Education Planning

This discussion looks into education planning by explaining how forces of stability and change have impacted education planning. It expounds on the role of education planning. It explains what is involved in goal setting and gives the importance of goal setting in education planning. Table of Contents 1. 0 Education Planning4 1. 1 Need for Change4 1. 2 Conflicting Forces of Stability and Change5 2. 0 Role of Education Planning6 2. 1 Defining Goals and Objectives7 . 2 Analysis of the existing situation8 2. 3 Generating Systems and Policies9 3. 0 Goal Setting9 3. 1 Clarity & Challenge9 3. 2 Commitment10 3. 3 Feedback11 3. 4 Task Complexity11 4. 0 Importance of Goal setting in Education Planning12 4. 1 Clarity and Motivation12 4. 2 Maintaining Focus13 4. 3 Commitment13 5. 0 Summary13 References16 1. 0 Education Planning The provision of educational and training opportunities has been a standing objective of the Government of Kenya since independence in 1963.

Education has been considered by different stakeholders in the country as an important vehicle for socio-economic and political development (Kiungu, 2000). Education has been seen as a fundamental strategy for human capital development and a crucial vehicle for enhancing the quality of life. However, as Kenya approaches the 21st century, the county is faced with new challenges of meeting the public demand for education and training both as a human right and as an essential investment in the strive to attain the status of a newly industrialized country.

These challenges point to the need for the education sector to rise up to change brought about by new developments in the educational sector. 1. 1 Need for Change “Change is inevitable. Change is constant” (Disraeli, 1804-1881). Change is related to growth. If you do not change, you do not see, hear, feel, know or go toward anything more than what you are now. The game with change, is trying to manage the trends inherent in change. The educational system and environment in Kenya has been subjected to a barrage of change that has manifested itself in various developments (IPAR, 2008).

Nearly 73 per cent of the government’s social sector spending and 40 per cent of the national recurrent expenditure goes to education. Additionally, households spend between 5 and 7 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on education (Republic of Kenya, 2007) Access, equity, curriculum relevance and quality challenges have characterized Kenya’s education system over the years. Despite efforts by various stakeholders, including the government, to minimize the negative effects of these factors, the internal and external efficiency of the education sector are questionable.

A number of ‘Commissions’ and ‘Ministerial Task Forces’ have been detailed to review education sector policies. Examples include, those chaired by Simon Ominde, Peter Gachathi, C. B. Mackay, James Kamunge, and Davy Koech. There have also been innumerable Task Forces, among other efforts to bring about change in the education sector. 1. 2 Conflicting Forces of Stability and Change Organizations seek flexibility so that they can quickly adapt to environmental challenges, explore new ideas, processes and reduce costs.

At the same time there are various forces that promote stability. Stability is sought because of the wish to reduce uncertainty and maintain consistency of actions. Some level of tension exists in an organizations pursuit of both stability and change (Leana & Bruce, 2000). In the governments effort to provide Education for all, self defeating disparities have occurred due to lack of careful projecting, scheduling and programming of the flow of components e. g. teachers, books, classrooms and equipment.

For example, in the case of school buildings and pupil enrolment taking priority while teacher training and textbook supply taking a back seat, the resultant is a high turnout of pupils who find themselves without teachers or textbooks. The availability of Teachers, textbooks, classrooms and pupils is complementary to success of a good educational plan and with any one component missing the others are handicapped (Coombs, 1970). Both supply and demand for education have to be met in equal proportion.

In Kenya introduction of The Education For all Policy has brought about an imbalance between supply and demand. Excesses in demand are brought about by increase in enrolment of pupils into schools. Shortage of supply is due to limited administrative ability in school systems to handle the high increase in demand, Length of time and availability of resources needed to recruit and develop competent staff to handle new pupils, Availability of resources and manpower needed to construct new schools/ classrooms for the new pupils (Coombs, 1970).

The government has promptly responded to the demand for change. It has planned to meet the increase in demand for education by making education free for all. It is however faced with the challenge of maintaining stability in terms of accessibility, equity, relevance and quality. Another area that has seen the conflict between the forces of stability and change has bee Online and Distance Education which be seen as a product and a producer of globalization. Educational access, inequality and exclusion rom education are topics of major importance in developing and developed countries’ efforts to use Online and Distance Education as a means to respond to the forces of globalization. Socio-cultural, economic, political and technological factors and their complex combinations in the wider context of globalization show that globalizing forces affect deeply and in various ways the educational systems of any country and are expected to do so more drastically in the future. There is evidence that socio-cultural conditions are under a process of change and have an impact on educational access, inequity and exclusion.

