Vocational Education Teacher

Towards A Better Teachers’ Performance Management in Nigeria: The Balance Scorecard Approach

Introduction

Education is sacrosanct to national development. Education and national development are the two sides of a coin that mutually reinforce and challenge each other. Jega [1997] affirmed, “Education is generally regarded as a necessary and essential requirement for national development. It is central to socioeconomic and technological advancement, and it is critical to self-sustaining and self-generating process of positive transformation of modern society.”

The government appreciates the significance of education to national development and will marshal its resources to attain its avowed goal of a reinvigorated public service. Odumosu [2004] said, “Education in Nigeria is … a huge government venture that has witnessed evolution of government complete and dynamic intervention and active participation. The Federal Government has adopted education as an instrument per excellence for effective national development.”

It is antithetical that service delivery in the education sector is unattractive despite its strategic role in effective national development. It is palpable that the sector is a not-for-profit public enterprise. There is, however, a general consensus among stakeholders ranging from government supervisory agencies, practitioners, parents and the press to learners that the standard of education falls far below expectations.

Who is a Teacher?

Achimugu [2000] stated that Nigerian Teachers Union NUT (1994) defines a teacher “as a person who has the registrable professional qualification, which enables him to be appointed to teach at any appropriate level of recognized education in any nation and who is of sound mind and who is mentally alert.”

The World Book Encyclopedia [1985] expanded the scope to include “those of a school counselor, school psychologist, general supervisor or supervisor of a subject area, reading specialist, coordinator of guidance, school principal, director of vocational education, teacher of handicapped children, superintendent of schools, director of instruction, dean of students, college administrator, or teacher in a demonstration school.”

In Search of A Better Performance Management System

The traditionally appraisal method of evaluation that polarize the performance of teachers between qualitative and quantitative indices is an annual or biennial ritual in the school system today. Unfortunately, it has become a routine. It is ineffectual because of the prevalence of teachers’ suboptimal performance and poor service delivery. The method is subject to abuse by supervising officers who disregard meritocracy for the ‘Nigerian Factor’ variables such as nepotism, length of service and godfather syndrome to adjudge teachers’ performance and promote the lucky few despite glaring gaps in output and absence of total quality management.

The major problem policy makers and administrators face aside getting teachers with requisite quality is that of guaranteeing quality service from these teachers. The recommendation of Afe [2001] that “When well-qualified people are recruited into teaching, high standards are ensured” cannot achieve this objective. The performance of these qualified and productive teachers will not be measured and sustained if the system of performance management is defective.

Concept of Balanced Scorecard

Kaplan and Norton [1992] developed Balanced Scorecard [BSC] in 1992 at Harvard Business School in United States of America. The Balanced Scorecard is a strategic management system that enables institutions to spell out their vision and strategy, and transform them in actions capable of achieving its mission. It is fundamentally used to determine organizational performance using financial and non-financial measurement in four perspectives: financial, customer, internal process, and learning and growth.

Kaplan & Norton [2002] said,

“We created the Balanced Scorecard because financial measurements had become insufficient for contemporary organizations. Strategies for creating value had shifted from managing tangible assets to knowledge-based strategies that created and deployed an organization’s intangible assets, including customer relationships; innovative products and services; high-quality and responsive operating processes; skills and knowledge of the workforce; the information technology that supports the workforce and links the firm to its customers and suppliers; and the organizational climate that encourages innovation, problem-solving, and improvement.”

The Balanced Scorecard is a performance management approach that is flexible and adaptable to fit any size institution. It aligns vision and mission with stakeholders’ expectations and the day-to-day activities of the institution, manages and evaluates strategy and guides operation efficiency plans. It also assists to develop organization capacity. The scorecard allows the institution to measure financial and customer results, operations, and organization capacity as shown in Figure 1 below:

Figure 1: Balanced Scorecard Links Performance Measures [Source: Kaplan S. R. & Norton P. D. [1992] The Balanced Scorecard – Measures that Drive
Performance, Harvard Business Review Magazine – January-February 1992 Edition, Boston, Massachusetts]

Figure 2: Howard Rohm’s Design of Balanced Scorecard Performance System [Source: Performance Management in Action – A Balancing Act. Perform Volume 2, Issue 2]

Balanced Scorecard in Education

The Balanced Scorecard takes into cognizance that mission is the key driver of the performance of institutions in the public sector. In application to the education sector, therefore, the scorecard framework will change from profit making in Figure 2 to reflect its mission-driven nature stated in Figure 3. The Federal College of Education [Technical] Akoka as a not-for-profit institution has a mission to train quality teachers that would in turn educate learners in lower levels of the education sector, and empower entrepreneurs to establish micro businesses to boost the economy of the nation. Balanced Scorecard will entrench strategies to measure the performance of teachers in the College to determine their operational efficiencies in curriculum implementation and classroom teaching towards the actualizing of its mission.

