ENSURING QUALITY ASSURANCE IN HIGHER EDUCATION
Education cannot function properly unless there is high quality in the standard of teaching materials available, teaching methods and proper evaluation of students in the program. The assessment of quality teaching is an on-going, multi-dimensional process which should be based on process and product. Successful implementation of any education program and the effectiveness in achievement of set goals depend very much on adequate materials and resources available. The input on individuals and institutions of learning, can determine to a large extent the realization of the philosophy of higher education.
Quality teaching and learning in higher education therefore ensures that students acquire the knowledge, skills and competences that are appropriate for their area of responsibility. There is the need to have teaching standards and develop challenging examinations to document and recognize accomplished teaching. Quality assurance is an essential tool required to ensure efficient higher educational programs in our institutions for the achievement of manpower development and skill acquisition in our societies.
Quality assurance in higher education must be viewed holistically from requirements of entry into the program, duration, quality and number of teacher/lecturers, facilities, instructional materials available, college environment/accommodation, examinations, results, certificate, grading system, exam question items, supervision, moderation etc. It has to be a total package to ensure a meaningful product. The concept of quality assurance hinges on education monitoring. Which is a complete concept aimed at systematically linking planning, analysis and control. Quality assurance must, therefore, involve internal and external influence to ensure efficiency and benefit desired.
POSSIBLE WAYS OF ENSURING QUALITY ASSURANCE IN HIGHER EDUCATION
To ensure quality assurance in vocational education there is need to identify possible strategies that could bring about quality in teaching and learning of vocational education. Some of these strategies include:
Skill Acquisition and Competency
Emphasis should be on skill acquisition by higher education teachers. Competency should be judged by both performances at examinations and acquisition of usable and valuable skills, lectures must be well equipped with knowledge, skills, competences required for impacting knowledge in the teaching and examination of higher education subject in institutions.
The government should provide funds for the higher education to have a meaning in the real sense. Quality can be achieved only in an atmosphere of financial sufficiency which will help in the provision of infrastructure, laboratories, chemicals, classrooms etc. inadequate financial resources in the higher institutions have the effect of limiting the education development policy.
Adequate Staffing/Staff Development
There should be provision of adequate teaching manpower in higher institutions. Manpower should be competent, diligent and qualified teaching and non-teaching staff. they must be equipped with the principles and practice of higher education. Current skills and bodies of knowledge create a need for retraining of teachers/lecturers. It is very important that institutions prescribe a suitable program for training and retraining of its staff. This will ensure maximum contribution to developments and the progress of educational programs in the institutions.
To teach courses in higher education effectively there must be adequate provision of facilities in terms of space, equipment, infrastructures, and physical facilities. The lecture halls must have instructional materials and be conducive for learning. The training environment should be like the work environment, teaching with real materials and real situation can help to encourage the students to learn and can greatly enhance quality. Lack of facilities to poor service conditions can lead to self-dissatisfaction and stress making them less efficient and lack commitment to work.
Motivations/Remunerations of Teachers/Lecturers
Higher education lecturers should be motivated to enjoy their jobs rather than painfully enduring it. For instance, they should be encouraged in the prompt payment of salaries, allowances and other entitlements like promotion, in-service training, conference attendance and other relevant conditions of service should be given to them as and when due. Optimum performance on the job could only be guaranteed when they are well motivated and this will ensure quality teaching in institutions. Poor remuneration is responsible for the poor attitude to work of staff; they go about doing their own business instead of concentrating on how to improve the quality of teaching and learning higher education. This accounts for ineffectiveness and affect quality assurance.
Administration and Regular Supervision / inspection
Administration and supervision of higher education program can greatly affect the quality assurance. administrators, do not take internal and external supervision seriously in the institutions.
Examination almost at all levels is bedeviled by malpractice. This is because students are not ready to work hard, read or go through the normal academic exercise; rather they prefer short cuts and the easy way out. Hence they are often lured to employing malpractices of various kinds during examination and if this is not stopped quality cannot be achieved.
Absenteeism of Teachers and Students
Lecturers leave their duties for other personal assignment without teaching and covering the syllabus and at the end set examination questions that cover the syllabus that they did not teach leaving the students to their own faith. On the part of the students, some of them also neglect their lectures and only appear during examination. Consequently, this set of students cannot write anything meaningful in the examinations.