Systems Print E-mail

 

There is a glaring lack of internal quality assurance within our education system, which could be filled by using the Systems Approach to Training. The Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) as well as the British Army use this system for its training requirements, so there’s a good chance it could work for our education sector as well.

 

The external quality assessment is ably taken care of by ONESQA (Office for National Education Standards and Quality Assessment). My main concern is how to prepare for the submission of documents detailing the meeting of standards on a yearly basis.

 

I have seen with my own eyes the mad rush at reporting time to amass the paperwork needed to submit details to the relevant authorities on an annually. If systems were in place that made the daily work compatible with the standards required, reporting of those standards would be so much easier.

 

I remember working in Bangkok and a teacher at my place of work decided to omit a section from the book as he felt that his students didn’t need to know about it. Come examination time, this section was in the test, resulting in his students achieving lower marks compared to their peers.

 

Having a system in place not only assists with the reporting process, it also serves as standard operating procedure detailing what can be done and how to do it. 

 

From the diagram, you can see that some flexibility must be allowed to adapt what is basically a military document into an educational setting. It also allows for differences in educational establishments, allowing for individual models to be derived from the original concept.

 

Stage one involves the analysing of the course required and how it fits into the curriculum. This leads to the specifics of the course; I happen to like can do statements. Next the course objectives are written allowing the course content to be constructed in consultation with subject matter experts.

 

The course is then designed in a cohesive way and then conducted. All courses need to be validated and modified as necessary; however, modification is not to be done in a unilateral fashion. Any modifications must be reported back to those who analyse the job and write the training objectives to see if the modification is necessary. Basically there has to be a chain of command.

 

This is a very simplistic view of what really happens; however, I think you may well agree that there is something here which we can work with. I am not advocating that all establishments rigidly conform to the system as it is shown here, what I am saying is that it is possible to use the system and adapt it to fit our own specific educational needs.

 

Having a system like this in place would make life a lot easier when it came to providing ONESQA with their requirements come reporting time and should hopefully elevate the quality of the education services provided by increasing our internal quality assurance. Only then will the daily routine in our schools and universities reflect the quality needed to reach our educational goals.     

 


The Systems Approach to Training can be adapted to fit any organisation and adhere to the external quality assessment criteria laid down by ONESQA.
(Unedited article published in the Bangkok Post 26th January 2010)

 
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