September 30, 2007
Quality Assurance in the Teaching and Examination of Vocational and Technical Education in Nigeria
By Idialu, E Ethel
The vital role of Vocational and Technical Education in the production of skilled and competent manpower for economic, industrial and social development cannot be achieved if an efficient and effective teaching and examination is not maintained. Therefore, this paper examines the objectives of Vocational and Technical Education in Nigeria, factors militating against quality teaching and examination of Vocational and Technical Education, quality assurance in the teaching and Examination of Vocational and Technical Education. Recommendations were also made to improve the quality of teaching and examination of vocational and technical education. INTRODUCTIONVocational education can be described as the aspect of education, which is concerned, with the preparation of skilled manpower. It is a form of Education, training or retraining which is directed towards developing the learner to become productive in a paid employment or in self-employment. It is therefore the bedrock in which a country's socio - economic, technological and cultural advancement must be built. Sandstone (1973) reported that Vocational Education enhances opportunities for all types of learning. This type of education has the economic role of providing qualified manpower demanded by changing the individual and in enabling him to use complex technology. The emphasis therefore, is not only on the provision of skilled manpower for a static economy but also continuing to do so for a dynamic one, especially with changing societal needs for technological advancement.
To achieve the national objectives, and the objectives of vocational and technical education in Nigeria there is the need to ensure good quality in the teaching and evaluation of students is crucial to helping students in high academic standards, improving of quality and examination of vocational and technical education has become very necessary because most people who pass through training in this type of education are unable to perform adequately as they ought to, unemployment has become so rampart, and poverty has engulf most of them.
In order to ensure high quality in the teaching and examination, and improved learning in vocational and technical education. It is essential that the children, have opportunities to learn from teachers whom they meet, and continue to demonstrate throughout their career, rigorous professional standards. The attainment of high standard of teaching and examination is an on-going process that deals with pre-service education, initial credentialing, monitoring, professional development and re-certification. The overall goal of quality teaching and examination in vocational education is to improve opportunities for high quality learning which evaluated through performance. Vocational and technical education has the following functions:
The functions as stated in the new National policy on education (1981) include the following:
1. To provide manpower in applied science, technology and commerce particularly at sub-professional levels.
2. To provide the Technical knowledge and vocational skills necessary for Agriculture, Industrial, Commercial, and economic development.
3. To provide people who can apply scientific knowledge to the improvement and solution of environmental problems for the convenience of man.
4. To give an introduction to professional studies in engineering and other technologies.
5. To give training and impart the necessary skills leading to the production of craftsmen, technicians, and other skilled personnel who will be enterprising and self-reliant, and to enable young men and women to have an intelligent understanding of the increasing complexity of technology.
Vocational and technical education cannot function properly unless there is high quality in the teaching and examination of student in vocational and technical education. With the introduction of the new national policy on education, namely the 6-3-3-4 system, teachers, students and even the public at large have become aware of the need to develop necessary usable skills required to operate our various industries. The school subjects are offered with the aim of training the students in various skills. Osuji (2004) highlighted that government strongly believes that the objectives of job creation and poverty reduction can only be realized through appropriate education which empowers the products of the education system with skills and competencies to become self employed. This hope of the federal government can only be true and realized only if the vocational subjects are well taught in our secondary schools and tertiary institutions.
In Nigeria, vocational and technical education is however offered in the Junior and Senior Secondary levels and on successful completion of the senior secondary, students can proceed to specialized areas in tertiary institutions. At the junior secondary level subjects such as Introductory Technology, Practical Agriculture, Home Economics and Business Studies are offered as pre vocational subjects. At the senior secondary school level subjects such as Agricultural science, metal work, Electronics, Technical Drawing, Woodwork, Auto Mechanics, Books keeping, Typewriting, Food and Nutrition, Clothing and Textiles, and Home Management are expected to conform with the general objectives of technical education in the country as indicated in the national policy on education.
Quality can be described as standards of something as compared to other things that is the degree of goodness or excellence. High quality teaching / instruction and examination can be regarded as the goodness or effectiveness in teaching which can result in the student learning and satisfaction. Quality teaching / examination ensures that candidates possess the knowledge, skills, and competences that are appropriate for their area of responsibility. These include standards that ensures teachers that know the subjects they teach and how to teach them to the students, understand how children learn and what to do when they are having difficulty, and that they will be able to use effective teaching methods for those who are learning easily, as well as those who have special needs. There is the need to have teaching standards and develop challenging examinations to document and recognize accomplished teaching. It is very clear that the overall goal in ensuring quality is to improve opportunities for high quality learning. The assessment of teaching quality is an on - going, multi - dimensional process which should be based on process and products.
Factors Affecting Quality Teaching / Examination in Vocational and Technical Education
Vocational and technical education programmes are designed for people who can profit and progress by it, in order to accomplish this outcomes quality must be the watchword. Quality teaching and examination of vocational and technical subjects in our schools must be paramount. Unfortunately, the teaching and examination of vocational and technical subjects in schools is faced with numerous problems. Some of these problems are poor organization and slow pace of implementation.
