By Malik Younus
For some time now accountability has become the buzzword in the school education system, especially when it comes to the matter of results and test scores (Marks). Everyone seems to have a suggestion about ‘fixing’ education by holding teachers accountable for students’ performance in results and scores. But, we should ask ourselves whether marks are the only way to assess how well the education system are performing and whether teaches are the only ones to blame for low performing systems; and, above all, whether blame itself is the right approach at all.
Providing quality education is not only the responsibility of teachers alone but it is the share responsibility of several stake holders: the Government, schools, parents, media, civil society, international organizations, NGO,s and the private sector.
Teachers, doing a complex and difficult job against many odds ( especially in Kashmir valley), are only one rung in the complex ladder and chain that makes up the education system and hence it is both unfair and short sighted to turn every discussion of the performance of education system into a blame game and apportion responsibility on teachers.
Using poor performance to punish teachers is a bad idea for many reasons, including the risk that it might result in teacher, simply teaching “to the tests and results”. Teaching for merely tests is never a good way to forward any education system, as exam scores by themselves are an inadequate way of assessing the complex process of teaching and not only does an exclusive focus on scores have the risk of leaving weaker students behind. It also leaves academically better -performing students with a narrow understanding of what education is all about.
In the larger context , it is time to talk of accountability with a constructive focus on the role of each stakeholder in the education system: that is, how can we better fund and resources schools, with modern facilities? How can we better train and support our teachers? How can we ensure better community participation in this system? How to remove teacher shortage?
Accountability mechanism should be developed for education systems that are supportive, constructive and focus as much on fundamental issues of access, equity and inclusion as on quality.
—The author teaches Economics at the Secondary Education level. He can be reached at: email@example.com. (Views expressed are personal)