We welcome you to this volume of the proceedings of the National Symposium on “Establishing, Enhancing and Sustaining Quality Practices in Education (EESQPE)”. This proceeding brings together in a convenient form the opening and closing addresses together with the keynote addresses and key technical papers presented at the National Symposium on “Establishing, Enhancing and Sustaining Quality Practices in Education” held in Nekemte at Wollega University on 26th and 27th April, 2013. As a symposium EESQPE has traditionally taken a broad approach to thinking and cognition, in all their manifold aspects and manifestations, and this breadth is reflected in the content of the various papers submitted for publication in this Proceedings. Most of the papers are from educationalists and researchers working in formal education settings, from Early Childhood settings to Higher Education in universities and provide a richness of approach to the various symposium themes.
The aim of the publication is to share experiences on policy and practice for quality in higher education across the country and to make available to a wider audience key ideas, methodologies and strategies presented at the symposium. The symposium demonstrated wide interest in quality practices across the region. In many countries both governments and higher education institutions have been working actively to establish new mechanisms of quality assurance and quality improvement. Quality practices clearly are a major issue for higher education across the country and it seems that it will continue to be of key issue of concern for the next decade and beyond.
Higher education is the backbone of any society. It is the quality of higher education that decides the quality of human resources in a country. Higher education, as we see today, is a complex system facilitating teaching, research, extension and international cooperation and understanding. In developing countries, where resources are scarce, countries should not waste them on institutions that are not fulfilling desired purposes. For Ethiopia today, quality in higher education is a key priority. This must be achieved keeping in mind the issues of relevance, costs, equity and international standards.
Globalization in the 21st century presents universities and states with a number of challenges and opportunities. Currently, a major concern for both of them is how to assure quality in higher education and how to enhance global competitiveness through a variety of policies and actions. As a result, quality assurance mechanisms and rankings, which emphasize output monitoring and measurements and systems of accountability and auditing, have become popular worldwide
Higher education quality assurance and global competitiveness are intertwined into the complicated issue of balancing of the teaching and research missions of an institution. The quality assurance movement has caused widespread discussions of the appropriate use of various assessment instruments on overall higher education quality and individual university’s performance. Recently, several types of tools for assessing quality in higher education have been developed based on purposes and processes, including quality assurance, auditing, accreditation, evaluation, ranking, benchmarking, institutional audit, peer reviewing and knowledge balancing.
What is Quality?
‘Fitness for purpose’ – Juran
‘Conformance to requirements’ – Crosby
An educational definition is that of an ongoing process ensuring the delivery of agreed standards. These agreed standards should ensure that every educational institution where quality is assured has the potential to achieve a high quality of content and results. Quality in higher education, according to Article 11 of the World Declaration on Higher Education published by the United Nations, is a multi-dimensional concept, which should embrace all its functions and activities: teaching and academic programmes, research and scholarship, staffing, students, buildings, faculties, equipment, services the community and the academic environment. It should take the form of internal self-evaluation and external review, conducted openly by independent specialists, if possible with international expertise, which are vital for enhancing quality.
Quality Practices in Higher Education
All countries have some kind of quality practices mechanism in place, although they differ significantly in terms of purpose, focus and organization. It is critical that all higher education institutions maintain their own internal, rigorous quality assurance systems. These structures should permeate every area and every level of teaching and learning. Students are the ones for which education has been primarily designed. They are the ones dealing with it day in day out over several years. This makes them real experts on QA; students know best how their (ideal) education and study environment should look like.
“An examination of a knife would reveal that its distinctive quality is to cut, and from this we can conclude that a good knife would be a knife that cuts well” ------ Aristotle
Quality assurance in higher education can be defined as “systematic management and assessment procedures adopted by higher education institutions and systems in order to monitor performance against objectives, and to ensure achievement of quality outputs and quality improvements”. The means by which an institution can guarantee with confidence and certainty, that the standards and quality of its educational provision are being maintained and enhanced. Essentially, quality assurance systems aim to provide appropriate evidence to substantiate claims made about quality and so to enable key stakeholders to have confidence about the management of quality and the level of outcomes achieved. Stakeholders are individuals and groups who have a major interest in higher education institutions and systems, and their work and achievements.