Those who formulated the National Policy on Education had a clear vision of an intended mission that is vocationalising the school system particularly at the secondary school level. Unfortunately the programme is bedeviled by organisational and implementation problems. According to Akamobi (2005) most secondary school principals are products of general education, which brings about problems in the implementation of vocational education policies. These general education principals will definitely give priority to their own type of education before considering vocational education and this action to a great extent will reflect in the quality of the vocational education system.
Shortage of Qualified Personnel
Shortage of qualified personnel is a very serious problem in vocational and technical education in Nigeria. The need for technical manpower in the present stage of development is very important as one strive towards being a self reliant nation, no meaningful development can take place without a conscious effort to develop manpower. Most of the graduates from our numerous vocational and technical institutions do not like to teach, they prefer to work in the industry, and those who are ready to teach are most of the time not employed and so they become unemployed. The effect of this is that some vocational subjects are not offered in schools, while some are offered and taught by unqualified teachers. For example, teaching of Home Economic by English teacher, this can greatly affect the quality of teaching and examination of the students.
Lack of Equipment and Infrastructural Facilities for Teaching and Learning
The shortage of equipment and facilities can affect the quality of teaching and learning, quality diminishes when the facilities required for imparting and learning are inadequate or at times not available. Olaitan (1996) remarked that the condition under which vocational education is imparted is poor. Most Secondary schools and tertiary institutions lack equipment for training, lack workshop and workshop facilities, have ill - equipped laboratories and libraries. Vocational technical education is the type of education that prepares its recipients for the world of work and so the student are supposed to be exposed to a work environment which will enable them to fit in and outside the school environment. Low Level of Funding
The low level of funding of Vocational Technical Education has been a problem in the implementation of quality teaching and examination of Vocational Technical Education in Nigerian Schools and Colleges. The strict implementation of this type of Education will remain elusive without competent Vocational Technical Teachers, many of the institutions of higher learning producing Vocational Technical Teachers due to low level of funding, lack equipments, accommodation, (Workshops), training materials and money for maintenance of equipment. Ebenebe (1991) called on the government to increase the funding, of Technical Education by stating that "for technical institutions to perform their educational and training assignments properly and thus produce the right calibre of people that can win the respect of industry and public, they need to be adequately equipped Vocational Technical Education is practical oriented, the absence of equipments and facilities due to poor funding is bound to affect the competence of the products and subsequently the implementation of the vocationalising of the secondary schools.
Poor Societal Attitude
This is concerned with the poor image of Vocational Technical Education in the eyes of Nigerian public. The new policy document on education in section 6, subsection 47 recognizes the general public attitude, which regard technical education as somewhat inferior to other types of education. According to Gambo (1980), there is still a strong tendency towards white collar jobs as a result of low status associated with most kind of Vocational and technical Education. Most parents want their children to be medical doctors, accountants, lawyers, administrators and good politicians. The attitude of people towards Vocational and technical Education contributes to the problems in the teaching of Vocational and technical Education. In schools, the teacher could be teaching people who are not interested in the subject that is being taught.
Poor Remuneration of Vocational Technical Teachers
This is a serious problem affecting quality in most states in Nigeria teachers salaries, allowances, entitlements are always paid in arrears at times they are denied of these entitlements. This poor remuneration is responsible for the poor attitude to work of some teachers, they go about doing their private businesses instead of concentrating on how to improve teaching and learning in the school. The factor, also render Vocational Teachers ineffective and affect quality teaching.
Poor Administration and Supervision of Vocational Technical Education Programmes
Poor administration and supervision hinder the effective development of Vocational Education. There is lack of co-ordination between the various federal and state Agencies responsible for the administration of vocational education programmes. This lack of co- ordination has resulted in costly duplication of efforts and inability to design vocational curricula for the Nigerian youth. (Osuala, 1981).
Poor Assessment Methods
The Education of Vocational Education in schools still consists of the cognitive aspect of learning instead of psycho-productive indicators. The assessment of student in this type of education should be both practical and theory which will enable them function properly in the society. This assessment should be an on - going process.
Quality assurance in the Teaching and Examination of Vocational and Technical Education in Nigeria
Students are exposed to Vocational Technical Education subjects in the secondary school that is in their junior and senior secondary schools, most of the time they do not continue with vocational education, this could be as a result of problems identified. There is the need to ensure continuity in the teaching and examination of Vocational Technical Subjects in Schools at all levels. In order to ensure quality the following strategies can be employed.
Emphasis Should Be On Competency: Skill acquisition by vocational teachers must be consistent. Only those who have demonstrate not only performance at examinations but also competency should be the ones to teach such skills. You can only give what you have which implies that you teach what you know or can perform.
Teacher Education Programme
For quality assurance in teaching and examination of students in vocation technical studies there is the need to have high quality teachers who are ready to impart high quality knowledge, skills competencies that are required in vocational technical education. This can be referred to a person who can teach Vocational and technical Education effectively. Teacher Education should aim at producing high quality teachers who are well equipped with variety and effective ways of teaching in and out of school setting. There should also be opportunity to train the untrained, and retrain the trained". A system of feedback should be devised to monitor deficiencies present in Vocational Teachers, and effort made to remedy such lapses through seminars, workshops, in services, training, etc.
