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Educator bats for performance-based funding in tertiary sector

Published:Thursday | July 9, 2015 | 12:00 AM
Dr Kofi Nkrumah-Young

Associate professor of education financing and vice-president of planning and operations at the University of Technology, Dr Kofi Nkrumah-Young, has signalled his support for performance-based funding for tertiary institutions in Jamaica.

Responding to questions from The Gleaner, Nkrumah-Young said he would support performance-based funding for tertiary institutions because of its proven ability to improve research and learning outcomes.

"It has been proven in the English system that performance-based funding has helped to improve teaching and research outcomes. Since institutions can lose their funding for programmes and research activities, then they track their students 'outcomes' and their research outputs." he said.

"This is seen also in the performance indicators that have been established and the rigorous ways in which the institutions match themselves against these indicators."

According to Nkrumah-Young: "It would have to be, however, done in such a way that it does not immediately starve the institution of upfront funding requirements. GATE (Government Assistance for Tuition Expenses), in the way it uses students to signal performance, has addressed that issue, hence another reason for supporting this form of funding mechanism. Another way is to use the English model where funding of programmes that have failed the quality assurance exercise would be withdrawn. Jamaica does not have a per-programme funding, hence another problem towards performance-based funding."

GATE is a programme which provides financial assistance to citizens of Trinidad and Tobago who are pursuing GATE-approved tertiary-level programmes at public and private tertiary-level institutions.

adopting GATE

The programme provides funding only for those programmes that have been accredited and have passed the national quality assurance exercise.

Nkrumah-Young thinks that Jamaica should adopt a version of GATE.

"It would be desirable for Jamaica to adopt a version of GATE. In so doing, it would be doing two things. First, it would be assisting needy students to finance their tertiary education by having their tuition fees covered by social funding. GATE, it must be emphasised is a form of 'free education', with the students being able to signal to the market their perception of quality by their choice of institution," he said.

He went on to posit that such a programme would attach funding to university courses that have met quality standards.

"It would be able to use the information embedded in the quality assurance reports in a direct way. As it stands, there is no link between the quality assurance exercise and the funding. If the Ministry of Information requires information about the effect of its funding, it has to undertake a separate exercise with its attendant cost to ascertain the effect. Even if they request those reports, the information may be dated. More so, there is no requirement for such exercise," he argued.