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Concepción Naval Durán, Dean of the School of Education and Psychology and Professor of Theory of Education

Quality staff at Education

Mon, 05 Oct 2015 12:12:00 +0000 Published in ABC and ABC Catalonia

"If we want to talk about quality at Education we cannot be satisfied with worrying about the processes, the products, the Structures, but we have to focus directly on people."

Reflection on Education in general, the school and teachers in particular, has been interesting and fruitful in the years since October 5, 1984, when the United Nations approved the celebration of World Teachers' Day on that date. It is obvious to point out - although it is not superfluous to do so - that the school has a substantial role to play in society and is expected to respond to the expectations placed upon it. The Education has, in other words, an inescapable social and cultural function, and is a factor core topic for the generation of knowledge and for the general development . Hence, at certain times it becomes necessary to rethink certain issues or reforms that modify its orientation and social projection. If we ask ourselves about the orientations most present today in the world of the Education, we could point out several, of which I would highlight two: the social mission statement of the Education and the concern for quality.

No one is unaware of the important consequences of placing success at the heart of Education, or, in other words, conceiving that the purpose of Education is to succeed in life, interpreting success in terms of economic and technological categories or the simple and strict acceptance of proposals, ideas and concrete actions. That achieving success is one of the essential goals of Education is a widely shared affirmation in the culture in which we live. It is also often thought that quality and success, the latter conceived as triumph, are the same thing. Thus, academic success, emotional success and success at work are pursued at framework in the search for supposedly higher levels of quality at Education.

I think it would be a mistake -although we so often see it- to confuse quality with success, and it would be nonsense to make quality depend on success: it would be the world upside down. This is the conception of success of an emotional-social nature, which implies a sort of confusion between quality and quantity: the best is then the best-selling, the most seen, the most voted, etc. In this framework, we can ask ourselves: is this more or less obsessive quest for tangible results and considering them as an emblem of quality a sensible thing or not?
The interest in the quality of Education arises when it is no longer necessary to worry so much about quantity.

The idea of quality is not new: quality suggests something that is proper to Education itself: the intentional orientation towards improvement, excellence. However, the word "quality" began to be applied on a large scale to Education in the 1980s, to address two clearly perceived problems: the loss of competitiveness in companies and the loss of integration in society. These problems, it was said, are a consequence of the poor state of the Education; it is therefore necessary to promote a Education of quality.

A common cliché is to identify quality in a perhaps superficial way with an elitist Education , in order to disqualify the former for its supposedly discriminatory nature. But, in my opinion, true quality in Education is not at odds, but quite the opposite, with equity and social justice. Those who believe otherwise are thinking more about educational systems, with the limitations they have, than about Education from a staff perspective. What is certain is that the concern for quality arose at the end of the 20th century in the context of the search for economic competitiveness, which brought with it the need to improve the quality of education. competitiveness, which has led to the creation of organizations for the control and assessment of teaching.

This notion of quality can be understood in the field of Education fundamentally in two senses: in a political-social sense (related to the quality of the system educational, more external or structural aspects) and in a proper sense educational (quality of the Education itself, sense staff and social: the realization staff). In this second sense, quality implies -and it is the most interesting to remember on a date like the one we are celebrating- promoting improvement staff, beyond the achievement of external quality indicators, which are perhaps a necessary or convenient condition, but not sufficient to achieve quality in the radical sense, because with these indicators it would be possible to cheat.

If we want to talk about quality in Education we cannot be satisfied with worrying about the processes, the products, the Structures, but we have to focus directly on people.