Setting Standard for Quality Education: A Commercially Viable Model for Educational Institutions' Accreditation
GEIST International Foundation, along with the assistance provided by the EMK Center, successfully ended this 1 year project under the title “Setting Standards to Ensure Quality Education: A commercially viable model for Educational Institutions’ Accreditation”. As we have seen in other developed and developing nations, there exists a well-recognized body which examines the overall performance of educational institutions, from kindergartens to universities and rates them on the basis of various parameters. And that rating or marking implies the quality of those educational institutions. And most importantly, these ratings are not solely directed towards measuring whether the school or college is providing quality education or not. Other significant factors such as the presence of playgrounds, gymnasiums or stadiums within the premises or campus where the students can actively participate in sporting events, availability of furnished common rooms, hygienic toilets, classroom amenities even the management of the institutions, etc. are taken under consideration to justify the quality of the educational institutions. This very process of judging institutions is known as accreditation. And an accreditation report explains its prime readers such as the parents of the students, teachers, investors, donors, etc. about the overall performance of the schools and colleges so that they can take better constructive decisions. Again, such a report also warns or compliments the educational institutions and drives them to solve the problems which were found in the report or inspires them to do better at the parameters which they are already good at.
Similarly, by the collaboration of GEIST International Foundation and the EMK Center, such an initiative to create a full-fledged accreditation process was initiated in Bangladesh in order to measure the quality of education in Bangladesh. Previously, efforts were made to create such accreditation providing bodies. But due to many constraints, such bodies failed to thrive. Acknowledging both the challenges and promises of creating such an accreditation providing body, GEIST International Foundation and the EMK Center commenced the project. The prime idea was to accumulate the various stakeholders of the educational institutions under one roof and tell them the idea, learn about their perspectives, understanding the opportunities of the project and then, upon learning from their ideas, create the pristine accreditation process, which is feasible in Bangladesh. These are namely teachers, students, guardians, education experts, members of the different educational boards such as NCTB, Cambridge or Edexcel, etc. The project consisted of various workshops. Each of the workshops had separate genres of audiences and participants. One was allocated for the teachers, others for various education experts and education board members and one for guardians and students. After acquiring the ideas from the stakeholders, in the back-end, an application report was being created, which was constantly revised and edited upon scrutiny. This application report highlighted various strong issues which an education institution in Bangladesh. The process of accreditation was framed in a time-responsive way. At first, the educational institutions will obtain an application form which they have to completely fill up and then they will submit it to GEIST International Foundation. The report will contain various questions, which, the institutions need to completely and precisely answer. The questions will be very straight forward and layered, such as gender equality, the availability of school premises, classroom amenities, admission process, hygienic toilets, availability of knowledge enriching books, clubs, student counseling, common rooms, computer laboratories, subject oriented labs, foundations, international exchange opportunities, mission and vision of the schools, standard operating procedures of the school management, availability of a governing body, teachers and teaching process, examination process, evaluation of teachers and students, etc. Upon receiving such an application, GEIST International Foundation sent envoys or auditors to those institutions who went through the report and then will observe whether the information provided in the report by the institution authority match with reality or not. After auditing, the auditors will provide a rating on the basis of the audit. The ratings are formularized on the basis of indices of various parameters. This is the overall accreditation process. After the completion of a functioning application report, pilot studies were conducted in some schools to deduce the feasibility and functionality of the overall accreditation process.