Defining Quality in Education
A paper presented by UNICEF at the meeting of The International Working Group on Education Florence, Italy June 2000
Working Paper Series Education Section Programme Division United Nations Children's Fund New York, NY, USA
Defining Quality in Education Copyright © 2000 United Nations Children’s Fund 3 United Nations Plaza, H-7 New York, NY 10017 Apublication of UNICEF Programme Division Education Document No. UNICEF/PD/ED/00/02 The principal researcher for this paper was Jeanette Colby, Miske Witt and Associates, for the Education Section, Programme Division, UNICEF New York.
Working Papers are working documents. They present new ideas, innovative approaches, case studies, bibliographies and research results, prepared either by UNICEF staff orby consultants or others supported by UNICEF. Their purpose is to facilitate the rapid exchange of knowledge and perspectives among field offices and to stimulate discussions. The contents of this working paper do not necessarily reflect the policies or the views of UNICEF. The typescript has not been edited to official publications standards, and UNICEF accepts no responsibility for errors. Thedesignations employed in this publication and the presentation of the material do not imply on the part of the United Nations Children’s Fund the expression of any opinion whatsoever concerning the legal status of any country or territory, or of its authorities, or the delimitations of its frontiers.
For further information please contact: The Chief, Education Section, Programme Division UNICEF,3 United Nations Plaza, H-7 New York, New York 10017 USA Tel (1.212) 824.6619 Fax (1.212) 824.6481
During the past decade much has been done globally to provide quality basic education for children, an obligation for the Convention on the Rights of the Child. In reviewing the research literature related to quality in education, UNICEF takes a broader perspective anddemonstrates by this analysis that programmes must encompass a broader definition involving learners, content, processes, environments and outcomes.
Children have a right to an education, a quality education. Quality education includes: Learners who are healthy, well-nourished and ready to participate and learn, and supported in learning by their families and communities;Environments that are healthy, safe, protective and gender-sensitive, and provide adequate resources and facilities; Content that is reflected in relevant curricula and materials for the acquisition of basic skills, especially in the areas of literacy, numeracy and skills for life, and knowledge in such areas as gender, health, nutrition, HIV/AIDS prevention and peace. Processes through which trainedteachers use child-centred teaching approaches in well-managed classrooms and schools and skilful assessment to facilitate learning and reduce disparities. Outcomes that encompass knowledge, skills and attitudes, and are linked to national goals for education and positive participation in society. This definition allows for an understanding of education as a complex system embedded in a political,cultural and economic context. (This paper examines research related to these dimensions). It is important to keep in mind education’s systemic nature, however; these dimensions are interdependent, influencing each other in ways that are sometimes unforeseeable. This paper will be important for UNICEF Education Officers to read as they plan programmes that focus on enhancing the quality of educationprogrammes. Knowledge of what has been done in the name of quality education around the world, and what the outcomes have been, will be useful background information for Programme Planning.
Sadig Rasheed Director Programme Division UNICEF Headquarters, New York October
Defining Quality in Education
In all aspects of the school and its surrounding education...
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