Improving school quality
The importance of secondary school education in molding learners into responsible citizens of tomorrow cannot be ignored or undermined. Secondary school education is the stepping stone for unlimited opportunities for learners to explore the career choices that they have to pursue further In their lives. Every year the performance of secondary schools In the final examination come under spotlight as soon as the results are published.
Many schools in the previously disadvantaged communities perform poorly in the matrix examination each year.
The main aim of this paper is suggest what needs to be done in order to ensure that pupils perform well in their final examinations given the knowledge of what teaching and learning means. As a starting point, the paper will define the process of learning and teaching. The factors that affect performance of pupils in relation to teachers will then be given. An outline of the suggestions that would result in improved performance will then lead to the end of the discussion.
Quality refers to the standard when compared to other things of the same type. It shows the goodness or the worth. Quality is associated with efficiency, effectiveness, choice, excellence, equity and social Justice among other virtues that are designated as the alms of any system purporting to produce effective learning In good schools (Coleman, 1998). Academic performance refers to the level of attainment of learners In the external grade 12 examination.
It refers to the performance of the school as well as the learners in the grade 12 examinations. It reflects both quality and quantity of the results obtained by the learners in the grade 12 examinations (Bastion, 1995). The management of a school has a very important ole to play in the transformation and development of a school (Thomas, 1992). It is the responsibility of the senior management of the school, the principal, to prepare the atmosphere for effective teaching and learning at the school.
Within formal models leadership is ascribed to the person at the apex of the hierarchy. It Is assumed that this individual sets the tone of the organization and establishes the major official objectives. In a school the person who Is holding the highest position Is the principal and has to play an effective role as a leader In the school. At the heart f school or any organizational life are leadership and management. It Is these aspects of school life that ensure that all other aspects are held together and developed.
Leadership is the art of facilitating a school to do the right thing at the right time, while management is the discipline required to ensure that the school ‘does things right’, or functions well (Thomas, 1992). The development of the school depends entirely on the ability of the leadership of the school. To transform and develop schools into efficient centers of excellence, visionary, hardworking and farsighted leaders are required. Effective organizations tend to be purposeful and goal directed. The managers, departments, and the individual members work towards explicit goals and have a clear sense of direction.
Schools without explicit aims and a Whole-School policy would not meet this criterion of effectiveness. The ability of schools to transform themselves to grow In strength or to have a strong sense of purpose and commitment Is to a great extent dependent on the quality of leadership in the school (Walsh, 1999). The principal provides the leadership to the principal becomes the lightning rod for every change and programmer that is implemented at the school and assumes a much more important role in the scheme of things.
More than Just following policy, the position requires that the person be a planner, a leader, and a conciliator in order to be successful (Bastion, 1995). The leadership of the principal takes the anchor role in transforming and developing the school into a successful institution. The task of being the educational leader of the school is one that calls for the best in the area of personal skills and requires the highest order of human and academic skills (Coleman, 1998).
The leadership of the school is responsible for facilitating instructional activities and coordinating curriculum across the individual programmer and school levels for ensuring congruence through defining the school mission and goals, managing the instructional programmer s and promoting a positive school learning climate (Morrison, 1998). The core business of a school as an organization is the effective curriculum delivery. Teaching and learning are necessary if young people are to acquire personally enriching, economically necessary and socially desirable knowledge and skills.
A school must have a positive environment to facilitate the effective curriculum delivery and the development of skills and values in learners. Without a proper learning environment, effective curriculum delivery cannot take place. The resources that are available at a school can positively influence the quality of the education provided. Our ability to develop the curriculum in the way that we wish to achieve our objectives as a school will, of course, depend on the resources that are available to us.
However, it is extremely important that we ensure that the tail does not wag the dog, that the content of the education that we offer is to determined by the resources most easily available to us, as opposed to by the needs of our learners. Resources are everything at the school’s actual or potential disposal to enable it to reach its objectives. Resources like human resource, physical resource and financial resource are the most important items required for the provision of quality education. Access to and control of resources are of central concern to any organization.
In the school context these resources include finances, administrative equipment and materials, teaching equipment and materials and the school facilities themselves (Morrison, 1998). Teachers are invariably regarded as the prime resource in schools because of their central role in the teaching and learning process. The quality of the results produced will depend on the motivation and commitment of the educators who are working in a school. The quality of their work, and their motivation to perform well are related directly to the nature of the human resource management process.
Where staff management is skilled and sympathetic, a successful organization is likely to result (Branded & Ginning, 1990). In a successful institution, the educators will be prepared to work beyond the normal required hours ND will be using this extra time for preparation and marking of the learners books. A school, which has no skilled, committed, innovative and resourceful staff, cannot provide quality education to the learners and may not produce quality results in the external examination.
Therefore one of the prerequisites for any school to become efficient and to produce quality results is to have an efficient, dynamic, skilled, committed and knowledgeable human resource. Teacher is the main change agent necessary for bringing change in teaching and learning so, the school policy should eve provision for professional development program for teachers. Bonging (2001 : 53) also indicates the importance of teachers’ concerns and say, “Change can be more successful if the concerns of teachers are considered”. Collaborative teaching and learning environment is a source of school effectiveness. So, the school management should encourage collaboration in school. The participation of the parents in the management of the education of the learners can positively influence the learning process of the learners. The principal has to utilize this influence and the nutrition of the parents effectively to improve the quality of results that are produced in the previously disadvantaged schools (Solidity & Bull, 1996).
The role of parents to influence and persuade their children to be mentally prepared, to obtain quality education cannot be ignored or undermined. They are the role players who could lay a strong foundation and passion for quality education in the minds of their children, which will in turn assist the educators largely in providing quality education to their learners.