The ultimate impact of education for All is to ensure that all people, young and old, can access quality basic education and acquire the literacy skills they need to learn throughout life, and the life skills they need to apply their knowledge in daily life and society. Schools’ impact on former students can be monitored and assessed by gathering feedback information from the following persons:
- Former students
- Family members of former students
- Friends and neighbours of former students
- Former teachers of the students
- Employers of former students
These people can share their observations of perceived changes that occurred after the former stu- dent completed his/her studies at the school (see Section 11.1 below).
Local government officials, community leaders, business people, and a sample of the general publican be requested to offer additional insights about the broader impact of education on the local community (see Section 11.2).
11.1 Monitoring of former students
Schools are well placed to monitor these impacts by maintaining periodic contact with former students who have either graduated, transferred to other schools or dropped out of school, to find out what happened to them after they left the school. By comparing the information gathered from a representative sample of former students, school managers can develop a clearer picture of how the school contributed to the lives of former students. There may be important lessons that can be learnt from such perceived impact (or lack of impact). These lessons can be used to help the school improve its programmes, organization and delivery. They can also feed into ongoing national education policy reviews.
To gauge the impact of their educational experience, the school may ask a sample of former students to periodically respond to questions regarding their:
- Personal life – confidence; use of acquired knowledge, skills and attitude; continuing to learn; communication with others; feelings of satisfaction/frustration; happiness.
- Family life – relationship with family members; contributions to family life; feelings of satisfaction/ frustration.
- Friendship – variety of friendships; ease/difficulties in starting and maintaining friendships; benefits obtained and contributions made through friendship; etc.
- Working life – adaptation to working life; ability to use the acquired knowledge and skills; contributions to workplace and society.
- Social life – getting along with different people in society; the kind of interactions with society and other people; voluntary contributions to society; etc.
A variety of methods may be used to gather information from former students.
- Tracking survey of former students – the school asking a sample of former students to periodically respond to key questions related to the kinds of impact above.
- Reunion event/party – of former students to share the latest information including their family life and career path after graduation and in the future.
- Homecoming day – invite former students to visit the school and receive feedback on classes and school activities which have influenced them later in their further studies and careers.
- Alumni association – establish networks to share information and exchange ideas.
Review and discuss with other school managers, district and local education officers about how to monitor impact. Then, answer the following questions
- How important do you think it is to monitor the school’s impact on students?
- Will it be possible for your school to set up and manage a system to track former students? What resources will be required to operate such a system?
- How would you make use of the feedback and information gathered?
11.2 Monitoring impact on the community and society
To monitor the school’s impact on the local community and society, the school manager can use both formal and informal methods to collect feedback information from local community bodies, stakeholders, parents and members of the public.
Formal meetings of the school management board and the parents-teachers association are good occasions for collecting such feedback from the key stakeholders. information can be gathered by asking questions of individual members, or through open discussions of issues or topics. The information gathered can be analysed to gauge the schools impact (or lack of impact) on the local community, and to identify emerging issues, needs and priorities to which the school needs to respond.
The school manager and teachers may also periodically contact local government officials, community leaders, parents and members of the public to separately gather their feedback. during school activities, events and visits of parents and community members, the school manager and teachers can informally gather opinions, views and feedback ideas for improving the school.
Review and discuss with other school managers, district and local education officers about monitoring of impact of the school on community and society. Then, answer the following questions:
- How important do you think it is to monitor the impact of the school on former students and the local community?
- Which of the approaches to monitoring impact suggested above can be appropriate and effective for monitoring impact in your community? What other ways would you suggest to monitor impact?
- How would you make use of the feedback information gathered?