To begin with, it is important to review what education means as well as some of the qualities of a good education system. While reviewing this information, there will be an attempt to look at the purpose of education and whether the current system fulfils some, if not all, of these purposes. In this report, the process of developing an education system will be analyzed in an attempt to show that a flawed process is the reason behind calls for changes.
The challenges facing the present system will be reviewed using reports or research articles that address this matter and will attempt to identify some of the challenges that the system encounters. It will also be important to identify some of the reasons why the education system needs to be changed. To ensure that the report makes an impact, some suggestions will be offered on how to improve the education system while still ensuring that it meets its goals. This will provide the necessary background information regarding the present education system.
Education and Qualities of a Good Education System
Clatton (2009) defines education as the process of training and developing a person’s knowledge, character and mind through formal schooling. He further associates education with offering instructions and directions on various matters. One of the characteristics of a good education is that it leads to the development of character. According to Clatton (2009), education should develop one’s inner system which enables them to distinguish right and wrong. He further argues that a good education should be able to develop a person’s moral character and judgment. Another quality of a good education is that it develops a person’s livelihood skills.
Education should adequately prepare a person to become independent by equipping them with life skills and training in their respective fields of interest. A good education ensures that a person’s development is molded to fit their culture. This is due to the fact that education is perceived to be a means of passing on culture, or improving it, with each passing generation.
A good education system on the other hand is easily accessible to everybody regardless of their social status and financial background. It extensively covers all aspects of training i.e. preschool, basic schooling, technical and professional training. It should be flexible and capable of incorporating industry changes in its curriculum. When it comes to eradicating illiteracy, a good system takes a comprehensive approach that encompasses social integration and economic opportunity (Acedo, 2012).
It is in light of the above qualities, that critics say the current the education system needs a major overhaul. The first argument is that the education system has failed to offer adequate moral guidance and has abandoned this responsibility to religious institutions and other organizations. The liberalization of education systems has been blamed for this trend and that is why critics believe that in order to effectively incorporate moral studies into the education system in a manner that is more than ’being politically correct’, then a lot of policies need to be changed.
Employers have complained that the education system responds too slowly to industry needs. This is why they have to do job trainings and incur other extra costs to prepare employees for their tasks. Some human resource professionals are of the opinion that education systems need to be more specialized in order to meet industry needs. They have also noted that the system emphasizes too much on theoretical studies rather than practical studies.
This is particularly true when you consider that a number of training programs no longer emphasize on industrial attachment as part of their course content. It has gone to the extent that projects are no longer mandatory and students are offered the chance to take on an extra unit instead of going to the field and conduct a full research. Many critics believe that this ‘over-simplification’ of the curriculum is a failure of the current education system and, therefore to address such issues, the system needs a major overhaul.
The cost of education has been on the rise over the last decade. This has made higher education and technical training inaccessible to some people, contravening the fact that education systems need to be easily accessible, as education is a human right. The inefficiencies of the current system together with its failure to reign on unethical practices have made education costly. The current system is highly bureaucratic such that effecting any meaningful change is met with too many unnecessary protocols and procedures. The system needs to be simplified. To do so, the education system needs to be changed.
Ignoring the importance of school quality has had an adverse effect on the country’s economy (Hanushek, 2009). Looking at results from education performance standardized tests, the higher a system scores, the more likely it is to produce qualified personnel who are bound to earn more. This means that, knowledge has a huge impact on the economy. The current system is not doing enough to encourage education for the purposes of knowledge. Too much emphasis is placed on passing exams. This has compromised education for the purposes of knowledge. Instead people are keener on passing exams, than understanding concepts and building knowledge.
Process of Developing an Education System
High challenges, support and aligned incentives are what usually characterize high performing educations systems. In order to create a high performing education system it is important to begin by mapping out issues. Doing so allows the education system to become more inclusive. When mapping out issues, education experts need to identify the education needs of the country and attempt to align them with global educational needs. This is an era where the effects of globalization cannot be ignored. Therefore, it is advisable for a country’s education system to have some global perspective. The policies and practices developed should be applicable in multiple contexts. The purpose of such a move is to ensure that the system does not lose focus.
The second step involves developing practices that are inclusive. According to Ainscow (2002), inclusive practices are attempts to find out ways to overcome barriers that hinder student participation in an effort to improve the quality of education. This stage demands the input of all stakeholders. This process must take into consideration social process and practices. It requires that all stakeholders share the same agenda.
The last step of the process involves anticipating future education and system needs. This will ensure that the system is able to adopt changes as well as respond to emerging education needs.
This process is crucial in ensuring that the education system is highly responsive to education needs. Failure to develop inclusive practices seems to be one the reasons why the current education system is facing a lot of criticisms. The system as it is does not make any deliberate effort to encourage the participation of students in improving education standards. Their role is limited to that of receiving training. Other stakeholders are also not adequately involved when developing the education system. The opinion of industry experts, economists and other professionals are useful in anticipating future educational needs. Their contributions are likely to broaden the perspectives of education experts.
