Analysis of the management of the quality of education: persistent problems and ways to solve them
For the past five years, IIEP-UNESCO Dakar’s Education Quality Management Support Programme, with technical and financial support from the French Development Agency (AFD), has been assisting participating countries in diagnosing their education quality management practices. Burkina Faso, Niger, Madagascar and Senegal have already completed this exercise and the support is currently being extended to Burundi, Cameroon, Côte d'Ivoire and Togo. Let’s take a look at the initial results.
Improving implementation capacities
How do education systems actors manage the quality of education in basic education? Research conducted by the program found that while countries are relatively good at making diagnoses, the challenge lies mainly in their capacity to implement what is planned and in their ability to learn from past experiences.
Countries tend to change their policies when the desired objectives are not achieved, without paying sufficient attention to the issues of monitoring implementation, assessing the effects of the action and regulation. However, continuing to carry out reforms without improving the capacity of education systems to carry out these two management functions will not bring more results, as it is clear that in the end, what is planned is not implemented.
Acting at all levels of the system
The initial results also show that the challenges within education are different depending on whether one is at the central level of the system or at the decentralized level. It is often expected that all decentralized actors apply the same practices, regardless of the different contexts of the territories under their responsibility. This creates discomfort and resistance and, in the long run, significantly hinders the implementation of education policies. Promoting dialogue between the different levels of the education system therefore appears to be a real necessity.
The results also show that for a long time, education support has mainly targeted the strengthening actors’ skills at the central level. Very little attention has been paid to actors at the decentralized levels to enable them to perform their function effectively, even though they are a key link in the chain of education policy implementation.
Addressing persistent issues
Analyzing the routine practices of actors at all levels of the education system has revealed five persistent issues that cut across the entire education system, but whose challenges are perceived differently at the central and local levels. These are
- The use of evaluation data to improve quality management
- The strengthening of pedagogical support systems
- Facilitating dialogue and consultation within the education system
- Supporting the decentralization process and community mobilization
- Identifying and promoting innovations in education
Based on these issues, the programme has identified a series of priority areas to work on. By acting on and from the real practices of the actors, the proposed approach aims to determine new working and collaboration methods in education systems in the long term. Helping stakeholders to diagnose and regulate their practices at all levels is the central issue on which IIEP's quality management support programme action-research intends to add value to provide access for all to inclusive, quality education.
A summary report of the results will be available in the first half of 2023.