Figure 3: Design of Education Sector Balanced Scorecard [An adaptation from Howard Rohm design of public sector balanced scorecard]

There is a paradigm shift of emphasis in the focus and positions of the perspectives of the basic design of the public sector scorecard system in Figure 3 in contrast to the generic Balanced Scorecard performance system in Figure 2 because of the emphasis on Mission in the former. Employees & Institutional Capacity in Figure 3 substitutes Learning & Growth in Figure 2 to underscore the relative significance of teachers as a leading element to synchronizes other components for achieving institutional mission. Again, budget in Figure 3 is preferred to financial perspective in Figure 2 because of the importance of budget formulation and execution processes in the management of government funds.

Balanced Scorecard Benefits to Education

1. The Balanced Scorecard invents the concept of continuous learning in performance management system of the institutions. It aligns all the staff to strategy in a single framework and eliminates multiplicity of strategy institution-wide implementation. It involves the selection of metrics for the measurement processes, selection of initiatives, cohesively mould these initiatives into a single platform for strategic deployment and Spartan allocation of resources to eliminate waste.

2. It entrenches strategic planning as a way of life rather than as a convenient alternative. It helps to build a rational budgeting system in a tightly regulated economy with finite national financial resources. It ties resource allocations to performance and replaces reliance on intuition in decision making to a systematic fact-based executive decision-making. It forecasts future outcome by generating cause-effect predictions and creating scenarios.

3. It assists to improve the institution’s facilities, perception and rating of teachers in the mind of the stakeholders as well as raises visibility of teachers’ activities in implementing government’s reform programmes, facilities feedback and entrench a culture of public accountability.

4. It enables institutions to benchmark best practices in terms of teachers’ performance and output of service delivery by using performance measurement data collected as a basis of comparison with global data resources.

5. It alleviates the funding burden on government. Education is not only a costly venture but also an economic venture without immediate return. Balanced Scorecard will clarify the budgetary goals of the institution and accelerate its budgeted economic returns. As Colleges of Education gains funding autonomy, the scorecard will entrench a culture of budgetary prudence and fiscal discipline.

Building & Implementing A Balanced Scorecard

This paper proposes a seven-step framework for the implementation of balanced scorecard for measuring teachers’ performance in the education sector in Nigeria.

1. Select Balanced Scorecard Team

A team should be selected and charged with a responsibility to design and implement the balance scorecard. The team will evaluate the institution’s mission, core beliefs, public expectations, budgetary position, short- and long-term goals and outline value creation parameters for stakeholders. It should obtain resource requirements to develop and sustain the scorecard, and develop a rollout communications plan for teachers’ buy-in and resultant support for the changes from stakeholders. This communications plan will involve internal and external public information activities to educate teachers and stakeholders about the Balanced Scorecard initiative and how it works.

2. Clarify Institutional Strategy & Objectives

The institution will design a number of overarching themes that will be crafted into specific institutional strategies. Examples could be to Improve Teacher Education, Upgrade Quality of Teaching Materials or Create a New Venture. Certain level of creative thinking from the rank and file of teachers is required in order to achieve results at this stage. The team should collation of these themes. In the process, it should not impose any premeditated themes on the process. This will eliminate hidden agenda from any interest group and allow for effective selection of specific strategies for adoption.

The next level is to split the chosen institutional strategy smaller components is called objectives. The objectives are the basic building blocks of strategy, that is the components that make up complete strategies. In this instance, the strategy of a central theme of Improve Teacher Education or Create a New Venture could have such objectives as Deploy effective teaching methodology and traditional discipline, Increased Teacher trainers expertise, skills and abilities, Improved Technology Capacity or Effective and Effective and Efficient Corporate Governance, Improved Service Value, Reduce Reliance on Government Allocation among others.

3. Design Strategic Map

The team, at this stage, will build a strategic map for the institution’s overall business strategy. This map is the mechanism that shows how an objective [effect] is dependent on another objective [cause], and how, taken together, they form a strategic thread from activities to desired end outcomes. It usually will use the cause-effect linkages [i.e. if-the logic connections]. Thereafter, the components [objectives] of strategy are connected and placed in appropriate scorecard perspective categories. The relationship among strategy components is used to identify the key performance drivers of each strategy that, taken together, chart the path to successful outcome as will be perceived through the eyes of customers and stakeholders.

