the teachers have very poor knowledge of pedagogical principles. It involves several dimensions, including effective design of curriculum and course content, a variety of learning contexts (including guided independent study, project-based learning, collaborative learning, experimentation, etc.), soliciting and using feedback, and effective assessment of learning outcomes. It also involves well-adapted learning environments and student support services.

Quality education always helps to ensure security, welfare and prosperity of a nation. Therefore, education is the first priority for developing a nation.

The key factors influencing the quality of higher education is the quality of faculty, curriculum standards, technological infrastructure available, research environment, administrative policies, financing, evaluation and good governance. The quality of education is assessed through the quality of curriculum, students, teachers/faculty, teaching methods, governance, financing, evaluation and linkages with other institutions.

Teachers play a basic and dynamic role in the educational system. It is said that good performance of students depends upon effective teaching of their teachers. One of the most difficult problems in educational research is recognising teachers’ effectiveness – discrimination between “more effective” teachers and “less effective” teachers. Effective teaching is a key responsibility of each and every teacher. Effective teaching is based on the teachers’ teaching experience and their performance. Teachers’ teaching experiences always reflect on their performance. So the quality, competence and character of a teacher are of paramount importance. Teachers’ quality is the key to ensuring the quality of education for quality outcomes. Qualified and competent teachers will not be able to carry out their tasks professionally without proper conditions that support their task.

Joshi is a faculty member at Patan Multiple Campus