The main reason for this is that social processes are transforming space and time in a way that space is not a barrier because time for communication and distribution is minimized thanks to the new Information and Communication Technologies – ICTs). This has been described as the “compression of the world” and “global consciousness” and the “annihilation of space through time” (Hoogvelt, 2001). All these sound very optimistic as such developments are expected to remove barriers to education (thus providing more access) and prevent exclusion and erase or smooth inequalities.

But this is not the case as nothing can be taken for granted. It is assumed that all people in every region of the globe are aware of these developments, do have the education and training that enable them to exploit the new advantages and there is the relevant infrastructure in place. A view like this cannot be supported at a time when 80% of the earth’s population has never heard a dial tone (Reddy and Manjulika, 2002). Moreover, inequality is a structural feature of society – it is something that actually exists and it can be said that new developments create a much broader gap between the members of a given society.

For example, this results to the exclusion of the poor, as they do not have the means to pursue more education and / or buy equipment needed to gain the benefits of the new ICTs. 2. 0 Role of Education Planning Planning is basically a mental exercise of meeting the future. It is a human cognitive process and a rational thinking tool for systematically implementing the consciously chosen activities. Thus, planning is considered to be an integral part of all human, social and organizational endeavors.

It is also held that an unplanned activity is as good as not having been done. A well-planned activity is almost half-done and has a greater probability of success. Some of the prevalent definitions of education planning are as follows. Educational Planning is the exercise of foresight in determining the policy, priorities and costs of an educational system having due regard for economic and political realities for the system’s potential for growth, and for the needs of the country and of the pupils served by the system. (Bebby, 1967)

Educational planning in its broadcast generic sense, is the application of rational systematic analysis to the process of educational development with the aim of making educational more effective and efficient in responding to the needs and goals of its students and society. An Educational plan refers to efforts on planned and deliberate change to be brought about in the system of education for achieving the identified relevant objectives. (Bhatnagar, et. al. , 1986) An awareness and understanding of the descriptors of educational planning provides the intrinsic and rational validity to the prepared action plan.

A deliberate conscious educational planning is required for ensuring the success ad effectiveness of the system. The other aspects of the educational planning are to address the field level problems and continuous learning from the feedbacks and reviews. 2. 1 Defining Goals and Objectives Without clearly stated objectives and priorities there is no adequate basis either for evaluating an educational system’s performance or for planning its future intelligently. If the aims of an educational system are inconsistent with its society’s principal goals, maladjustments are bound to develop between the system and society.

Likewise, if the specific objectives of various educational sub-systems are incompatible with the whole system’s broader aims, then the system will be at war with itself and its basic aims will be defeated (Coombs, 1970). The essential first step toward improving an educational system’s relevance and performance is to re-examine and clarify its basic aims and priorities and the more specific objectives of each of its sub-systems, to ensure that they are compatible with one another and with the society’s major goals, priorities, and needs.

A clarification of educational objectives is essential not only to ensure that the system is striving to do the right and relevant things, but also to provide a basis for checking how well it is actually doing them. It affords a basis for comparing alternative ways of pursuing any particular learning objective and for determining which of these is the most efficacious. 2. 2 Analysis of the existing situation

If educational systems are to make changes for the better and not simply for the sake of change, they will need a variety of diagnostic tools with which to assess their performance, identify opportunities for improvement, and monitor their progress over time. Analysis considers a number of aspects of the social context, including political, economic, demographic, cultural, and social issues which are likely to affect the decision making and even implementation processes of the education sector. The general character of a country has obvious implications for education policy analysis.

An analysis of the political environment is necessary for an understanding of the national decision-making process, the comparative value of education, and the role that education must play in the socio-political process. Educational planning involves sectoral analysis which starts with an identification and understanding of the major sectoral issues including i) Access to educational opportunities ii) Equity in the distribution of educational services iii) Structure of the education system iv) Internal efficiency v) External efficiency vi) Institutional arrangements for the management of the sector.

An assessment of the present situation cannot be complete without evaluating the forces for or against change in the event that policy changes need to be made. “There is no greater challenge facing today’s social scientists than the development of a dynamic theory of social change. Individuals and organizations with bargaining power as a result of the institutional framework have a crucial stake in perpetuating the system”. (North, 1990). Assessing the dynamics of change and the individuals or organizations with bargaining power is another role of education planning. 2. 3 Generating Systems and Policies

Another role of education planning is to devise a variety of alternative possible ‘systems’ that might be employed to achieve the specified results. Each such potential system will involve a somewhat different combination of components (inputs) and a somewhat different technology. The estimated costs and the likely results (outputs) will also vary from system to system, and some will fit into the general context better than others. New policies are usually generated when the present situation of the sector and its context is perturbed by a problem, a political decision or a reorganization scheme.

