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PRINCIPAL SUPERVISORY ROLE IN QUALITY ASSURANCE IN SECONDARY SCHOOLS
Background to the Study
Sustainable quality assurance in secondary education is a continuous process of the best practices in the management and utilization of human and material resources, facilities, finance, and development of positive corporate culture and strategic supervision of teaching and learning activities, for the realization of the set goals in schools (Ayeni,2010). Sustainable quality assurance in an educational institution is also made possible when every member of the institution contributes his/her quota to the quality process (Venkaiah, 1995; Zuhari andSuparman, 2002). All these are required to ensure a complete education and production of quality students and consistent improvement in secondary school system.
The role of principal’s sustainability and supervision cannot be over-emphasized. The principal as a leader of group of teachers in the school system has the function of interacting with the teachers in order to improve teaching and learning situations for the students through instructional supervision. Instructional supervision is a process by which school administrator attempts to achieve acceptable standards, performance and results. It is a tool of quality improvement in the school system and a phase in school administration which focuses primarily upon the achievement of appropriate expectation of educational system (Peretomode,2004).
All organizations including churches, corporate enterprises and schools exist essentially to achieve certain stated objectives. To ensure the achievement of the stated objectives, such organizations are guided by certain principles and mechanisms in order to ensure success. One of such mechanisms includes supervision. Secondary education is of course a very important segment of the education ladder both in Nigeria and elsewhere. This is because secondary education not only produces middle level manpower for the economy; it also prepares its beneficiaries for tertiary education (Patrick & Leonard, 2012).
Education is an instrument par excellence for effecting National development (Federal Republic of Nigeria) (FRN) (2004), and the means of developing human intellect, technical skills, character and effective citizenship for self-reliance and national development. This underscores the value being placed on quality and standards which encompass quality learning resource inputs, instructional process, teachers’ capacities development, effective management, monitoring and evaluation, and quality learning outcomes in secondary schools.
The pursuit of quality improvement in ed ucation service delivery necessitated the application of quality system management standards in the education sector. The adoption of quality assurance in education as an emerging policy perspective in the contemporary world emanated at the World Conference on Education for All (EFA) led by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) at Thailand in 1990. Representatives of the international community agreed that all countries should pay greater attention towards improving all aspects of the quality of education and ensuring excellence of all. This is to ensure achievement of recognized and measurable learning outcomes in schools, especially in literacy, numeracy and essential life skills (UNESCO, 2002). Quality assurance, therefore, is one of the most critical tasks facing every nation’s educational institutions, so that the societal demands for improved education service delivery would achieve the best learning outcomes that enhance the quality of life of the citizenry (Ayeni, 2010).
The World Declaration on Education for All was re-affirmed by the international community in Dakar, Senegal in 2000. In pursuit of the goals set at the Conference, the United Nations member states agreed to show maximum commitment to the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) adopted at the Millennium Summit held in New York in September, 2000. The United Nations Millennium Declaration recognized education as a key component and the need for every nation to use it as a veritable tool to significantly improve human, social and economic conditions by 2015.
The current global moves towards ensuring that educational systems meet the MDGs, the challenges of information and communication technology (ICT), the evolution of the global digital economy, and the global competition for technically skilled workers underscores the priority being given to quality assurance in education as an instrument for achieving sustainable development of human potential in particular and Nigeria’s economy as a whole (FRN, 2004; Federal Ministry of Education (FME) (2009).
The under-listed researchers have suggested that a number of factors contribute to the establishment of quality education in schools. For example, Digolo (2003) observed that the maintenance of factors such as curriculum, instructional materials, equipment, school management, teacher training and resources are some of the indicators of quality education. In addition, Gogo (2002) reported that low performance could be attributed to inadequate finance which resulted to inadequate supply of teaching and learning materials and equipment.
Olembo (1992) also suggested that provision of quality education requires that the principal be involved in translation of education policies and objectives into viable programmes within the school; w hile Shiundu and Omulando (1992) emphasized that on a daily basis, principal have the responsibility to ensure that teachers implement the set curriculum and also ensure that learning activities take place. In order to support teaching and learning processes, Doharly (2000) observed that the principal should ensure quality curricular supervision and provision of adequate physical resources. Neil and Kitson (2002) further maintained that the principal is responsible for selection of subject appearing in the school curriculum. This was necessary to ensure that a well- balanced education is provided to students.
On the same point, Bound (2003) suggested that the quality of principals is a relevant indicator of quality schools, and therefore underscored the importance of principals in school administration. Given this background, the aim of the current study was to investigate the strategies employed by secondary school principal in the supervision of the curriculum and the challenges they faced in their attempts to provide quality education.
Mobegi (2010) submitted that quality assurance has been conducted in District IV of Lagos State to find out why the quality of education has remained low. Due to the persistent poor academic performance in District IV of Lagos State, there is a need to identify strategies which can be laid down by principals as regards their roles as Quality Assurance agents in order to bring about improved performance in national examinations.
The quality of education being offered in our secondary schools in Nigeria today is being questioned and the issue of declining standard of education is constantly discussed in mass media. In-spite of the national, state and local efforts to invest heavily in education, the provision of adequate and effective educational administration and service remain a challenge in the Nigerian educational system. The extent to which the quality of education offered in our educational institution is being discussed now is astyonishing (Johnson, 2002).
In the words of Moorar as cited in Kochhar (2005), supervision includes those activities which are primarily and directly concerned with studying and improving the conditions which surround the learning and growth of pupils. Supervision according to Igbo (2002) is therefore, that which helps to improve the teaching function.
It is against this background that this study examines Principal Supervisory Role in Quality Assurance in secondary schools.
Statement of the Problem
The role of supervision in enhancing quality education at all levels of education cannot be overlooked; neither can it be under-estimated. There is a general belief that there is a great decline in the quality of secondary education. This is evident in the performance of students in external examinations, where students perform woefully. For example, the 2014 West African Senior Secondary Certificate Examination (W.A.S.S.C.E) released by the West African Examinations Council (W.A.E.C), shows that a total of 529,425 candidates, representing 31.28% obtained credits in five subjects and above, including English Language and Mathematics. When compared to the 2012 and 2013 May/June W.A.S.S.C.E diets, there was a marginal decline in the performance of candidates as 38.81% was recorded in 2012 and 36.57% in 2013. Consequently, the observed decline in the quality of education could be assumed to be as a result of the type and nature of supervision that is present in the various secondary schools.
The need to investigate the relationship between supervision and enhancement of quality education at the secondary schools has therefore necessitated this study.
Purpose of the Study
The general purpose of this study is to examine Principal Supervisory Role in Quality Assurance in Secondary Schools. Specifically, the study sought to:
The study provides answers to the following questions:
The following hypotheses guided this study:
Significance of the Study
The findings of this study will be of huge significance to the principals, the students, educational policy makers and the government. Firstly, it will help in enhancing the quality of education in secondary schools, also it will enable school principals to have insight into the nature of supervisory practices that will promote quality in all aspects of the school. Similarly, it will facilitate quality service delivery. The educational policy makers will also have share of the benefit, as it will enable them to put necessary machinery in place for ease of supervision in school. To the students, it will enable them to have a conducive learning environment where quality education is enhanced. To the government, it will help to justify the huge resources expended in education, since quality education is attained.
Scope of the Study
The study covers public secondary schools in District IV of Lagos State where supervisory practices were examined as they are related to quality assurance in public secondary schools.
Definition of Terms
The following terms have been defined operationally as follows:
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