By Kampala Post Reporter
The First Lady and Minister of Education and Sports Mrs. Janet Museveni has agreed with a recommendation to adopt and roll out the new inspection methodology based on robust observational evidence to provide a better foundation for school improvement.
The new approach emphasizes that learner achievement is what matters in any school and prioritizes attendance by both teachers and learners, quality classroom teaching, the behavior and safety of learners and the impact of leadership on school quality and learning outcomes.
Mrs. Janet Museveni, flanked by the State Minister for Higher Education Dr. J.C. Muyingo, on Friday held a briefing meeting with Richard Brooks an Inspection and Accountability expert who is also a former Director of Strategy from England’s School Inspectorate Ofsted together with senior staff from her Ministry’s inspection team about the pilot project that was carried out in June this year to test the new inspection approach in 40 sampled Secondary Schools in Masaka District.
The pilot project that was facilitated by the UK Department for International Development (DFID) originated from Mrs. Janet Museveni’s meeting with Ark Education Partnership Group on the sidelines of the Education World Forum in London in January 2017, where she expressed the desire to reform school inspection in Uganda as a way to improve school quality.
Janet Museveni agreed with the recommendation for Inspection judgements to always have both positive and negative consequences so that those teachers who go against the ethical standards, those that perform badly and those that attend refresher courses and fail to put in practice what they are taught are penalized and to motivate those who do a good job.
She pointed out the need to continuously empower the teachers to enable them perform as they are expected. “We need to find a way to make learning and teaching interesting so that both teachers and students look forward to going to school,” she said.
She thanked Richard Brooks for sharing his wealth of experience about education inspection with Uganda.
In his brief, Richard Brooks reported that the new inspection methodology focuses on direct lesson observation in order to see the reality of teaching and learning in school and what else is happening in the school as opposed to the current inspection approach that concentrates on records in the head teacher’s office.
“You cannot tell what is happening in the school by reading paper work in the head teacher’s office. You have to directly observe what is going on,” he said.
He added that this inspection methodology is more focused on the most important issues and generates better evidence of true performance, valid judgements and better insight into each school. It will also help deal with the endemic and serious issues that were evidenced in the forty pilot inspections and may be replicated in secondary schools across Uganda. These issues include teachers’ and learners’ failure to attend classes, very low productivity of teachers, poor display of learners’ work and teaching materials on classroom walls, the dominant model of teaching that does not engage learners, unmarked learners’ workbooks, headteachers not monitoring the quality of classroom teaching, unregulated and poor-quality boarding facilities plus the continued use of corporal punishment among others.
He said that the new approach however requires more resources, more inspectors and capacity building for the inspectors in data analysis and good report writing. It also takes more time to gather the information for sound judgement.
The Director Education Standards Dr. Kedrace Turyagenda said they chose the entry point for this new inspection methodology to be in Secondary Schools section and then it will be rolled out to the Primary Schools and other institutions. The tools to support this approach, including the inspection tool, school data dashboard and a pocket handbook are also available on request. She proposed a move from paper carbon-copy reports to digital reports that can be easily disseminated internally and publishes externally for wider readership and greater impact on school improvement.
The meeting also agreed with a recommendation to design a project that will enable scaling up this new approach to cover the entire country.