Committ(e)ed to Education

committeesIn terms of being professional and making decisions – it does strike me as quite odd that teaching is one of the few professions where people deter the most important decisions to committees.  While there is no doubt that teaching is definitely a social-cultural activity and as such, knowledge is validated by the collective, education seems to defer most decisions to the collective.

Why is this? Are educationists afraid of making decisions? Education at its most fundamental should take into account people’s various worldviews, and should have purpose that is meaningful to the stakeholders.  Often, this is articulated especially in the tertiary environment by policy and procedure, which has in term been stipulated by standards or statutes by external quality bodies.  So why do we need more committees – committees that review and re-do, and then more committees such as Academic Boards or Boards of Studies that approve.  If the policies and procedures are based on evidence based research, then what do all the extra bodies achieve?

Are they in place to manage compliance?  That is, to ensure that people are following policy and procedure we have created a bureaucracy to meet it.  Then, somehow the policies and procedures, commonly referred to as “QMS” becomes the motivation force for work, instead of the research based praxis the policy was designed to manage.  Has this system of management become necessary because of lack of professional knowledge that informed the policies and procedures in the first place? 

It seems to me, that the most efficient use of the collectives’ knowledge is to justify, debate and analyse policies and procedures at their inception.  These are the tools that allow practice to be structured to common goals and create opportunities for data collection which can further inform policy revision.  Decision-making then shouldn’t justify more debate for approval.  Quality management should naturally fall within the reflective cycle of teaching where transparent and reflective assessments are made on the praxis and the product of the education session. 

I think this is where the sector is finally going.  It is maturing to realise that people in education should not be afraid of making decisions – should not be afraid of recognizing the different values of praxis or products, and should be brave enough to illicit frank and honest reflection.  This places more emphasis on teachers being more like other professionals – accountable, self-assessing and self-improving, reducing their reliance on hiding behind committees. The next step is teacher registration  …..


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