IMPLEMENTATION OF QUALITY ASSURANCE MEASURES IN COLLEGES OF EDUCATION IN SOUTH-EAST, NIGERIA
The implementation of educational policies at any given level affects to a large extent the quality of education at that level. Thus, with the current wide-held view that the quality of teacher education has fallen, this study was undertaken to examine the extent to which the quality assurance measures set up to enhance the quality of teacher education and the quality of the products of teacher education at the college of education level are being implemented. The study was carried out in South East of Nigeria. Ten research questions that focused on two external and five internal quality assurance measures guided the study. These were supplemented by eight hypotheses posited in order to carry out comparisons among the three tiers of colleges studied. Using the multi-stage sampling technique, a sample of 205 staff was drawn from six colleges out a population of 2,053 academic and senior administrative staff in the eleven colleges of education in the zone. The research data were collected using two researcher constructed instruments namely: Quality Assurance Implementation Rating Scale (QAIRS), and the Quality Assurance Interview Schedule. Documentary analysis was also carried out to authenticate some of the data obtained by means of the rating scale. The QAIRS is a four points rating scale comprising 77 items that are divided into seven sections. Each of the sections dealt with one quality assurance measure. Both instruments were subjected to face validation by four experienced lectures two of who specialized in measurement and evaluation, one specialized in mathematics education and one specialized in psychology. The Cronbach Alpha reliability coefficients of the different sections of the QAIRS ranged from .80 to .97. The items of these instruments were administered to the respondents by the researcher with the aid of five research assistants. The data so collected were analyzed using descriptive and inferential statistics. Thus, the research questions were answered on the basis of the means and standard deviations computed for the items and sections of the QAIRS and this was in some cases supplemented by the answers to the interview questions. The hypotheses were tested using the ANOVA and the t-test statistics. The findings of the study showed that the implementation of policy guidelines in respect of such external quality assurance measures as accreditation and external examiners are effectively carried out in the colleges of education in the South East. Also, quality assurance measures dealing with teaching practice and college examinations were implemented to a high degree. On the other hand, the implementation of regulations relating to such internal quality assurance measures as appointment of academic staff, and professional development was carried out at a low level. It was also found that the private colleges of education in the zone were comparatively poor in policy implementation. It was inferred as a major implication of the findings of the study that haphazard implementation in the area of academic staff appointment would result in the recruitment of low quality Lecturers who are not likely going to produce high quality students. Consequently, it was recommended inter-alia that the NCCE should step up its monitoring and evaluation functions and in doing this, should pay serious attention to the private colleges so as to ensure their compliance with laid down regulations.