There is generally a tendency to talk about education and education system in the same breath whereas in reality there is a great difference between the two.
The term education system is almost exclusively specific to public schooling and not private schooling, starting from kindergarten through to high school. The school is the smallest and most basic part of an education system with individual states having their own education systems. In simple terms, an education system is comprises of everything that is required for educating public school students at various levels – the community, State or Federal levels.
The issue of education system is actually made more complex by the fact that it is generally referred to in generic terms without being specific about what is referring to and giving examples. This is true especially in the media and in public discourses when education system is loosely mentioned to mean education in all its totality.
What then are the variables that form the foundation of an education system keeping in mind that the term refers to public education only –
Regulations – Like any aspect of social or welfare activities that are directed by State or Federal Government, education system are also controlled by its own policies, laws and regulations. The Govt from time to time will pass guidelines to give meaningful direction to the path that education must follow within its jurisdiction.
Funding – The controlling authorities determine the level of public funding of the education system, resource allocations as well as putting processes in place that can quickly determine funding levels that are required.
Human resources – The Community, State or Federal agencies decide on staffing patterns for schools, draw up contracts, decide on compensation to be paid and determine employee benefits. In short, the education system is like any other Government controlled departments and human resources allocation is a very important part of it.
Logistics – This includes setting up school facilities, state and district administrative offices to oversee the functioning of schools and arranging transportation vehicles. It goes without saying that optimising logistics is crucial for the smooth functioning of an education system.
Teaching resources – Deciding and preparing teaching resources such as study materials and arranging for books and computers for the students
There are countless other factors that prop up an education system and like the teaching profession, it can be extremely complex. The most important is introducing reforms and changes in the educational system periodically to keep up with the changing needs of the school system and learning curriculum.