7 years ago

Quality education

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'Quality education' has become the most talked-about topic in the field of education in this country as well as in the global arena. Different educationists define it in different ways, but they also indicate some common elements of quality education. Quality education means teaching not just facts, but how to determine those facts. It does not necessarily mean just to score higher grades in public examinations. A set of skills necessary for social life and academic attainment is only one of those. Quality education ensures how to face the realities of life by applying the things learnt in academic life. 
Most governments act to protect consumers in the education market by ensuring that institutions are properly accredited and the qualifications they award are valid and recognised as 'quality.' However, the manner in which institutions and degrees are accredited varies a great deal. In the USA, accreditation and quality assurance is effectively self-regulated by the educational institutions through accreditation agencies' control on them, although the government does have some 'weapons of enforcement'. In many other countries, government has the ultimate authority to accredit institutions and approve degrees, although in countries such as Canada and the United Kingdom, this is often exercised by arm's length agencies appointed by their governments, but consisting mainly of representatives from various institutions within the system. These bodies have a variety of names, but Degree Quality Assurance Board is a typical title. In recent years, some regulatory agencies such as the United Kingdom's Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education have adopted formal quality assurance processes. 
In Bangladesh, institutions actually do not help flourish the latent talents of learners. They just choose some students among thousands through their set academic and examination oriented tests which test mainly the memory of students. The students of these institutions could be made creative and be given quality education in the real sense of the term.  Quality education will teach them the way of doing things, solving problems of similar kind they face in the classroom. But most students cannot do it, which means that they have not received quality education. So far as linguistic ability is concerned, they neither can write good Bengali nor can they speak or write good English even after getting very good grades in public examinations. Learning some absolutely necessary social skills is an integral part of quality education. A student with good grades often does not know how to speak before the public, how to speak with the elders, how to behave with a stranger. 
Then the well known and famous institutions prepare the already selected students to obtain 'high grades' in the public examinations. These students get enrolled in medical colleges, engineering universities, agricultural and general universities and people believe that the schools and colleges they studied in offered them 'quality education'. They again have to undergo a 'civil service test' which is also not analytical. When they work as doctors, they know how to diagnose diseases and make prescriptions. To become a doctor, giving mental support to the patients, talking to them sympathetically are the pre-conditions for quality medicinal treatment. The majority of doctors here do not appear to possess these qualities. Engineers know how to make roads, buildings, machinery but they never get the education that 'taking bribes' is a dishonest task. It harms society and the country. When engineers and other professionals fail to ensure these things, it can be said they have not got 'quality education'. It may so happen that many uneducated people who have never been to educational institutions can acquire some skills through practice by getting involved with a job and being apprentices to others. If they commit crimes like taking bribes, it may be assumed that they are doing so because they never attended higher educational intuitions. But if the students who enjoyed state help and favour to become doctors, engineers or other professionals, refuse to help the poor and help only those who offer them money, it can be safely remarked that they have not received 'quality education'. Attaining high academic grades without learning the social skills and developing human qualities does not mean 'quality education'.
The writer works as an education specialist under BRAC Education Programme.

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