Besides teacher qualifications and school facilities, another important determinant of quality of education is the teaching and learning materials. It is essential for quality materials to be made avail- able to the teachers and students in adequate quantities to support the teaching and learning processes.
Ideally, every student in every class should possess his/her own copy of the textbooks required by the school for each grade and each subject. The textbooks may be new or previously used by other students. Textbooks may be provided by the school, their parents, friends or other bodies such as NGOs. The percentage of students who do not have the textbooks they need for their classes is an important indicator that may be calculated from data in the school records.
This table was constructed by using figures from the textbook record sheets to tally the number of students with a ‘0’ for each subject. These tallies were then totalled for each grade and subject to show how many students in the whole school do not have the required textbooks (see the top rows in example 30). each of these numbers was divided by the total number of students (see the right- hand column) to give the percentage of students who do not have the required textbooks for their classes (see the bottom rows in example 30).
A closer analysis of example 30 shows that more than 30 per cent of the students in Grades 1 and 2 do not have textbooks for their foreign language and social studies classes. There is also a short- age of science textbooks among students in Grade 1 and 3. With the exception of the national lan- guage subject in Grade 5 for which no students were missing their textbook, additional textbooks are required for all the other grades and subjects. The numbers in the upper rows in example 30 indi- cate the quantity of each textbook that should be acquired.
Such summary tables from schools can be aggregated into similar tables at the district, provincial and country levels, to use for evaluating textbook availability and to implement measures to ensure that all students possess all the necessary learning materials.
Review and discuss with other school managers, district and local education officers about the monitoring of availability of textbooks. Then, answer the following questions:
- How do you monitor the availability of textbooks?
- What were the difficulties you encountered in monitoring the availability of textbooks and other learning materials?
- How best should one go about monitoring the availability and adequacy of learning materials including textbooks?
8.2 Teaching aids
Teachers use teaching aids such as maps, wall charts, flip charts, flash cards, scientific models, kits and toys to support teaching and learning activities at school.
Schools produce or purchase teaching aids for either shared use among the teachers or provide them to individual teachers. Every school should keep an inventory of available teaching aids by quantity and conditions of use. The teaching aid inventory should be able to track how frequently each resource is used on a weekly or monthly basis.
The following three indicators tell us what we need to know about the school’s teaching aids and how they are used for different subjects and in different grades (see example 31).
- Percentages of teaching aids to be repaired or replaced are derived by separately dividing the quantity of each teaching aid needing repair or replacement by the total quantity of the same teaching aid.
- Teachers to Teaching aid ratio are calculated by dividing the number of teachers who are eligible to use each type of teaching aid, by the quantity of each teaching aid that are in good working condition (=Total – quantity to repair – quantity to replace).
- Frequency of use counts the number of times each teaching aid was used by teachers during each week or month, and take the simple averages over a semester or a school year.
As can be seen in example 31, these indicators tell us whether there is sufficient quantity of each type of teaching aid that are in good condition, and how many need to be repaired or replaced. The frequency of use can also tell us about the pattern of teachers’ use of various teaching aids, which can help the school decide whether to acquire new teaching aids, or to repair existing ones.
Review and discuss with other school managers, district and local education officers about the monitoring of teaching aids. Then, answer the following questions:
- How do you make use of data and information on teaching aids in your school?
- What were the difficulties you encountered in monitoring and using the data on teaching aids?
- How best should one go about monitoring and using the data on teaching aids?
8.3 Supplementary learning materials
The school may have acquired a variety of supplementary learning materials that students can use
to reinforce their learning. The most common among these materials are books, newspapers, magazines and other reading materials that supplement the textbooks. Students can borrow various charts, kits, models and equipment or instruments for science, sports, music and arts. for schools that are equipped with audio-video equipment and computers, the range of supplementary learning materials can also include audiotapes and videotapes, CD-ROMs and dVds, access to computers and access to the internet:
A set of indicators, which are similar to those we use for teaching aids, may be calculated and used, as follows:
- Percentages of supplementary learning materials to be repaired or replaced are derived by dividing the number of each supplementary learning material that are in need of repair or replacement by the total number of the same supplementary learning materials.
- Students to supplementary learning materials ratio is calculated by dividing the number of students who are eligible to use each type of supplementary learning material, by the number of each supplementary learning material that are in good working condition (see example 32).
- Frequency of use counts the number of times students borrowed and used each supplementary learning material each week or month and averages the usage over a semester or a whole year.
By indicating the number of students who share the supplementary learning materials in a school (see example 32), the school management as well as local and district education offices can assess whether there are adequate amounts of each type of learning material for the student population. This can be done by identifying those learning materials that have a high frequency of use ratio, such as musical instruments, newspapers, and access to computer and the internet in example 32. Taking into account the average frequency of use per week and per month, decisions can be made to acquire appropriate quantities of these supplementary learning materials to reduce the gaps in access to resources.
Based on these indicators, the Ministry of education can establish standards for the minimum number (per student) of teaching aids and supplementary materials that are in good working condition.
Review and discuss with other school managers, district and local education officers about the monitoring of supplementary learning materials in school. Then, answer the following questions:
- How do you make use of data and information on supplementary learning materials in your school?
- What were the difficulties you encountered in monitoring and using the data on supplementary learning materials?
- How best should one go about monitoring and using the data on supplementary learning materials?