Education is the path that leads an individual to future success and gives them the ability to discover what lies beyond their imagination. This maxim forms the purpose of education. It is the reason why the community and the political class put emphasis on the process of education. Equipping a nation with the tools to deliver an education system takes the political will. In as much as the instructors and the educators spend countless hours making academic materials for delivery in the classroom, the principle mandate in the facilitation of education lies with the policy makers at the government level. The government invests in education with very specific objectives. One, it wants to produce a workforce that will lead the country into the next economic ladder. It is well known that in macroeconomics, skilled labor contributes a big part in the GDP of a country (Kartz & Margo 2014; Mankiw, 2014). The government, in its pursuit of creating skilled manpower, must carefully select the best technical courses that will be absorbed well into the job market. The government of any country works in diplomatic relation with other country. To maintain a good diplomatic standing, the government must, therefore, equip its foreign ministers and staff working in its embassies across the world with the necessary skills that will portray a positive image of the country to the world. Social, political and economic factions of the state work in coordination with each other. This coordination is only feasible if all these sectors are empowered. The society, in particular, should be educated to facilitate the achievement of social cohesion and upward mobility of citizens. If the society is made up of people with varying skills and knowledge, it becomes a functional unit as interdependence among its members is fostered. The direct role of the government in the education sector is through creation of the education curricular. The government may initiate or review school curricular to align it with the purposes of education. In line with Pinar and Bowers (1983) opinion that education is a political function, it is indeed true that political processes play a big role in the establishment or review of a curricular to suit national or state interests. Any initiative by the government in education is bound to affect the educators and other school readers either directly or indirectly. I will argue that the implication of curricular review or establishment places the educators at a compromise which automatically prompts for pedagogical adjustments. In turn, these changes ripple out to the student life and learning capabilities and eventually to the workforce at the national level.
The government plays a pivotal role in innovation of curriculum as emphasized on by Pinar and Bower (1983). This stand is also taken by Fuller (1962). He argues that the content that the student receives in class is a product of a well-coordinated plan that begins from the national, federal, or state government. The teaching methodology and the content that the teacher gives to learners are regulated at the school level by the school board. The board is also answerable to a higher authority that is the state government. According to this organogram, the state has little over say over the content delivered in the class. However, it has an indirect influence through its subsidiaries operating at lower levels. Fuller (1985) offers an example of how the state can take charge in the reforms in the education center. The local government, he says, should provide the money, logistics and personnel for reforms. It should sponsor periodic workshops by teachers to discuss the proposed reforms in each subject. Fuller (1985) suggests that teachers offering a certain subject from various schools should come together and make amendments pertaining to the subject in questions. The amendments are then reviewed by a specific taskforce appointed by the government to test their value. If the amendments are considered to have positive outcomes, they are implemented or rejected if they do not possess this characteristic. The participation of the government in a scenario like this would lead to the improvement of the delivery of both content and teaching methodology. There is a likelihood that the government will assert its interests in the curricular through the logistics it provides for the amending teachers. In line with Pinar and Bower (1983) opinion that education is implicitly a political process, the amendments thus made will possibly advance the governments agenda of producing scholars with specific qualifications that rhyme with the national economic policy.
Biesta (2010) argues that the purposes of education are subjectification, qualification, and socialization. He further explains these purposes to illustrate why the government plays a central role in the development of education curriculum. Qualification, he says, is the process of instilling the necessary skills in learners. He further cites that qualification is the single most important reason why the state funds education in any country. The government intends to create a cohort of citizens that are qualified to deliver services to the people on behalf of the government. Teachers, for instance, go through an education system to enable them work in governments schools. In the same manner, medical professionals are seen through education by the government to allow them work in the public funded sector. Socialization function of education prepares citizens to be integrated into a functional society. This function rhymes with an earlier assertion that the government intends to make citizens productive members of the society. When citizens are educated, they become better workers and advocated for the pillars that build strong societies. There is a sociological perspective that theorizes that the productivity of a society depends on the solidarity it has. This solidarity, in turn, comes from the mindset of the people in the particular society. Subjectification as a purpose of education empowers citizens to become liberal and self-independent individuals. This independence fosters upward social mobility, resulting in well-up families who contribute positively to the economy of the country.
