National Education Quality Assurance Framework (NESQAF)
Development of a National Education Quality Assurance and Standards Framework and Monitoring and Evaluation Framework.
CLIENT: Ministry of Education – State Department of Basic Education
PROJECT SPONSOR: World Bank — GPE – GLOBAL PARTNERSHIP FOR EDUCATION
Education is a Fundamental human right that is supposed to enable all citizens realize their potential by equipping them with the necessary skills and values so as to improve their quality of life. The Constitution of Kenya 2010, Chapter 4(53-1b) states that every child has the right to free and compulsory basic education. The Basic Education Act 2013 as well as the Sessional Paper No. 4 of 2017 stipulates the mandate of Quality Assurance and Standards as entailing the setting of standards, monitoring of compliance with the standards, monitoring of the outcomes after compliance and enforcing the standards where there is non-compliance.
Developing and maintaining standards and promoting quality education remains a major challenge across education systems throughout the world. Existing research literature suggests a strong link between the quality of provision and retention rates. If parents and learners do not perceive the value of going to school and staying in school, they will leave. It is also known that if learners understand and clearly perceive the link between schooling and obtaining a job, the incentive to remain in school increases.
Towards enhancing education quality in Kenya, the National Education Sector Plan (NESP 2013)) proposed establishment of new systems for audit of performance and, greater participation of key stakeholders (particularly parents, school heads and communities) in Institutional- based Quality Assurance (IQA). This was expected to inform continuous institutional development through action research. The concerns of NESP (2013- 2018) were further exemplified by the constitutional requirement for broad- based participation and collaborations and, the global drive towards self- evaluation for accountability and continuous development of education institutions. The on- going reforms at the MoE such as the revamping of EMIS and the Competency- based curriculum framework also highlight the need for an in- depth evaluation to re- define the functions and structure of the Directorate of Quality Assurance and Standards (DQAS).
As observed by NESP (MoE, 2013), development of a National Education Quality Assurance and Standards Framework (NEQASF) was expected to clearly define the legal foundation for effective implementation of Institutional Quality Assurance (IQA) and Participatory Monitoring and Evaluation (PM&E). In this regard NEQASF was aimed to strengthen collaborations between staff of the DQAS and other relevant education institutions by assigning clear roles and responsibilities and thereby ensuring accountability at the school level. The framework’s development was thus aimed to equally ensure greater compliance with basic education and training policies/guidelines.
To achieve the objective above the Ministry of Education – State Department of Basic Education engaged ACAL consulting to develop a National Education Quality Assurance and Standards Framework (NEQASF & Tools)
The objective of the consultancy is to improve service delivery at school level and the quality of learning outcomes based on evidence and good practices. Specifically, the consultancy seeks to:
The aim of National Education Quality Assurance and Standards Framework (NEQASF) is to;
The consultant kicked off the assignment by meeting the NEQASF Technical Committee to enhance understanding of the expectations, present the approach and validate the workplan. Following this, we undertook a comprehensive literature review of existing legal, strategy and policy documents on the Directorate`s mandate and functions; reviewed existing guidelines and tools on quality, standards and assessment procedures in the basic Education sub- sector, and their working mechanisms; reviewed existing collaboration mechanisms amongst Quality Assurance and Standards (QA&S) officers, Curriculum Support Officers (CSOs) and the Directorate of School Audit;
Based on a desk review, we prepared tools and research questions for the consultancy, formulated stakeholder consultation tools and approaches, reviewed quality assurance standards mechanisms in selected private schools in Kenya (including international schools), conducted a desk review of similar consultancies carried out in Kenya and globally focusing on good practices in quality assurance mechanisms such as Office for Standards in Education (OFSTED) UK. We further conducted in-depth stakeholder’s consultations at the National, County and Schools level. This included Education agencies and commissions; County Education Officers; Boards of Management; Parents Associations; KESSHA and KEPSHA; head teachers and selected teachers; Teachers Service Commission and CSOs; Selected private schools; Development Partners; and the Ministry of Health.
Further to this and based on the findings we developed the proposed NEQASF structure and format, operational plan, tools and guidelines, ICT enabled guidelines and tools on quality standards and assessment procedures in the basic Education subsector; Quality Assurance protocols including grievance redress mechanisms; developed ICT enabled mechanisms and a platform for real time monitoring, reporting and feedback at the National, County and School level; developed Sub County specific and school specific quality assurance and standards dashboard.
The NEQASF was then presented to the Technical committee at MOE for further discussion and input. This was followed by a stakeholders’ validation at consultative stakeholder’s workshops.
We further developed an ICT framework to enable mechanisms for monitoring, reporting and feedback on education quality to the National, County and School levels .