Approaches to Educational Planning

Raj Kiran Doley Lecturer (DIET Sonitpur) & Academic In-charge (Gabharu Educational Block)
Raj Kiran Doley

Planning is nothing but a roadmap or strategy as to how to proceed in order to attain certain pre-determined goals within stipulated timeframe. It helps in understanding –where we are, and where we want to be. Adesina (1990) defined planning as –'a way of projecting our intentions, that is, a method of deciding what we want to accomplish'. At the same time, Ejiogu (1990) holds that –'to plan, means to project, forecast, design or make or chart out a course'. In a single line, we can say that planning refers to the act of defining the following in advance, in order to achieve the pre-determined goals or objectives of the system:
• what is to be done
• how and when to do it
• where and who is to do it
Planning Commission of India (now known as NITI AYOG) conducted five-year planning for India after independence. They consider various aspects of state and national issues while designing the plan. Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and Millennium Development Goals (MDG) of United Nations Organizations (UNO) are the examples of international planning. It is always to be noted that estimated budget provisions for financial allocations go hand in hand with the planning. Budget Estimate is also one of the planning exercises.
In education sector too, there may be different sub-sectoral goals to attain in a given period of time, which needs a blueprint to move further that may be in terms of policy, programmes, standards, etc. –this is educational planning in simple parlance. Educational Planning is long term process which happens not in a day. It is oriented towards certain educational objectives. National Institute of Educational Planning and Administration is the apex body under Ministry of Human Resource Development who conducts planning exercise in education for the Government of India.
According to Peretomode (1991), educational planning passes through the following phases:
Plan Survey and Deliberations----------> Definition of Goals and Objectives ----------> Programmes Design and Specifications ----------> Programme Provision ----------> Implementation and Control ----------> Plan Evaluation and Plan Regeneration
It tries to explain that situational analysis in the form of survey should be conducted at the very beginning and on the basis of the findings; goals and objectives are to be defined. Then, the necessary programmes or strategies are to be formulated with due specifications of the activities and provisions for the identified programmes; thereafter, the implementation of the programmes are to be done along with parallel monitoring or control and at the end, the overall plan has to be evaluated –preferably through external Govt. agencies and accordingly, re-generation of new plan or re-implementation of the existing one, as per the need of the hour.
In keeping pace with the changing global scenario and with the increasing complexity in the education system, proper planning has become very much crucial in the education system. The problems have been enhancing day by day alongwith the increasing aspirations of the different sections in the society, population explosion, skilled manpower requirements, imbalance between educational demand and supply, etc. Education intends to address all these problems and therefore, adequate and result-oriented educational planning is required.
The salient features of educational planning are:
• Educational Planning takes significant issues, challenges, constraints, implications and overall diagnosis into account, and therefore it ensures institutional success.
• It also tries to get optimal outcome with minimal inputs in terms of resources.
• A well-organized educational planning saves time, money and energy to a large extent.
• It can be considered as the proper means of achieving pre-determined educational goals.
• As Education involves a huge lot of manpower and financial resources, hence any failure of planning may lead to irreparable damage to the Government. So, well-designed planning in education helps avoid of any such wastages.
There are different types of educational planning in terms of fields/levels in an educational system which are discussed below:
(a) Administrative Planning: In education system, administrative planning refers to distribution of roles and responsibilities at different levels of education. Here, the administrative responsibilities and powers are step-wise planned in terms of the level of different educational administrators. This planning designs strategies on duration of an educational programme, organisation and co-ordination of educational programmes, financial allocation or budget for the programme, engagement of educational officials in the programme, and smooth management of the programme etc.
(b) Academic Planning: This type of educational planning refers to planning for smooth academic transaction of the syllabus for any course at any level of education. It looks into the educational demand in the society. The main function of this section of educational planning are -formulation of educational goals, curriculum development through an identified committee, selection of appropriate strategies and methods of teaching, planning of content units, planning for evaluation, planning for review of the curriculum, planning for use of library, etc.
(c) Co-curricular Planning: This planning in education is necessary for bringing about specific development of students per se and holistic development of an educational institution or organization in general. This includes planning for student welfare services, planning for sports and games, planning for social activities and programmes, planning for cultural activities and programmes, etc.
