THE ROLE OF QUALITY ASSURANCE AND STANDARDS OFFICERS IN ENHANCING QUALITY EDUCATION AND STANDARD PERFORMANCE IN SELECTED PUBLIC SECONDARY SCHOOLS OF ISOKA DISTRICT.
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The purpose of this study was to assess the role of Quality Assurance and Standards Officer‟s in enhancing quality education and standard performance in public secondary schools in Isoka District in Muchinga Province, with a view of finding out how QASO‟s supervisory role enhances the quality of education and standard performance through frequency of carrying out monitoring. The study objectives were; to assess the role Quality Assurance and Standards Officers play in enhancing quality education and standard performance in selected secondary schools in Isoka. The other concern was that of challenges and opportunities encountered by Quality Assurance and Standards Officers during inspection and monitoring in secondary schools. Thirdly, to establish strategies Ministry of Education would put in place to curb challenges faced by Standards Officers. Finally, to assess the impact of standards officers made by frequent visit to schools. The study employed a descriptive survey designed to target all theQuality Assurance and Standards Officers (QASOs), teachers and head teachers of all the five (5) selected public secondary schools. Purposive sampling was used to select forty (40) teachers, twenty eight (28) heads of departments, five (5) head teachers and four District Education Standards Officers to accurately represent the population earmarked for study giving a total of 77participants out of the total number of 105 teachers in the five schools under study. A case study approach was used in conducting this research. Thereby, interview schedules, documentary and focus group discussion guide were used for data collection. Before the actual data collection, a pilot study was carried out to help improve the validity and reliability of the instruments. The research yielded data that required qualitative analysis. Therefore, the researcher sought to use qualitative method in the collection of data for the study. Qualitative data was analysed thematically in line with the research questions. Then the results of data analysis were presented using frequency tables. The main findings of the study indicated that very little was being done in the area of public secondary schools being monitored by District Standards Officers. Reports by Quality Assurance and Standards Officers revealed that teaching and learning materials were not easily available for use as the case for the revised curriculum by the government. Nevertheless, the study established that QASO‟s supervision and monitoring had a positive impact towards enhancing quality education and standard performance in the education system. The study established that the exercise helped both head teachers and teachers to perform their duties more effectively and also became better educators. The major roles played by QASO‟s duringcurriculum supervision (monitoring) were visiting teachers in the classroom to observe their teaching methodologies; checking lesson preparations and records and ensuring teachers have adequate teaching and learning materials. Regarding the extent to which QASO‟s activities addresses the challenges in the schools, the study concludes that the major activities that QASO‟s in Isoka district were engaged in monitoring and advising schools on academic performance, curriculum delivery and assessment. However, the results of the analysis revealed that majority of the QASOs were not engaging in monitoring and advising schools on environmental conservation and school provision of career guidance. The major challenges experienced by QASOs while carrying out their roles were poor transport system, inadequate directorate of quality assurance and standards staffs, lack of qualified personnel in thedirectorate and teachers‟ negative attitude towards the officers. Finally, the study concludes that without proper supervision (monitoring) by the QASOs, the education system will be jeopardized and its implications will lead to poor quality education and standard performance in the system. The study recommended that the Ministry of General Education should allocate more funds towards recruitment of the QASOs to curb the problem of under staffing in the district. QASOs should visit schools more frequently for monitoring and also embark on a follow-up mechanism in order to ensure that their recommendations are implemented among other recommendations.
The University of Zambia