The quality of a school’s environment and its facilities has a strong influence on students’ learn- ing. Besides regular use in organizing and managing a school’s activities, records of a school’s physical facilities and material resources such as furniture and equipment can provide data to derive many indicators for assessing the quality of education in a school.
7.1 Basic school facilities
Schools record and report data in the annual school census about the availability of basic facilities, such as clean water, separate toilets, electricity, kitchen/canteen, telephone and various other facilities and services in school. Administrators at various levels of the education system can use this information to evaluate the environment and physical facilities of schools they oversee and then prioritize and plan the upgrade or improvement of facilities.
In example 24, the summary table displays data reported by schools in Medan district about the availability of basic facilities at school. it is interesting to see how the detailed data reported by the schools about ‘have’ and ‘do not have’, are used here to calculate indicators of ‘% of schools without’ each kind of facilities. This is useful for assessing the gaps in the provision of basic facilities, and helps to identify schools that need priority assistance.
in example 24, one can see that half of the ten schools in this district operate without piped water, telephone, radio or TV. forty per cent of the schools do not have electricity, one-fifth do not have separate toilets for boys and girls, 70 per cent do not offer a school meal programme and 80 per cent do not have a dormitory or computers.
Looking at the data for each school horizontally across the rows in the table in example 24, we can see that neither the Sakti Community School nor the Julok Community School have any of the basic facilities. Ketol County School has separate toilets, but none of the other facilities. These three schools should be given priority in terms of special support to improve their school facilities.
Once such indicators are clearly calculated, presented and interpreted, the district education office can use these findings to identify and design targeted actions to improve basic facilities among the schools in this district. The analysis and proposed actions can be submitted to the provincial and central education administration to organize appropriate support to the districts and schools.
As many of these issues regarding the lack of basic facilities in school are closely related to the local environment, it will be equally important for the school managers and district education officers to inform the relevant local government departments and stakeholders in the school management board so as to mobilize their support. To do so, the indicators which were calculated to construct the table in example 24 can be presented in more attractive graphic form like in example 25.
Review and discuss with other school managers, district and local education officers about monitoring basic facilities in school, and answer the following questions:
- What are the difficulties involved in monitoring basic facilities in school?
- What is the best method for monitoring basic facilities in school?
- What principles should we remember while analysing, interpreting and using these data and indicators?
School records of physical facilities, furniture and equipment, also known as inventories, can be used to calculate various indicators such as percentage distributions of classrooms, furniture and equipment by condition and use, and to produce graphs that highlight problems with the facilities (see examples 26, 27, 28 and 29).
Example 26 uses a pie chart to illustrate that 45 per cent of the classrooms are in good working condition, but 33 per cent require repair work. The remaining 22 per cent are in such bad condition that they can no longer be further repaired, but rather have to be replaced by new classrooms.
Example 27 uses stacked horizontal bars to show the condition of seven different types of school furniture. These stacked bars show that more than 80 per cent of the desks, chairs and open shelves in the classrooms are in good condition, but less than half of the teachers’ desks and chairs are in good condition. More than one-third of the teachers’ furniture needs to be replaced, and almost one-fifth of them need to be repaired. further analysis of the condition of other furniture may reveal additional findings.
Example 28 uses simple horizontal bars to indicate that one-half of the administration rooms, one- third of the storage rooms and one-quarter of teachers’ rooms are unused. further investigation concluded that as these rooms share the same roof which was damaged and started leaking during the rainy season. The roof must be repaired before these rooms can be used again.
The equipment graph in example 29 indicates that among the equipment available, 33 per cent of the computer printers were not used. The same applies to 20 per cent of arts and craft equipment, 17 per cent of calculators, and 6 per cent of sports equipment.
The graphs for these examples demonstrate how data and indicators can be presented in clear and interesting ways to facilitate analysis and interpretation. Much more can be done to develop other innovative and dynamic presentations of efA data, indicators and information.
Review and discuss with other school managers, district and local education officers about monitoring the condition and use of physical facilities in school. Then, answer the following questions:
- What difficulties are involved in monitoring the condition and use of physical facilities in school?
- How do you think we should monitor the condition and use of physical facilities in school?
- What principles should one keep in mind while analysing, interpreting and using these data and indicators?
7.3 Other school environment indicators
Based on the school records and/or annual school census returns, additional indicators of quality of education which are related to school environment and facilities may include:
- Student-classroom ratio
- Classroom area per student
- Playground area per student
- Student-toilet ratio
- Student-computer ratio
These can be calculated and compared to national standards and norms (if they exist), and presented in table and chart forms similar to those presented above.
Review and discuss with other school managers, district and local education officers about the school environment indicators listed above. Then, answer the following questions:
- Which of the indicators listed above are most relevant and useful in your context?
- How would you go about calculating, interpreting and using these indicators?
- What other school environment indicators may also be useful?