Policy options can be generated in several different ways to accommodate the disequilibrium. Policy options can be evaluated only if alternative scenarios are developed to allow estimations of the likely implications of the options considered. The ‘imaginary’ situation that would be created if a policy option were implemented is compared with the present situation, and the scenario of transition from the existing to the imaginary case is evaluated in terms of desirability, affordability, and feasibility. 3. 0 Goal Setting Goal setting results in a median performance of 16 percent and when it is combined with monetary rewards, the median performance is over 40 percent” (Locke, 1995). It is therefore important to note that goal setting motivates people and organizations to attain better performance in the long run. According to Locker (1995), for a goal to have the capability of motivation it has to contain the following components; 3. 1 Clarity & Challenge An important characteristic of the goal setting theory is that the best goals are those that are productive, clear-cut, and measurable.

Once the goal is explicit and a clear deadline has been set, there is less misunderstanding on what is expected of the employees. A vague goal has very little motivational value. At the same time, the goal has to pose sufficient challenge to the employees. If the difficulty level is too less, your employee may end up feeling like his potential isn’t being exploited well enough by the company. Clear goals are measurable and unambiguous. When a goal is clear and specific, with a definite time set for completion, there is less misunderstanding about what behaviors will be rewarded.

You know what’s expected, and you can use the specific result as a source of motivation. When a goal is vague it has limited motivational value. One of the most important characteristics of goals is the level of challenge. People are often motivated by achievement, and they’ll judge a goal based on the significance of the anticipated accomplishment. When you know that what you do will be well received, there’s a natural motivation to do a good job. Education Planning should involve goal setting that is clear and challenging. 3. 2 Commitment

If the employees are to see the goals through, commitment to it is extremely important. Employees are committed to the goal if they feel they have been active participants in its creation. Most companies encourage participative management which believes in involving the employees in the process of goal setting and decision making. Another factor that makes employees more committed towards attaining the goal is its difficulty level. If the goal is harder and more challenging, employees gain drive and inspiration from it, and show more commitment towards achieving it.

Goal commitment is a critical ingredient for goals to lead to high performance, especially when goals are difficult (Klein et al, 1999) Two key categories of approaches for building goal commitment are to increase goal importance, including the desirability of the outcomes people expect from working to attain their goals, and also to foster self efficacy, that is, people’s belief that they can attain the goal (Locke and Latham , 2002). There are at least five ways to convince people that goal attainment is worthwhile. These include a) Eliciting a public commitment to goals ) Communicating an inspiring vision c) Using an empathy box analysis (Latham, 2001) to understand and alter the perceived consequences of goal commitment d) Providing financial incentives for goal attainment e) Expressing confidence that the goal will be achieved. It is well established that goal commitment is predicted by a person’s level of self-efficacy (Wofford et al, 1992), that is, level of belief in his or her capability to successfully perform a particular task (Bandura, 1986). 3. 3 Feedback The feedback process is crucial to goal setting.

At regular intervals, you need to get together with your team and check on their progress. What have they achieved? Are they on the right direction? Did they face any problems? If yes, how did they solve them? Do they need any clarifications or additional resources to complete their goals? These are important questions that need to be answered every now and then. This activity will not only help you see where your team stands, but they will also be able to evaluate their own position. For challenging goals to lead to high performance, they need to be accompanied by adequate feedback (Erez, 1977).

It is thus important for Educational planners to be aware of how to provide feedback in a manner most likely to bring about a positive change in behavior. Feedback is most likely to foster positive changes in behavior when it is presented in a supportive manner and is specific about the behavioral and performance improvements needed, thereby providing a foundation for goal setting. SMART goals are Measurable, and this ensures that clear feedback can be provided. Feedback provides opportunities to clarify expectations, adjust goal difficulty, and gain recognition.

It’s important to provide benchmark opportunities or targets, so individuals can determine for themselves how they’re doing. Regular progress reports, which measure specific success along the way, are particularly important where it’s going to take a long time to reach a goal 3. 4 Task Complexity Task Complexity is that last characteristic in the goal setting theory. If goals are extremely complex, you need to make sure that people aren’t feeling too overwhelmed. If the task becomes too overwhelming for them, there are chances that they may feel a little bewildered or demoralized.

Once that happens, the goal may seem frustrating and they may develop resistance towards attaining it. To avoid this, the planners have to ensure that the team or employee is given a reasonable amount of time to achieve the target. It is usually a good idea to arrange for trainings or learning sessions where instructors can equip the employee with necessary skills and knowledge to tackle the task at hand (Locke and Latham , 2002). People who work in complicated and demanding roles probably have a high level of motivation already.

However, they can often push themselves too hard if measures aren’t built into the goal expectations to account for the complexity of the task. It’s therefore important that: • Sufficient time is given to meet the goal or improve performance. • Enough time is provided for the person to practice or learn what is expected and required for success. The whole point of goal setting is to facilitate success. Therefore the conditions surrounding the goals should not frustrate or inhibit people from accomplishing their objectives (Klein et al, 1999).

