In the age of globalization, planning is critical to every environment of education as currently, school leaders are under pressure to use the techniques, methods and solutions in order to support their organization for improving quality, performance, efficiency, effectiveness and satisfy all stakeholders.
Thus, school make the strategic plans that are made on research-based method of inquiry that allow school planners to create their own futures after rigorous organization assessment and long-range planning that is followed by execution in order to realize the desired future.
School strategic planning take into consideration the internal and external environment, qualitative and quantitative information, resources constrains, participatory involvement and rising demands of various stakeholders.
The most productive strategic approach in schools should be based on consulting and encouraging the participation of all relevant stakeholders [parents, principals, teachers, students, school management team, community leaders, interest groups and everyone concerning with educational service] in meeting varying demands and contributing to school effectiveness and improvement (Lingam et al., 2014). This article highlights the issue of School strategic Planning in the Pacific and its relevance.
School Strategic Planning
Under strategic planning, the planner’s goals and objectives; audits the organization for internal strengths and weaknesses; assesses the external environment for opportunities and threats, evaluates strategic options and later, select and operationalizes an organizational strategy. Strategic planning focuses the organization’s attention on its environment, both internal and external, and on its challenges and risks, and provides a framework for guiding its operation in the desired direction over the future (Tokai, 2005).
Conceptual strategic plan for education is defined to have steps, beginning from The Plan to Plan; Mission and Vision; Situational Analysis (SWOT and data collection); statement of goals; selection of strategies; development of strategic plan; implementation; and lastly, monitoring and evaluation (Tokai, 2005). In education, various factors need to be considered i.e. demographic changes, strengthening the curriculum, shrinking financial support, retaining effective teachers, utilizing information technology and preparing the students for the labour market.
School Strategic Planning consist of taking into consideration all questions related to school community in context of past, and what can be the future ways that need to be chosen for educational development and the strategies that will help in attainment of the future paths and to assess all possible indictors that would depict the targeted success factors’ attainable graph. School strategic planning is related to establishment of goals, analyzing the ways to accomplish these goals and assessing all resources that may be required to achieve the desired actions. It involves setting out the school’s development planning and strategies in order to plan the future, which needs to be based on consultation, discussion and participation of relevant stakeholders. Stakeholder engagement consist of staff, management, parents and students, so the school leaders should provide for the active participation of all relevant stakeholders in order to plan efficiently and effectively. Participation in educational decision-making affects people to develop a strong feeling of commitment and ownership in the teaching process and can enhance the quality of performances of the students.
Now a days, school strategic plan highlight the expectation and educational trends that are based on providing universal education to enhance students’ academic, emotional and spiritual needs, and based on directions through review or school self-evaluation. This plan has flexibility as it may change according to the changing conditions of the school to incorporate modifications. It brings the vision of the future into focus and keeps it focused in changing conditions. Developing a strategic plan is related to development of a framework for school future policy and actions that provides an organization with a unified direction; and it is based on decisions about desired future of school organization in context of internal and external environment.
Importance of School Strategic Planning
School strategic Planning is vital for accomplishing the mission and vision of a school; as it enhances motivation, vision and by making every task of school more responsible towards its students. This support public involvement and accountability as this process ensures that school develop appropriate instructions, curriculum and assessment, as per the desired stands and student achievement goals. It support stakeholder discussion in for achieving the vision for education of the children and suggest best possible ways to achieve it. School strategic plan helps the education system to produce a coherent, comprehensive and logical form of instruction, assessment and curriculum and provide essential support in order to achieve the desired goals.
Successful school strategic plan has following steps, identify the areas of improvement, associate with relevant stakeholders in the improvement of planned strategy; realizing its objectives, features and implementation plan followed with evaluation process and ways that can be re-planning for improvement for the future of the school sector and students involved.
The benefits of school strategic planning can only be achieved when it has clear shared mission, vision and purpose; eradicate the uncertainties and provide solutions to management to counter obstacles in context of education; it produce a direction and framework that assist in making positive decisions for effective governance and management of essential priorities; take into account the financial capability and constrains and gives strategies to enhance it by fundraising; Logical resource allocation that align the necessities in regard to financial structure; divide the available resources; it assist in monitoring achievement and organization’ performance in context of achieving the set mission and vision; enhance the school’s organization commitment and leadership in relation to staff to establish a bond between them as a team effort.
Educational leaders should be practical and passionate about the school’ strategic planning potential and sustainable practice in relation to it. Sustainability is essential as the school strategic plan determines the future of students, nations’ economic growth, success of producing the human capital, providing effective and efficient teaching and learning approach. This is a way forward that can assure school stakeholders to achieve the vision and mission for effective school administration. This process commence from plan, goes for execution, and followed with continuous assessment of the vision, mission and objectives, so the plan should be flexible to the changing circumstances. This plan should be forward looking with optimism and confidence in school prospective as a leap forward towards providing continuous quality and improvement related to all stakeholders’ interest in order to plan a future enhancement, putting forward clear comprehensive goals to accomplish the school’s strategic planning.
Disclaimer: Dr. Sakul Kundra is an assistant professor in history, at the College of Humanities and Education of the Fiji National University. PhD History (Jawaharlal Nehru Univeristy), M.Phil History, MA History, PGD in Journalism, PGD in Book Publishing and PGD in Education (USP, Dec, 2018). The views expressed are his own and not of this newspaper or his employer. For comments or suggestions, email. firstname.lastname@example.org