Topic of Interest
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The quality of education as a practice and reflection in school life*
When we talk about and demand greater and better quality education for our
children, little consensus exists on exactly what quality is or what impact it
has. We know that it is a valuable and desirable commodity. We also recognize
when it exists, but our certainty wavers in the moment of having to define
educational quality and, more importantly, how it is achieved.
In spite of the co-existence of various theories, ideas and approaches, all share certain basic concepts that have been corroborated through experience and research:
- One important idea is that improvement in quality is an intentional process that is produced slowly over time. It is not, therefore, an event.
- It has been shown that positive results in education--that is, efficacy--require plans and programs for improving quality. Consequently, improved quality is not the result of spontaneous action, but rather true planning.
- It is known that schools that have implemented a plan for improving quality have made available information regarding what causes certain favorable changes, have learned to evaluate (and self-evaluate) their practices, and have created an identity that allows them to function with autonomy as an organization that learns.
- Finally, it has been observed that the movement towards quality in education is a dynamic and subjective cultural concept that involves a personal awareness of the reality and viability of its transformation.
We move closer then to the central issue facing improvement in quality. It
must be understood that no reform or innovation for promoting quality can be
sustained if it does not have the support and willingness of the people that
make the school. The concept of quality in education requires reflection by
educators on their work, because they are the ones that must promote new and
different educational action and give new meaning to their teaching.
The course “Quality in Basic Education” being offered this month through the Educational Portal of the Americas aspires to train teachers, administrators, supervisors and other professionals in this area. ?
*The ideas, thoughts, and opinions expressed are not necessarily of the OAS nor of its member states. The opinions expressed are the responsibility of the authors.