The fact that the education system has allowed for the ‘over simplification’ and commercialization of education means that it is no longer as challenging as it used to be. Highly challenging systems are meant to raise the expectations for student achievement well as that of tutors, lecturers and other institutional heads. The watered down school curriculum does not offer such a challenge. This is why critics are advocating for a system change. They are of the opinion that a new system will offer more support and incentives that encourage a culture of high expectations
Challenges Facing the Current Education System
Poverty is one of the challenges that education systems have to encounter (Hay, 2013). Student and members of the teaching profession face numerous financial constraints that cause them to underperform. It follows that the underperformance reflects negatively on the education system.
In terms of resources, the current system is overwhelmed by the large number of people who are seeking higher education. New schools are not being built fast enough to meet the growing demand for education. This has placed undue strain on classroom size. The student population size has been growing beyond capacities leading to a drop in performance. Studies carried out show that there is a strong correlation between student performance and classroom size. Findings from these studies have revealed that reducing the class room size at all educational levels increases student performance
Technology has had an impact on every aspect of our lives including education. The use of technology can be equally constructive or destructive (Hay, 2013). Advancements in IT have enabled education systems manage its operations more effectively while on the other hand, increased access to internet has seen students focus less on their studies. This negative consequence has forced educators to search for a middle ground when introducing technologies in an attempt to ensure that it does not compromise the standards of education
Lack of parental involvement is posing a serious challenge to the education system. Elish-Piper (2008) observes that the involvement of parents in their children’s education results in better performance. Many parents are reluctant to go to their children’s schools due their own past school experiences. Parents do not feel that their contributions are valued or appreciated. The student information system is one way of encouraging parental participation. It helps to keep track of parents and encourage them to attend their child’s school meetings.
How to improve the education system
Cummings (2008) suggests that, to improve the current education system one needs to take a new management approach when dealing with change in education systems. An inclusive approach is the way to go and should be encouraged. This in turn is expected to shift the behavior of teachers. This can be achieved if management offers teacher’s opportunities to advance their careers as well as provide career-long professional education opportunities. The command structure needs to be revised in order for it to encourage an open door policy. Teachers, students and other stakeholders need to be provided with an opportunity to raise critical educational issues immediately. This will protect the system from having to deal with unexpected scenarios, as and when, they arise.
It is also important that effective continuous improvement tools are adopted. Educators need to be appraised as often as possible to ensure that they are receiving the necessary support and are being well motivated.
Educators need to come up with creative ways of teaching and fostering student participation. This will ensure that learning is not only for the purpose of passing examinations but also to gain knowledge. This in turn will help economies grow, which is a positive reflection of the system’s abilities.
Students ought to be engaged more often. This will help them build their analytical and research skills. Their class work should be project based, covering a wide range of issues. This is expected to deepen their understanding, and ensure that the systems develop highly qualified personnel, who are ready for the job market.
Students need to be encouraged to take more difficult tasks in a bid to raise expectations (Acedo, 2012). More emphasis should be placed on practical learning compared to theoretical learning. Doing so ensures that students are equipped with the right job skills. More apprenticeship opportunities need to be availed to students. This will enable them grow their professional experience and thus improve the credibility of the education system.
It is important that the system adopts simple technologies in its operations. This will modernize the current curriculum, change the way students submit their assignments, and encourage innovative practices in education. The administration can easily manage its resources and communicate with other stake holders on educational matters.
It is time that the community gets involved in educational matters. The community is the custodian of culture, which is one of qualities of a good education system. Partnering with faith based organizations, instead of leaving the task entirely to them, may address the issues of morality and the education system. Partnering with businesses will avail internship opportunities for the students. Business leaders could be quite instrumental in ensuring that the systems are up to speed with the labor market requirements.
It is evident that there are valid reasons why the current education system needs to change. There are those who believe that the education system no longer addresses the purpose of education. Their arguments are based on the qualities of a good education system as well as the how, during the education development process, a few factors were not considered. These two arguments have been well elaborated in this report. The report has also addressed some of the challenges that the education system faces. It has offered a few simple suggestions on how to make it better.
Acedo, C. (2012). Quality and Qualities: Tensions in Education Reforms: Tensions in Education Reforms. Rotterderm: Sense Publishers. Web.
Ainscow, M. (2002). Using research to encourage the development of inclusive practices. Making Special Education Inclusive. London: Fulton. Web.
Clater, T. (2009). A Good Education. Harrisburg, Keystone Christian Education Publications. Web.
Cummings, K. (2008). Policy-Making for Education Reform in Developing Countries: Policy options and strategies. London: R & L Education. Web.
Elish-Piper, L. (2008). Parent involvement in reading. Illinois Reading Council Journal, 36(2), 44-50. Web.
Hanushek, A. (2009). High Quality Education: Elements and Implication. Web.
Hay, B. (2013). Top 10 Problems Facing Public Education in America. Web.