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1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Education is a mechanism which influences the nation’s ability to produce the much needed positive outcomes in all aspects of life. Social change, national integration and development in every country, depend solely on the structure and dynamisms of the country’s educational system. As the nation’s future is built around the four corners of a classroom it is pertinent to ensure quality in material and infrastructural facilities of the school (FME, 2013). It is the responsibility of the educational system to produce the changes and the needs of the society.
Education quality assurance ensures that school processes and practices are carried out according to set standards that bring about improvement in teaching and learning. In practical terms, quality assurance sets the rule, regulation, policies and requirements of infrastructural material, facilities and procedures which are to be adhered to by all schools. It also involves the processes of monitoring, assessing and evaluating according to agreed standards, and communicating judgment obtained to all concerned, in order to ensure quality with integrity, public accountability and consistent improvement in education processes and activities(FME 2010).
The overall goal of quality assurance standards and their enforcement is to sanitize the educational system of the nation from proliferation of substandard institutions particularly at basic education sector of Nigeria. As a result of vast population and limited resources, government alone cannot cater for the educational needs of its citizens without venturing into public private partnership.
Private institutions are undoubtedly providing huge contribution towards improving access and quality in the educational sector. In addition private nursery and primary schools in Nigeria have restructured, advanced, developed, and sustained the educational structure across the nation. Also, privately owned schools across the nation have come up to age in sustainability of educational deliverance with its standards, in compliance with the national standards, such as providing conducive reading and learning environment with laboratories and welfare package of it teachers. The contributions of private owned and established schools cannot be over emphasized.
Although private schools deliver qualitative education, they charge huge and exorbitant fees. However, the standards and quality of these private nursery and primary schools should be checked and monitored by government, or those agencies which control and regulate activities of educational institutions in the nation. The persistent proliferation of private nursery and primary school should be checked to prevent substandard private schools. Every policy which is not regulated is prone to abuse. In recent years, the need to control, monitor and enforce the rules and regulation guiding the public private partnership in ensuring sufficiency in education has been stressed. In addition, agitation has been made for the relevance of addressing issues of quality assurance standards in nursery and primary schools.
Taking into account the persistent proliferation of unequipped private nursery and primary schools across the nation, there is the need to sensitize the public on the Federal Ministry of Education (FME) requirements for quality assurance standards in educational institutions. The FME set rules and regulation, requirement and policy as well as enforce them to ensure compliance, through the office of the Federal Inspectorate Service (FIS). The FIS conduct physical evaluation to ascertain compliance with stated rules and regulation. The FME oversees
its activities of enforcement through its various agencies of the State Ministry of Education (SME) and State Inspectorate Service (SIS). The SIS conducts routine check of already established private schools to inspect teaching and learning facilities, as well as give pass marks to complying private schools and sanction defaulting schools. Before any private educational institution is established, permission must be given by the SME to proprietor along with stated provisions and regulations to be complied with by the private school. The efforts of the Joint Association of Proprietors of Private Schools (JAPPS) has also been recommended by Government, they encourage cooperation through its annual meetings were they converge to share educational experience and contribute to national sustainable education for all. Government has shown concern when the former Minister of Education Professor Rukayyatu Ahmed Rufa’I was quoted in a media interview (NTA the front line) saying that “sustainable education is not the business of the government alone, public private partnership is needed to develop grassroots basic education, while Government serve as a watch dog”. Also the permanent secretary of FME, Professor Afolabi, took it upon himself to conduct regular visit to private schools across the nation to assess competence of teachers.
The quality assurance standards are established by the FME through the FIS. The FIS is an arm of the FME, which serves as a machinery through which government policies are executed. It oversees the improvement, monitoring and development of educational institutions through regular supervision. They ensure effective implementation and execution of government policy through inspection and supervising of private schools in the nation. Before a private institution of learning is set up or established, the school management has to submit a proposal to the SME for approval. The SME processes the proposal by supervising the educational institution’s structure, if it meets the requirement of quality assurance standard as stated in the
requirement compendium of (FME, 2005). It is only when this is done, the educational institution is allowed to operate subject to regular supervision to ensure compliance.
The FME enforces the quality assurance standard through its inspectorate services. The private nursery and primary schools are established based on the result of the external supervisors, who conduct physical inspection for compliance with quality requirement. If the schools default in delivering quality educational requirements, they could be shut down and charged to court for breach of quality educational deliverance.
Having examined the processes and procedures of quality assurance standards, and their enforcement in private nursery and primary schools, it could be seen that all the efforts is in view of improving and providing efficiency in educational institutions, especially basic education institutions that are responsible for laying the foundation of a solid education.
1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
Education is an important agent of national development, and the private sectors makes vital contributions in providing access to it and improving its quality. However, in recent times, there has been public outcry regarding the standard of schools operated by the private sector. This raises a question concerning how standard are enforced in these schools. Therefore, this study will examine quality assurance standards and how they are enforced in private nursery and primary schools in Sokoto metropolis.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The objectives of this study are to;
1. identify the various quality assurance standards for the establishment and management of private schools in Sokoto State.
2. find out the mechanisms for the enforcement of these standards in private schools in Sokoto metropolis.
3. identify the various agencies of the government responsible for enforcement of this standards.
4. find out the problems and challenges of compliance to the stated quality assurance standards and enforcement faced by private schools in Sokoto State.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The following are the questions this research answered:
1. What are the quality assurance standards governing the establishment and management of private schools?
2. To what extent are these quality assurance standards being implemented in private schools in Sokoto metropolis?
3. What are the enforcement mechanisms of quality assurance standards in private school in Sokoto metropolis?
4. Which agencies are responsible for enforcement of such quality assurance standards?
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