(d) Instructional Planning: This planning deals with planning in classroom situation in terms of a particular topic of a concerned subject. It includes planning for specification of instructional objectives, methods for teaching and learning, selection and organisation of learning activities, selection of appropriate means for presentation of learning experiences, monitoring of the learning or instructional progress, selection of suitable evaluation techniques for learning outcomes, etc.
(e) Institutional Planning: By "Institutional Planning" we mean the plans initiated, formulated and implemented by individual educational institutions. This type of educational planning gives a real shape to the meaning of educational planning in practice. In this context educational planning refers to the needs and requirements of every institution to be achieved through creation and maintenance of a planning atmosphere in the institution.
There are three wide approaches that are used in educational planning process, which are –Manpower approach, Social demand approach and Cost benefit analysis or rate of return analysis.
(a) Manpower Approach: Manpower approach, as the title suggests, involves forecasting for the future demands or requirements of manpower on the basis of technological requirements, rather than economic demands. Planning is carried out for the next one or two decades wherein projection of certain population is done taking the present and past as the baselines. The probable number of workforce that will be required in future and simultaneously, the probable number of skilled manpower that can be produced within the given period of time –are the prime focus of this approach. Here, the only issue is that –whether the total number of produced manpower will be skilled enough, or all of them would be equally skilled. At this point, proper implementation of the identified programmes arises. For carrying out this manpower approach, there is need of situational analysis or formative research to understand the present strengths or weaknesses in the existing system.
(b) Social Demand Approach: This approach talks about providing schools and find facilities for all students who demand (may not be claimed by them per se, but are otherwise eligible to get) admission and who are qualified to enter by the education authorities. Aghenta (1987) opined that this approach looks on education, as service demanded by people just like another social services. As per the prevailing requirements in the society, the educational planning has to be carried out with the objective to cater the needs and demands at that point of time and also by keeping the future needs in mind. The most dynamic educational issues, potential programmes, necessary infrastructure, adequate facilities, etc. are the prime focus in the social demand approach for educational planning. In this method the following steps are involved (with example):
• Estimating the proportion of students completing elementary level of education and are likely to enter into secondary education. • Estimating that all of these elementary passed out students would actually continue for secondary education. • Determining how many of the passed out students can be accommodated into the existing secondary level of education system. • Determining the required infrastructure for catering the needs accordingly. Infrastructure will include –school buildings, classrooms, teachers, support systems, etc. (c) Cost benefit or Rate of Return Analysis: This approach makes an attempt to estimate the total cost of investment in education, and also the probable return (mostly economic) out of the investment made in education. The return may not be in terms of individual financial return but most of overall national financial pay back in the long run. The areas of financial investment for education to be made by the Government would be –human resource and infrastructure, which needs a huge amount of money. Here, the main aspect that has to be kept in mind in determining the estimated budget is that –which sector of education requires what amount of finance. This can be measured by working out the present strengths and weaknesses, as well as future demands. Although cost benefit analysis doesn't guarantee solution to the problems of resource allocation, but it essentially reduces the wastage of resources, enhances chances of rational allocations of resources and provides guiding principles for optimal utilization with minimum inputs of resources.
Educational Planning requires whole lot of practical aspects of projections rather than hypothetical estimation. Although there are various approaches to educational planning, but the education planners should not restrict themselves only in one or two approaches; rather, they should integrate the all the approaches so as to avoid any blunders. Because, education is the only sector –wherein Government has to spend huge amount without expecting equal lot of economic outputs. It is more of a welfare measure and not a business that will provide a good economic return to the Government. The goal of education is to create educated and skilled manpower so that the people will be live better lives by joining into the future workforce in the country and will directly or indirectly contribute to the national growth. But at the same time, the concentration of the Government is on "human capital" and not on "human".
• Approaches to Educational Planning in Underdeveloped Countries, by Peter Spence Gudgeon (1968)
• Educational Planning in India: Meaning and Definitions and Everything Else, Article shared by Diksha Kashyap
• Social Demand Approach by Luchera F Juma
• Emergence of Educational Planning by Amna Butt