Unit 10:Developing Quality Education in a School

Welcome to Unit 10

Let’s start this DIFFERENT type of unit with a short video, watch it now:

The final two units in this module are not about education! They are about CHANGE, changing a teacher, changing a school, changing a whole system.

This is something rarely recognised, since too often ministries of education and even bi-lateral donors think that “education experts” have all of the answers. Well, they don’t!
The ideal combination of inputs to change an education system are certainly an educationalist for the content needed, and an organisational psychologist for the processes needed to make the change happen.
In the next unit you will read a lot more about this, but the short introduction in the video above is from Prof. Michael Fullan, probably the world expert on changing education systems and someone who combines the two roles with education AND organisational expertise.


We need to go back a small step now. Having watched the video and the short note above, read and review the article on our Nepal research into a Quality Education Framework and see what links or associations you can make with the concepts Michael Fullan makes in his video. Just click on the image article to download it.


Some of the connections between Professor Fullan’s video and our research paper are as follows:

  • The need for a goal or direction for any improvement in a school
  • The importance of learning
  • The importance of the Principal being a learner, NOT being an instructor
  • The Principal is a “lead learner”
  • Focus on best pedagogy
  • Consider the whole system, bigger picture
  • Networks of learning, learn together
  • Change is key with effective processes
  • Developing capacity and ownership of teachers

Now lets add a few more things that by instinct we know will be important in developing the quality of education in a school. We are NOT including physical infrastructure things here since we are focusing what happens INSIDE the school:

  • teaching skills
  • an improvement plan
  • teaching process
  • assessment process
  • quality of teachers
  • quality framework
  • teacher commitment
  • lesson planning
  • child centredness
  • etc etc etc

To be fair, you may even have a longer list, and it is therefore no wonder that school, principals and teachers can feel overwhelmed when they are told they must improve! But improvement towards higher quality education MUST be achieved, so the question is HOW to present, implement, and manage it.

To find an answer to this we need to step ahead to changing a WHOLE system, any system, not just an education system. So, let’s look at the word “system” and apply our thinking about it to ANY organisational system.
For example a Bank is an organisational system, a Factory is an organisational system, a Hotel is an organisational system. Adding to this list, a SCHOOL is an organisational system too!

But now let’s move away from the “human business” world and into the natural world and engineering world. Consider the cardiovascular system, a forest as an eco system, a central heating system, an air conditioning system. All of these systems have one major thing in common: They are all made up of components which are connected and completely interdependent.
Think about, and try to write down the components of the cardiovascular system and a forest eco system.

At the beginning of this unit we mentioned the role of organisational psychologists in changing systems, so here is one of the conceptual tools such specialists have used to “understand” organisations:

System Development Change Management

Here are the main features of this tool:

  1. Organisation systems are comprised of 4 major components.
  2. Each component is connected to and dependent upon the other three components.
  3. Try to change something in one component and there will be an effect and need for a corresponding change in one/some of the others.
  4. Strategy gives any organisation its Direction through clear goals and plans
  5. Structure enables Control of an organisation through processes and standards
  6. People provide the Capability needed through defined roles and specific skills
  7. Culture creates Commitment to the organisation through the associated norms and values.

We will return to this general concept in the next unit looking at changing a whole education system, but these 4 components can be used as “boxes” in which to place your long list of items necessary to develop a single school you worked out earlier. Take a look at this:

School Development Change Management

This system model allows us to place and make sense of the Quality Framework giving a direction to the change, the QEI measurement to control the progress of the change, teacher quality and teaching skills giving the capability of delivering the pedagogy process. Overall, commitment will evolve from everyone feeling like they belong to the school being well lead by the principal.

Go back to the beginning of this unit and watch the video of Professor Fullan again thinking about the school as a system and his words about developing the school.

Now download and read two articles by Professor Fullan:

1.Learning Is The Work
2.The Power of the Principal


School Development Approach & Tools

You have now arrived at a point in this module where we can begin to show you some of the approaches and tools we have used over 10 years to develop almost 200 schools in Kathmandu and hundreds of teachers. 

All of the previous units have been essential because they show you the complexity of changing a school which goes far beyond a ministry or department of education providing few training courses! Notice how we use the word “develop” lots of times, much more than we use the word “training”. To follow what comes next you must understand that changing a school or even a whole system needs DEVELOPMENT of many different facets of the system overall. So first take a look at the School Development Programme we created and implemented in Kathmandu; remember it was Given Direction (Strategy) by the Quality Education Framework as a goal, and Controlled (Structure) by the QEI/QEPT and Pedagogy Process.