Quality assurance is the whole range of actions and mechanisms that support quality in higher education. Successful higher education institutions design and plan and set up a built-in self-assessment bodies systematically at all levels to assure quality education provision on offer. Quite a number of public and private higher education institutions set up quality assurance units and assess the provision of quality education they offer periodically. These quality assurance units also assist universities to design mechanism for controlling, guaranteeing and promoting quality. Quality assurance is being carried out at the institutional level internally and by external quality assurance agency like HERQA in Ethiopia.
The issue of quality cannot be disassociated from the quest for excellence, while the setting of academic standards and evaluation criteria should take into account the diversity of situations across the region. Each nation and higher education system should aim to put in place quality assurance systems and procedures that meet the needs and the culture of the local society. Importation of systems from one country to another need to handle with care so that any new set of arrangements and anchored firmly in cultural and social traditions. The developments of Quality Assurance like the process itself are continuous and thus a periodic review of development needs to be carried out by all those involved in the process.
Symposium Aim, Purpose, Thematic (Main and Sub) Areas and Organization
The main aim of the symposium was to “Review and Recommend Innovative practices in Ethiopian Education Systems”. Besides, the purpose of this symposium was to provide teachers, administrators, school boards, higher education faculty and staff, and other stakeholders opportunities to examine continuous improvement principles that have been successfully implemented and sustained at various levels of education. Sharing ideas for blending creative practices with established systems to generate high-achieving, creative, and collaborative learners.
The main and sub-thematic areas of the symposium were well stated in the symposium documentation. These were as follows:
Main Thematic Areas of the Symposium
• Quality in Science, Technology and Innovation
• Quality in Language and Social Sciences Education
• Cutting Edge Issues in Gender and Educational Research
Sub-Thematic Areas of the Symposium
• Teaching and Assessment (in Science, Technology, Language and Social Sciences at Primary and Secondary Level Education)
• Quality Management Practices (in Teaching Science, Technology, Language and Social Sciences)
• Perception and Beliefs (in Teaching Science, Language and Social Sciences)
• The Role of Practical Training (in Science at Primary and Secondary Level Education)
• Role of ICT in Ensuring Quality Education
• Teacher’s Attitude, Capacity and Quality Education
• Academic Achievements Vis-a-Vis Performance Appraisal
• Early Childhood Teaching
• Knowledge Vis-a-Vis Skill
• Balancing Two Languages with One Script
• Relationship Between Language Proficiency and Academic Performance
• Gender Support –Myth or Reality
• Gender and Affirmative Action in Education
• Research Findings on Quality Education in Ethiopia
Organization of this Publication
This publication is organized into five main sections. The first is made up of the opening addresses given at the formal commencement and ceremony. The symposium was honored to have had a formal welcome address from Prof. Fekadu Beyene, President of Wollega University, Nekemte, Ethiopia and Ato Teferi Tiyaro, Head, East Wollega Zone Administration. The second section contains keynote addresses by Prof. Derebssa Dufera, Director, Institute of Educational Research, Addis Ababa University, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Dr. Tesfaye Teshome, Director General, HERQA, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and Prof. Firdissa Jebessa Aga, Director, Change Management and Transformation Office, Addis Ababa University, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The third section comprises those plenary addresses for which presenters made detailed papers available. Unfortunately, because of space limitations, it was not possible to include all papers presented at the symposium. The fourth section presents a brief report on the symposium. The fifth section comprises the recommendations and resolutions drawn from the symposium.
The collection of papers published here were submitted as formal research papers by authors, and were subject to a peer review and editing process conducted by a panel of academics from Wollega University, Nekemte, Ethiopia. These papers were also proof-read and edited for English style, grammar and syntax. The editors trust that the editing of certain English expressions, grammar, and so on, in these papers has not changed the central meaning and content of the papers, and that these remain true to the authors’ intent. Therefore, the views expressed and therein are entirely those of the authors. We would like to thank all those who sent their on time.
|Prof. Fekadu Beyene||Dr. Eba Mijena||Dr. Raghavendra H.L|
|President||Academic Vice President||Editor in Chief|
|Wollega University||Wollega University||STAR Journal|
|Nekemte, Ethiopia.||Nekemte, Ethiopia.||Wollega University |