By Kofoworola Belo-Osagie
A firm has developed an online platform to make its school-improvement toolkit available to low-cost schools signed on to its Sustainable Education and Enterprise Development (SEED) programme.
The kit called the SEED Quality Assessment Tool (SQAT), which is accessible on the firm’s website, would help low-cost schools assess themselves with the aim of improving quality education delivery.
In an interview with The Nation, Executive Director of W-Holistic Business Solutions/SEED, Mrs. Olanrewaju Oniyitan, said the toolkit contained 86 indicators the schools would be examined on that would reveal their levels and recommend steps for improvement.
She said the indicators were a combination of world accepted benchmarks for quality education as well as business evaluation tools.
“SQAT is an innovative school development and continuous improvement tool that was developed to assess the quality of under-resourced schools and to provide a pathway for improvement. SQAT helps school leaders understand their strengths and weaknesses, providing them with critical information to embark on the journey of school transformation. It breaks down the overwhelming concept of school quality into smaller, more manageable problems that can be solved through simple interventions, making visible the ‘invisible’ factors of school quality in the shape of simple to understand indicators,” she said.
Mrs. Oniyitan said SEED, which has assessed over 700 low-cost schools in Lagos using the toolkit, decided to make the self-assessment platform, designed by Sophia ERP Ltd, available online so low-cost schools on its waiting list, especially outside Lagos, could get the help they needed to improve their schools.
She said this was especially instructive since the low-cost nature of the target schools meant that many could not afford the cost of having assessors traveling down to the schools. However, she said even after the schools do their self-assessment, they could invite SEED to verify the assessment at a cost.
“Our major target is to reach 10,000 schools. Manual won’t help us. Technology is the way forward,” she said.
Given her experience working with low-cost schools, Mrs. Oniyitan said it was possible for the schools to provide quality education without charging high fees. She noted that as a self-assessment tool, it was important for the schools to be honest about their level of performance in each indicator as their responses would determine whatever recommended solutions they would get from the exercise.
“If they are not honest, the solutions would not work for them so it is in their own best interest to give accurate answers,” she said.
Mrs. Oniyitan said SEED would license some Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) outside Lagos to carry out assessments where it cannot go.
She said SEED had a three year programme for schools to be transformed – the first stage being the SQAT stage.
“Once you finish the SEED programme, you become our alumni. We are funneling very serious schools into the SEED Leadership Institute – a three year programme leading to total transformation. Every year, these schools are supposed to do the self-assessment again and develop their School Development Plan. We have 86 indicators. Until you score five on all indicators you cannot say you are perfect,” she said.