SDP Flow

The complete programme takes about 6 months of intensive work with the school. Note Box 2 and Box 7 where the school is measured using the QEPT to assess the Quality Education Index of the school overall, and also by the CCI to assess the Child Centred Index via a tool for teacher lesson observations.
Here is a description of each stage:

  1. School Registration involves several meetings with principal, teachers and chairman of the school management committee. In these meetings we would show them a simplified version of the Quality Education Framework, the SDP stages as above, explain each of the courses listed in Boxes 3/6/7, explain how we would work inside the school with them and also engage with parents as in Box 4. By the third meeting all of our standards and rules would be set and everyone involved would be asked to sign a simple document agreeing to them, especially the understanding that failure to turn up for training or not making efforts to change by ANY teacher could result in the school being removed from the programme. This happened, and it would be untruthful to pretend that it didn’t, but it set the tone for the whole of Kathmandu schools who knew that being on this programme was NOT “a free lunch”!
  2. School Assessment has already been mentioned and involved measuring the school’s QEI based on all children in classes 3-6 completing the QEPT, and pedagogy observations being conducted on each teacher registered for the programme. The results are fed back to the school with areas for improvement highlighted, then recorded and stored until month 5/6 for re-measurement.
  3. Foundation is a combination of three training courses which trains teachers and principal in the skills associated with topics including education psychology, values as school citizenship, lesson planning, classroom resource creation, facilitation skills, the values for children process, formative assessment, creating the “sunny classroom”. The duration of each course is shown and there is around two weeks between each course with teachers required to implement and practice in between each course.
  4. In School now involved a member of our highly skilled staff working in each school for 2 days each week. With 8 staff we could effectively develop up to 20 schools in a batch where the key activities included acting as a model teacher to demonstrate best practice/technique in running lessons, observing and coaching teachers in child centred learning, advising the principal on implementation, running workshops for parent groups on education topics, helping teachers create classroom resources from recycled materials, and ……….. running English Language clubs at lunchtimes for teachers.
  5. Advanced is a stage where teachers who are ready can take specialist courses based on their specific role or duty in the school. Each item in Box 5 is a course run by one of our experts and attended by teachers who are clearly implementing the new basic skills from Foundation. Each advanced course takes the basic skills and processes from Foundation and adds them to specialisms of maths, English, phonics etc etc.
  6. School Improvement is a phase where our team work closely and exclusively with the school principal and chairman. Each item in this period links EXACTLY with the Quality Education Framework. Leadership is a 6 days action learning programme for principals, Governance is a 1 day course for pairs of principal/chairman, and Governance Assessment is a detailed tool plus workshop for a school assessment on its governance procedures and standards. NONE of these items will work without the Quality Education Framework which is complete reinforcement of the systems approach and change management diagram shown earlier.
  7. School Assessment is a repeat after 6 months of the measurement conducted in Box 2 so the QEI and CCI are reassessed for improvement.



Some Tools:

We hope you enjoyed and gained from seeing this detailed development programme. There is still more to come but if you have questions at this stage just contact us qegregister@gmail.com or using the Contact page on our website.

Now here are some direct copies of some of the tools mentioned in the programme:

  1. The Quality Education Perception Test (QEPT)
  2. The QEPT Scoring Template

And here is the Child Centred Index tool used for pedagogy observation, but not the measurement process ………… yet.

Pedagogy Assessment

This pedagogy observation tool was developed and used by Sangita Thapa/Bandhari in her MPhil research and was based on some accepted features of child centred teaching/learning in the classroom. In turn this flows from part of UNICEFs Child Centred Development mandate from Unit 1, remember it? So here are some of those features used to design this tool:
Screen Shot 2016-02-04 at 08.10.48The final tool to show you is a series of stages we eventually realised that ALL schools were going through. This is not a theoretical model, it is what we actually observed and began to use to guides in treating each school differently depending on its Stage of Development. At regular intervals an NSA Education Tutor would monitor the school and judge its position and need on this model. A short term improvement plan would then be written with the principal and implemented.
School Development Stages

And now finally remember these two items from earlier showing what such a programme can achieve in poorly resourced schools in the developing world, how quality CAN be improved using a defined framework and a measurement tool, and clearly relating pedagogy in the classroom to the quality measured:

Screen Shot 2016-02-02 at 10.46.16

QEI vs Pedagogy

So in conclusion, consider how all of the items in Units 1-9 have led to this and how school development MUST work with the school being treated as a system with 4 key components. You will need a real grasp of this to understand some of the materials in the next unit: Before you click, how about writing a feedback comment on our Home Page or Courses Page?

Unit 11: Developing Quality Education of a Whole System