The Problem: “Lack of Teachers and Low Quality of Teaching Lead to Low Quality of Education”

How we came up with our “security problem”. Why is this important?

Today millions of children do not have access to the quality education all over the world. Some of the significant causes of this situation are “Lack of teachers” and “Low quality of teaching.” This is because if there is not enough number of teachers, children cannot enjoy education even if they have opportunities to go to school. Moreover, in the case that the quality of teaching is low, it cannot be said that children have access to the education in the real sense. For example, in the global level, most people who have received education for 5 to 7 years are literate. However, in the schools which lack in teachers or can only provide low quality education, it is not the case. It is quite hard for illiterate people to get a high-salaried job and most of them are likely to have low-salaried manual jobs.

As the reasons listed above, it is clear that “Lack of teachers” and “Low quality of teaching” are important problems and they are worth tackling. The final version of our problem statement is “Lack of Teachers and Low Quality of Teaching Lead to Low Quality of Education”.

 

The brainstorming process inside our team and our first sociological survey with the class

[What are the conventional views /solutions related to our problem?]

Common solutions regarding to the problem in education that is the lack of teachers and low quality of teaching, something that comes into mind would be raising teacher’s salaries, or giving them big promotions. This would be a conventional approach which would not necessarily work as they would still get a higher salary if they just met minimum school standards rather than be passionate in teaching.  For other common solutions it includes funneling more money to the Ministry of Education, this would not amount much if the education system is still giving the same results.

In the class, we asked member of other groups about the solution of how to improve quality of teachers and education by not getting too into detail. We acquired various ideas from them. The first idea we received was to reduce the size of class rooms. He explained that the smaller the class room is, the better teaching quality teachers can provide to student, teachers will then be able to focus more on each student and make student pay attention to more easily. The second idea was to raise teacher’s salary by monitoring student’s grades. This method can motivate teachers to improve the way they teach and it helps finding the appropriate teaching methods for each type of class room. Also, if we increase salary, more professional teachers will be willing to teach even in rural area, however this would be considered under conventional ideas. Another idea was to set up an organization to get retired teachers involved in volunteer teaching programs. These retired teachers will be dispatched to rural area to help local teachers set up syllabus for each specialized subject. The last idea we received was to make student learn via E-learning in the countryside.

We watched 3 documentaries which helped us to better understand the deep seated issues which lead to our non-conventional ideas:

Some Children are more equal than others: The film touches on the lower quality of its free public education. It touches on aspects related to the quality of infrastructure, supplies, management and teaching in these schools. We focused on the teaching aspect of the problem. We believe if we provided these schools with passionate international students who are studying to become teachers and are willing to teach students and local teachers, it will help greatly improve these impoverished schools. It provides both parties with valuable experiences educationally, culturally and socially.

Mitchell 20: The film touches on lower quality of education in the impoverished parts of the USA. More certified teachers were allocated to affluent areas of the country whereas inexperienced ones were assigned to the poorer areas (which needed better teachers the most). A teacher in Mitchell school made the personal decision to improve her capabilities by working to get the National Board of Education Certificate. This motivated a group of teachers to do the same, with the principal funding them. As a result they avoided a school shut down as students’ grades increased. This film opened our eyes to how if teachers became more interactive and passionate about teaching, it can help students in impoverished areas. These communities stay impoverished as a result of bad quality of education not because it is an inherently impoverished community which inspired us to the idea of giving incentives to teacher group competition in schools.

Waiting for Superman: The documentary analyzes the various aspects of the US public education system. In particular, it includes how it is easy for public school teachers to achieve tenure which makes them unable to be fired, and it shows how this system allows for poorly performing teachers in classes to affect the educational environment. Teaching standards are being questioned as often there is a conflict in bureaucracy between teaching expectations at the school, state, or federal level. This made us think that maybe teachers should have more involvement in administration so that they can be challenged to improve quality teaching. In addition, to have more strict requirements in the teacher position and turning it into a highly esteemed profession (like doctors and lawyers).

Our “Out-of-the-Box” Solutions:

In the final part of our article, we would like to mention our “crazy“ or more specifically out-of-box sollutions which we have brainstormed in our team. Some of them were already mentioned above but we would still like to offer you an overview of all of them. The first idea was that teachers should be more involved in administration and should be given more incentives to improve themselves in order to become high quality teachers. Another solution was to form a group of teachers who would compete against each other in teaching. After a certain time, they would receive a feedback from students and the teacher with the most positive result would get a reward. The third idea we came up with was a practical education for to-be-teachers students abroad. Meaning that the students who are studying to be teachers in the future would do the practical part of their education abroad instead of at the schools in their countries. Fourth, we were thinking about a possibility of utilizing electronic devices (such as smartphones) and having classes through screens which could be arranged thanks to funds from international level and especially in schools lacking in teachers. The final solution we would like to mention was more strict requirements for future teachers and promotion of the job which should have the same position as lawyers and doctors in our society.

Finally, below you can see a first part of our poster with some of the ideas we have come up so far. It was slightly difficult to put all the ideas there but we tried to think outside the box even during the creation of our “poster“.