In My OPINION
The Professional Association of Diving Instructors (Padi), as well as the British Army, uses this System Approach to Training for its instructional requirements, so there's a good chance it could work for Thailand's education sector too.
Internal quality assurance badly needed
The external quality assessment function is ably taken care of by Onesqa (Office for National Education Standards and Quality Assessment). My main concern is how to prepare for the submission of documents detailing the meeting of standards on a yearly basis.
I have seen the annual mad rush at reporting time to amass the paperwork needed to submit details to the relevant authorities. If systems that make the daily work compatible with the standards required were in place, reporting of those standards would be much easier.
I remember working in Bangkok and a teacher at my place of work decided to omit a section from the book as he felt that his students didn't need to learn it. Come examination time, this section was in the test, resulting in his students achieving lower marks compared to their peers.
Having a system in place not only assists with the reporting process, but also serves as a standard operating procedure that details what should be done and how to do it.
Systems Approach to Training
From the diagram, you can see that some flexibility must be allowed to adapt what is basically a military document to an educational setting. It also allows for differences in education establishments, allowing for individual models to be derived from the original concept.
Stage one involves the analysing of the course required and how it fits into the curriculum. This leads to the specifics of the course. I like Can Do statements. Next, the written course objectives are reviewed by subject matter experts.
The course is next designed in a cohesive way, and then conducted. All courses need to be validated and modified as necessary. However, modification is not to be done in a unilateral fashion. Any modifications must be reported back to those who analyse the job and write the training objectives to see if the modification is necessary. Basically, there has to be a chain of command.
This is a very simplistic view of what really happens. However, I think you may well agree that there is something here which we can work with.
I am not advocating that all establishments rigidly conform to the system as it is shown here. What I am saying is that it is possible to use the system and adapt it to fit our own specific educational needs.
Having a system like this in place would make life a lot easier when it comes to providing Onesqa with their requirements near reporting time and should hopefully elevate the quality of the education services provided by raising the level of our internal quality assurance. Only then will the daily routine in our schools and universities reflect the quality needed to reach our educational goals.
Steve Graham is an English-language teacher at the Language Centre, Udon Thani Rajabhat University in northeast Thailand. If you would like to discuss matters related to this article, you may send your comments to 'In My Opinion' at firstname.lastname@example.org.