Education is not satisfactory if the process of its delivery is not congruent with its mission. The outcomes of education and the character of its products can be used as measurement indicators of the usefulness of education. The three parameters proposed by Biesta (2009) are potential indicators of the outcome of education. However, there are confounding factors that make educated people fail to attain the three objectives. Additionally, there is evidence to show that subjectification, socialization, and qualification do not absolutely come from passing through an education system. In the view of these findings, there is a need for evidence based practice to enhance the achievement of the end of education. Evidence-based practice, as Biesta (2007) argues, has been shown to have positive outcome in the delivery of medical services. Excellent health practice depends on the updated information from empirical research, doctors and nurses are bound by ethical conduct to make use of the best knowledge that would contribute to the wellness of their patients. Similarly, education delivery would only be objective if research is integrated in the sector. The search for evidence is prompted by the apparent gaps that emerge in the delivery and production of education. The research of this evidence shall be sponsored by the government. The ministry dealing with education and other interested agencies should invest in finding the best pedagogical practices to advise the review of curricular in schools.
Evidence-based improvement of schools and education curricular is already at work in Australia. In 2008, the Victorian Department of Education and Early Childhood Development sponsored a study to identify the preconditions necessary for the success of improvement in schools. Four conditions were identified: Strong shared leadership, high level of expectancy and instructor efficacy, orderliness of learning environment, and making priorities of what matters the most (Center for Strategic Development, 2010). Strong leadership in this case refers to the schools management headed by the principals. The leadership styles assumed by these principals must foster cooperation among other members of the staff and be consistent over time. When a strong leadership culture is put in place, it becomes easier to implement the development strategies put across by schools. High levels of expectancy and teacher efficacy are related. Setting a periodic target whether yearly or quarterly kicks off a process of improvement where each student is committed to achieving the goals. Teachers also strive to become efficient to allow student reach these goals. In the long run, the school develops holistically and gradually incorporates within its organization a culture of hard work and improvement ensues. The learning environment must be conducive, beginning with having an adequately stocked library and amenities for extra-curricular activities. Finally, the school principals in liaison with development partners should prioritize to prevent delays or denial of education for learners. Some of these priorities include financing and examinations. Australia is one among many countries that have made strides in practicing evidence based learning. The success of this program is, however, attributable to the commitment of the state and national organs mandated to oversee education in the country. These organs are thus responsible for beginning initiatives to improve learning for students.
In as much as objective education should be delivered based on evidence obtained through research, there is a need to consider the value contained in any material used in education. According to Biesta (2010), experimental research informs the education policy makers on what works. The process of integrating evidence based practice in the field of education takes three steps: epistemology, ontology, and praxeology. Epistemology is the development of evidence on what really works in the education sector. After this information is generated, ontology, or the application of the proposed interventions follows. Finally, the outcomes of the integration of evidence is undertaken to determine the extent to which the applied intervention contribute to the outcome. There is, however, the gap in each of these steps. There naturally exists a knowledge gap in epistemology, an efficacy gap in ontology, and an application deficit in praxeology. All these gaps can only be filled through a systematic reduction in the complexity of application. In a nutshell, the only bridge to fill the gap between evidence based education and value based education is the enhancement of practices aimed at increasing the application of evidence gained from experimental research and the actual practice.
The governments influence in education stretches far more than sponsoring of evidence to improve the education system. It further comprises of remuneration of teachers, promotion of certain types of subjects, and inclusivity in education. A global initiative in curriculum is called Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) was rolled out towards this effect. In a nutshell, STEM education programs aim at promoting a culture of science-oriented learning for the production of graduates with appropriate scientific skills to occupy the relevant positions in the economy. Many writers have explored these historic government initiatives regarding different concepts like implementation, class design, coursework arrangement, challenges,...
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