education quality

education quality

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Why focus on quality?
Although some of the international treaties,
by specifying the need to provide education on
human rights, reproductive health, sports and
gender awareness, touched on educational
quality,2 they were generally silent about how
well education systems could and should be
expected to perform in meeting these objectives.
This remained true as recently as 2000, when the
United Nations Millennium Declaration’s
commitment to achieve UPE by 2015 was directly
and simply set out without explicit reference
to quality (see Box 1.1). Thus, in placing the
emphasis upon assuring access for all, these
instruments mainly focused on the quantitative
aspects of education policy.
It seems highly likely, however, that the
achievement of universal participation in
education will be fundamentally dependent upon
the quality of education available. For example,
how well pupils are taught and how much they
learn, can have a crucial impact on how long
they stay in school and how regularly they attend.
Furthermore, whether parents send their
children to school at all is likely to depend on
judgements they make about the quality of
teaching and learning provided – upon whether
attending school is worth the time and cost for
their children and for themselves. The
instrumental roles of schooling – helping
individuals achieve their own economic and
social and cultural objectives and helping society
to be better protected, better served by
its leaders and more equitable in important ways
– will be strengthened if education is of higher
quality.3 Schooling helps children develop
creatively and emotionally and acquire the skills,
knowledge, values and attitudes necessary for
responsible, active and productive citizenship.
How well education achieves these outcomes

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is important to those who use it. Accordingly,
analysts and policy makers alike should also
find the issue of quality difficult to ignore.
More fundamentally, education is a set of
processes and outcomes that are defined
qualitatively. The quantity of children who
participate is by definition a secondary
consideration: merely filling spaces called
‘schools’ with children would not address even
The achievement
of universal
participation in
education will be
fundamentally
dependent upon
the quality of
education
available
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