Change Negative Public Attitude
The present government efforts should be geared towards raising the vocational teacher's socio-economic status. The public or society should also strive to boost teachers status there should be an increasing public awareness of the importance of technical vocational education and what role it is expected to play in the nation's technological development.
Re - Training the Trainer
Economic needs, the emerging societal needs are many and varied. New equipment, machines and texts are needed daily to meet the ever complex industrial demands. New equipments in the area of educational technology are required to impart useful usable skills, in all of these the vocational teacher's skills of today may not meet tomorrow's demands for technical progress. There are a lot of current skills and knowledge which creates a need to retrain the teacher on - the - job training necessary for the success of today's vocational and technical Education teacher.
Motivation of Teachers
Teachers in Vocational Technical Education should be motivated to enjoy the profession rather than enduring in it their salaries, allowances and all their entitlements like promotions in service - training should be given to them as at when due. The vocational teacher should be encouraged in order to ensure this optimum performance of the job which will ensure quality teaching in schools.
Provision of Facilities
To teach vocational education effectively, there must be adequate provision of facilities in terms of space, equipments, to ensure quality education in Vocational and Technical Education. The training environment should be like the work environment. Teaching with real materials and real situation can help to encourage the students to learn and also enhance quality.
According to Blanton (1983) in Akamobi (2005) there is a limit to improvisation. Teaching with real materials perform the following functions:
a. They enable the teacher to provide a variety of learning experiences for students thereby adding interest to instructional programmes and thus increasing effectiveness.
b. They help speed up the learning process and make it more pleasant for the students.
c. They prevent the pooling of ignorance.
d. They help to involve students in the participation in their own learning. The use of adequate training facilities real materials and good training environment will arouse the interest of the students.
Adequate Funding Of Vocational Education
Vocational technical education need to be funded adequately to enable the programme achieve its aim of ensuring quality in Education. The funding needs of Voca- tional Technical Education are quite enormous and they need to be addressed promptly, these needs includes the purchase of equipment and materials for Teaching, maintenance of equipment, funding of student's work experience programme, payment of allowances to vocational technical teachers. The government should provide funds for vocational education to have a meaning in the country. Effort should also be made by the schools to generate funds through the Parent Teacher Association, various communities, and vocational education departments.
Administration and Supervision of Schools and Colleges
The Administration of technical schools, Vocational departments in institutions should be in the hands of professionals in vocational education, most of time in Nigeria, the headship of these vocational institutions are often placed in the hand of leaders in general education. All secondary schools in the country, offer pre- vocational subjects, and vocational technical subjects. The principals of these schools should be educated through periodic workshops and seminars. This in turn can greatly enhance quality vocational education in our schools and colleges.
Create High Quality Induction Programs for Beginning Teachers
Beginning teachers who have access to intensive monitoring by expert colleagues are likely to remain and contribute their best in the profession, these expert monitors can spend time to coach beginners in their First year on the job. These young teachers not only stay in the profession but become competent more quickly than those who must learn by trial and error.
The following recommendations are made
1. The federal, state and local government should assist in the development of Vocational and Technical Education in Schools and colleges.
2. The welfare of Vocational Teachers should be paramount in the mind of all stakeholders. Payment of salaries allowance, promotions etc. should be attended to without delay. 3. Provision should be made for in-service training and re-training of teachers to equip them with new ideas, knowledge and skills.
4. Teacher should prepare for their lessons and make use of real or concrete materials as teaching aids for students.
5. The government should make it a point of duty to fund and provide the necessary facilities and equipment for Vocational and technical Education in all levels of Vocational/TechnicalEducation.
6. The community, Agencies and organizations should always be ready to assist and co-operate with schools through donations, levies etc.
This paper highlights and discusses in detail strategies for achieving quality in the teaching and examination of vocational and technical education. The quality of vocational education will have no meaning if the factors highlighted above such as funding, teacher motivation, and infrastructure are not given considerable attention by stakeholders in the education industry. For quality teaching in vocational education to take place all hands must be on deck.
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Olaitan, S.O. (1996): Vocational and Technical Education in Nigeria: Issues and Analysis Issues and Analysis, Onitsha: Noble Graphics Press.
Osuala, E.C. (1981) Foundations of Vocational Education: Calabar, Centaur Press
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Sandstrom, L.C. (1973): The Role of Vocational and Technical Education in Economic Development of Nigeria in the problems of Vocational Technical Education. Summer Workshop, University of Nigeria NSUKKA p. 11-27.
Ulinfun, F.E. (1993) Some Emerging Issues and Problems of Vocational Technical Teacher Education in Nigeria. In Vocational / Technical Education and self - Reliance Vol 1 - 4 University of Nigeria Nsukka.
E. ETHEL IDIALU
Department of Vocational and Technical Education
Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma
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