4. Develop Performance Measures

The team will develop performance measures to track both strategic and operational progress. At the stage, the desired outcomes and the processes that are used to produce these outcomes are clearly spelt out. Desired outcomes are measured from the perspective of internal and external outcomes, and processes are measured from the perspective of the process owners and the activities needed to meet customer requirements. Relationships among the anticipated results and the process needed to get the results should be fully understood before the team can assign meaningful performance measures. Specifically, the Strategic Map should be used to develop meaningful performance measures for each objective.

5. Champion New Initiatives

The team will now identify new initiatives that are needed for implementation to ensure that the new strategies evolved are successful in the institution. The focal point of Steps 1 to 4 is that it will lead the team to evolve new initiatives. These new initiatives developed at the end of the scorecard building process are more strategic than if they are developed in the abstract.

6. Implementation

This stage involves the implementation of the new initiatives developed through the balanced scorecard by transmitting the details of implementation milestones and responsibilities throughout the institution to the various schools and departments, and ultimately to teachers, non-academic staff and students. The corporate scorecard will be translated into the various schools and departments scorecards that are aligned with the institutional strategy. The team should note that the most effective way of achieve this is to start with the objectives and measures from the institution-wide strategy map, and develop supporting objectives [and measures] for the various schools and department, teachers, non-academic staff and students.

7. Post Implementation Review
At this stage, the Balanced Scorecard gains advantage over other traditional methods of appraisal because it allows of the inbuilt mechanism of post-implementation auto-evaluation. The success of the institutional strategies adopted is reviewed to determine whether the anticipated results have been attained. The team will need to align the overall strategy of the institution [that is, the mission] to ensure that there is no deviation. Feedback mechanism is created to test the strategy assumptions to determine their effectiveness. This feedback is analyzed and public expectations are factored into the analysis for effective review.

Recommendations

The following recommendations are offered to the Federal Ministry of Education to consider Balanced Scorecard approach for achieving better teachers’ performance management in the education sector in Nigeria.

1. Balanced Scorecard should be adopted as a performance management system for teachers and administrators in the school system. The scorecard is not expensive to implement because it can build on existing appraisal methods and synchronize methods into a single platform of performance management.

2. A national central working committee comprising of team of seasoned professionals drawn from the academia and Organized Private Sector should be set up to advance the study of Balance Scorecard beyond the precursory template of this paper and conduct extensive research with the objective of designing a national strategic map for the different levels of educational institutions in Nigeria from the Universities, Polytechnics, Colleges of Education. Competent and resourceful professionals should be appointed into the various scorecard teams at the national and local levels.

3. A phased introduction and implementation of Balanced Scorecard over a period of twelve to twenty-four is advocated. This will allow for effective orientation and dissemination of the communications plans to carry along all stakeholders. Change management will be effective to eliminate resistance and sabotage of the scorecard will be taken care of with this strategy.

4. Government should have the national will to approve the adoption of Balanced Scorecard and make adequate funds and resources like technology, and literature available for its successful implementation.

5. There should be knowledge exchange programme through the use of resource community at the local and international level. This activity will deepen the knowledge and competence of the local and national teams that are empowered to facilitate the introduction and implementation of the scorecard.

References

Achimugu, L. [2000], The agonies of nigerian teachers: nut – friend or foe.
Kano: Baron Press Limited

Afe, J.O. (2001), Reflections on becoming a teacher and: challenges of
teacher education. University of Benin: Inaugural Lecture Series 64

Aghenta, J.A. (1991) Teacher effectiveness in the nigerian educational
system. Edited by B.C. Emenogu, O.V.N. Okoro et al Onitsha, Orient Publishers Ltd.

Berkman, Eric [2002] How to use the balanced scorecard, CIO Magazine Issue of
May 15, 2002. International Data Group Company

Federal Republic of Nigeria (1998). National policy on education. Lagos,

Jega, A.M. (1997): The state and education in Nigeria today, paper presented at
the “Kano Week ’97, organized by the Kano State Students’ Association,
Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto, September 15.

Kaplan S. R. & Norton P. D. [1992] The balanced scorecard – measures that
drive performance, Harvard Business Review Magazine – January-February
1992 Edition, Boston, Massachusetts: Harvard Business School Press

Kaplan S. R. & Norton P. D. [1996] The balanced scorecard: translating
strategy into action, Boston, Massachusetts: Harvard Business School Press

Kaplan S. R. & Norton P. D. [2001] The strategy-focused organization: how
balanced scorecard companies thrive in the new business
environment, Boston, Massachusetts: Harvard Business School Press

Kaplan S. R. & Norton P. D. [2002] Partnering: the new face of leadership,
AMACOM

Odumosu, A. I. O. [2004] Basic principles of education and methods of
teaching. Ibadan: Olu-Akin Publishers

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