New ranking scheme for schools
-management key focus
February 27, 2004
The Ministry of Education has launched a new scheme that will rank and give special awards to public schools throughout the country.
Nursery, Primary, Secon-dary and Practical Instruction Centres in the Public School System will be subjected to an Annual School Effective Ranking and Awards Scheme in order to improve educational performance across the country, according to Edu-cation Minister, Dr. Henry Jeffrey at a press briefing yesterday.
Even as the ministry seeks to motivate staff to improve overall performance and work more closely with their communities, it is implementing the new initiative to assess the effectiveness of schools.
According to Jeffrey, the ministry has designed user-friendly instruments which would be used to measure the extent to which schools implement the policies, adhere to the required procedures and practices while utilising available resources in pursuit of educational goals.
Touching on the internal assessment process, Jeffrey said that staff would be able to evaluate the progress of their own performance in terms of such criteria as efficiency in the management of human resources, learning support material, planning, supervision, staff development, community alliances, physical environment, attendance and punctuality, academic performance and supervision.
Consequently, schools will conduct self-audits each term and the entire staff would be responsible for improvement.
Jeffrey also stressed that the new system is focused on management within schools and strong emphasis will be placed on administrators measuring their own managerial and supervisory practices.
To ensure a standard approach to the assessment, the minister pointed out that a corresponding manual with clear guidelines for use of the instruments would be given to each school.
Schools will have to ensure that all essential records are maintained for the assessments to be done.
Meanwhile, external assessors will use an instrument developed by the ministry to conduct summative evaluations. A four-point rating scale and a percentage scale will be used to determine the extent to which the school's operations meet the standards set by the ministry.
The result of each school will be placed on a table regionally and subsequently nationally.
The minister noted also that the assessment team will comprise officers of the Department of Education, a Regional Education Commit-tee representative and a Parent-Teacher Association representative.
Schools that are yet to come on par with high-achieving schools at examinations have much-needed space for improvement and stand to benefit from the new initiative, according to Jeffrey.
He said that the Rating Scale would not reflect solely on that part of the education system that excels but also on schools that are often categorised outside of the top achievers list at regional examinations.
The ministry will rank schools annually and distribute awards. Each Educational District will have Rank Order Tables which have been developed for each sector and points will be awarded based on effectiveness.
Jeffrey said that this new approach to assessment would enable education officers to easily identify the management weaknesses in schools and initiate insightful interventions for enhanced performance.
Regional Democratic Councils will be tasked with publicising the Rank Order Tables. It is expected, Jeffrey said, that the table of ranking and award will provide the basis for institutional and public pressure for improved performance in schools.
The ministry is considering awarding schools with a monetary sum, the minister added.