Policy and its effects

The authors, quoting several sources, say education policy will be impacted by politics and social issues. Picture: FILE

The authors, quoting several sources, say education policy will be impacted by politics and social issues. Picture: FILE

Strategy making requires minimum time and its implementation and organisation helps to reap the benefit in a stipulated timeframe.

Therefore, policy needs to have a vision, be implemented and assessed. Otherwise it is a waste of time and resources.

This article purports to review scholars’ views on policy making for the education sector.

EFA/TVET partnership

Policy making for education requires enormous research, implementation and essential objectives to achieve desired goals.

Teachers develop the human capital of a nation thus education for all (EFA) has been the major target for UNESCO for 60 years but ground realities still remain distant from set goals.

Phillip Hughes’ article Why Access to TVET for All is Essential if Education for All is to be achieved stated universal primary education is not sufficient as “technical and vocational education training (TVET) can provide both the link with productive work and the motivation for continuing learning that will help people in the present and immediate future. A partnership between EFA and TVET can make major strides towards meeting the urgent needs of people.”

The author stated “TVET in support of EFA in this way can be a powerful means of alleviating poverty and bringing greater justice and equity to developing countries … developing productive skills but also by motivating student learning”.

What is policy,

who influences it?

Copper et al (2004) define policy as “a political process where needs, goals and intentions are translated into a set of objectives, laws, policies and programs, which in turn affect resource allocation, actions and outputs, which are the basis of evaluation, reforms and new policies”. The purpose of the policy is to provide a guide for decision making and action.

Akhila Nand Sharma’s article Overview of Educational Policy Issues and Gaps in the Pacific stated “successful management of educational policy depends largely on the nature of the political system, the political ideology, the official and non-official actors and international influences … ‘the politics of self-interest’ and bureaucratic orientations have entered the policy management scene in many of PICs”.

Politics and policy making

S Ball’s article Politics and Policy-making in Education (1990) stated making education policy is a complex phenomenon in respect to different interest, conflicts, domination or justice.

Ball explains three theoretical strategies, firstly, structural at the level of economics, who funds the education which results in contribution to productivity and profit?

Secondly, realist/interactionist at the political level that make educational policy in form of governance of education, patterns of influence that help maintain the social and political order. And lastly, discursive strategy which has ideological level that makes way to conceiving of and discussing policy resulting in transmission of an effective dominant culture”.

Similarly, Fred C Lunenburg and Beverly J Irby’s work The Principalship: Vision to Action indicated changes in the society directly connect with the policy and political occurrences in an educational institution.

Political events and social issues affect education policies, thus “the principals must be knowledgeable and cognisant of the politics surrounding the creation and implementation of the educational policies …. policy is the outgrowth of government actions”.

Successful

strategic planning

Robert Silverman’s article Building the Bridge from Vision to Results discussed 10 pillars of successful strategic planning.

* Don’t wait for the rain as to make prior plans as ‘without management attention, things age quickly and badly in a business.

* Beware of myopic incrementalism, meaning do not set financial numbers to achieve because it gives little strategic direction to executives as the company has limited approach to planning.

* Strategy is about aligning moving parts as performance can be achieved when all operating are working harmoniously so the strategy needs to be holistic.

* Strategy requires clear context, meaning it’s mandatory to have unbiased internal assessment and strong understanding of the evolving direction of their market and ecosystem …. a strategy needs to be firmly aligned with the core capabilities of the company.

* The brilliance is in the question. One has to question the status quo and all assumptions engrained into the management team. One needs to ask creative questions or in a different way.

* Strategic implementation as every strategy has its inherent strengths and weaknesses.

* The success of a strategy depends on its execution … when organisation has the understanding, direction and tools to correctly execute it, so the vision is of prime importance for execution of a policy.

* Strategy should be explicitly communicated throughout the organisation to achieve execution.

* Strategy depends on people as it depends on the cohesive leadership of the people running it and the execution of the people on the front lines, so having a sense of shared vision, joint ownership, increased communication and understanding are prerequisite for success of a strategy.

Author concludes it is pertinent to bring the management team together to define and embrace the vision, roadmap and milestone that will fundamentally guide the company into a successful future.

Another scholar David Peterson’s article Strategic Planning. ERIC Digest Series Number EA 41 describes Jr William Cook’s definition of strategic planning as “aimed at total concentration of the organisation’s resources on mutually predetermined measurable outcomes”.

Peterson said strategic planning encompassed an organisation’s entire resources and purpose which need to be constructed deliberately and thoughtfully. He stressed the organisation’s need to periodically establish and monitor its goals in order to influence the future especially in the education sector.

Objectives and goals should be set by collaborative decisions by taking the views of stakeholder groups into consideration. Strategic plans must be discussed and publicised before implementation and should be reviewed appropriately.

Conclusion

We shall conclude that politics and public education are inseparable as James Marshall et al’s work Politics, Policy, Padagogy: an Introduction stressed that education can never be neutral for it is an inherently political activity, as politics, policy and pedagogy are closely intertwined.

* The views expressed are the author’s and not of this newspaper nor of their employers.

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