… as groundwork is laid for aggressive standardisation drive
The number of inspections at pre-tertiary schools in the country saw a 1,488% rise in the academic year preceding the advent of COVID-19, Inspector-General of the National Schools Inspectorate Authority (NaSIA), Dr. Haggar Hilda Ampadu has revealed.
Whilst the number represents 33% of the intended target of 2,381 intended inspections, it offers an indication of the strides the body has made since its reconstitution in 2019.
The sharp rise, Inspector-General said, can be attributed to the evolution of her outfit from what was the National Inspectorate Board (NIB) to its current position as an Authority. According to her, the change has resulted in increased regulatory and financial capabilities of NaSIA, which hitherto had the capacity to inspect an average of 50 schools a year.
She explained that by using a statistical sampling approach, the Authority sought to inspect 2,381 schools to serve as an accurate representation of the population size of the approximately 60,000 pre-tertiary schools in the country, from which significant deductions could be made about performance, to see what interventions are most needed.
“Before the revamp, we used to be able to inspect, on the average, 50 schools per year. With the revamp, we adopted an approach to selecting and inspecting schools that was based purely on science – we used a statistical sampling approach, in that approach, we selected a sample of schools to inspect that will give us a true reflection of how schools perform in the country.
Based on the data of schools that we have in the system, we needed to inspect 2,381 schools, that is a far jump from 50 schools and we attempted this ambitious approach to inspecting schools in the 2019/2020 academic year but by March – when schools were shut down, we had done 794, so if the shutdown had not happened, we would have covered the 2,381 schools. The desire is there to get our baseline and it is from our baseline that we will measure if there are any improvements,” she explained in an interview with the B&FT.
The NaSIA Inspector-General added that this forms one of many measures that have been implemented to ensure the Authority fulfils its mandate.
Detailing some of the other steps being taken, she said NaSIA has introduced comprehensive policy frameworks and guidelines on school establishment and inspection, as well as school licensing.
“Previously, we did not have a clear cut policy on which our work was based and that was not proper for a standard setting agency. We have now embarked on the establishment of two key policies – the school establishment and inspection policy and the school licensing policy. Both have guidelines to ensure implementation and all four documents are currently ready and we have started operating the policies,” she said.
Dr. Ampadu added that her outfit has digitised its approach to inspection, data collection and implementation. As an example, she stated that the then standard inspection reports were 46 pages, on the average, which was cumbersome and scarcely read. The new reports, however, are 10 pages long, with a three-page executive summary to facilitate visibility of salient points.
NaSIA will be embarking on a series of engagements to ensure learners in the country meet educational outcomes in safe and serene learning environments. This will see the opening of regional offices in the Ashanti, Western and Northern regions by June, with other regions to have dedicated offices by the end of the year.