This reinforces the “Attainable” part of SMART 4. 0 Importance of Goal setting in Education Planning Goals and objectives help us cope with the conflicting forces of stability and change. Goal setting contains several inherent qualities that make the exercise essential for educational planning. Some of these important aspects of goal setting include; 4. 1 Clarity and Motivation Goals establish purpose by providing clarity of direction and action. Without a goal it would be very difficult to determine which actions would be relevant at what time and for which situation.

When goals are set in education planning, clear direction is laid as to what action should be taken by each person in the system and how they should react to certain circumstances. For example if one of the goals of the education sector is to ensure that over 50 percent of secondary school students are able to get entry into universities then it becomes clear that efforts should be directed towards producing students who have qualified to enter university and providing the resources for them to be able to do so. Goals also give us motivation. They are an important part of motivation and quality of life.

They inspire us to extend ourselves and our mindset. They push us further than we thought possible. Being receptive to new goals and ways of thinking can really elevate the quality of life. At times they may be demanding and require time, effort and commitment but that is the point about having goals. They are supposed to make us work and move us from our comfort zone. Taking the previous example, people involved in providing education would be motivated to uphold quality standards and exert more effort for as long as the targeted 50 percent of secondary school students have attained entry into university. . 2 Maintaining Focus Having clearly defined goals helps one in maintaining focus. A clear goal acts as a constant reminder to what one wants to achieve in life and hence goals keep us moving in the right direction. Goal setting also ensures that the efforts of all players are directed towards achieving one purpose. When the goals of each component of an organization are aligned in one direction the result is that there is a high possibility of attaining the organizations objectives. Maintaining focus also involves resource allocation.

When goals are clearly set, resources will be directed to fulfilling the goals and will not be wasted on pursuits that have no significance to the mission of the organization. Efficiency is attained because focus is placed on what is important and wastage brought about by ambiguous courses of action is avoided. This is important when there is a clash between forces of stability and change. Our goals determine whether we are to focus on maintaining stability or we are to adopt and move along with change. 4. 3 Commitment

Goals help us to overcome procrastination and make us to keep moving. When there are clear cut goals one cannot rest until they have attained their goals. When goals are clearly set, people are motivated to keep going until results are obtained in line with the set goals. 5. 0 Summary Education is an important vehicle for socio economic and political development. It is a fundamental strategy for human capital development. Kenya is faced with new challenges to meet public demand for education in the new millennium.

Change is inevitable and the education system and environment has been subject to various waves of change that have demanded deliberate action to cope with the conflicting forces of stability and change. As much as organizations seek flexibility to adopt to change, they also seek stability to reduce uncertainty and maintain consistency. The Kenyan education sector has been faced with demands for both flexibility to adopt to change and stability to maintain consistency in the quality of education. One significant change has been the increase in school enrolment brought about by the Education for All policy.

An issue of demand for stability has risen in conflict with the rising pupil population. This is in relation to recruitment and training of competent personnel. Similarly online and distance education has been seen as an option for higher learning that ensures accessibility, prevents exclusion and smoothes inequalities. This statement however assumes that all people have access to information communication technology and hence universal access cannot be achieved. Planning is considered to be an integral part of all human, social and organizational endeavors.

Without clearly stated objectives and priorities there is no adequate basis either for evaluating an educational system’s performance or for planning its future intelligently. A clarification of educational objectives is essential not only to ensure that the system is striving to do the right and relevant things, but also to provide a basis for checking how well it is actually doing them If educational systems are to make changes for the better and not simply for the sake of change, they will need a variety of diagnostic tools with which to assess their performance, identify opportunities for improvement, and monitor their progress over time.

Educational planning involves sectoral analysis which starts with an identification and understanding of the major sectoral issues. An assessment of the present situation cannot be complete without evaluating the forces for or against change in the event that policy changes need to be made. Another role of education planning is to devise a variety of alternative possible ‘systems’ that might be employed to achieve the specified results. Goal setting increases performance. The best goals are those that are productive, clear-cut, and measurable. If the employees are to see the goals through, commitment to it is extremely important.

For challenging goals to lead to high performance, they need to be accompanied by adequate feedback. People who work in complicated and demanding roles probably have a high level of motivation already. However, they can often push themselves too hard if measures aren’t built into the goal expectations to account for the complexity of the task. Goals and objectives help us cope with the conflicting forces of stability and change. They establish purpose by providing clarity of direction and action. Goals also give us motivation. They are an important part of motivation and quality of life.

Having clearly defined goals helps one in maintaining focus. A clear goal acts as a constant reminder to what one wants to achieve in life and hence goals keep us moving in the right direction. Goals help us to overcome procrastination and make us to keep moving.