In partner developing countries of the Global Partnership for Education, a strong, credible education sector plan (ESP) lays the foundation for mobilizing resources and aligning efforts to achieve the Education for All goals. But what does a credible sector plan look like? What are the steps a country needs to take to prepare a plan? Once a plan is written, what criteria are used to appraise it?
New guidelines published by the Global Partnership for Education and International Institute for Education Planning (IIEP) aim to help developing country partners, donors and all education stakeholders to prepare and appraise education sector plans.
The Guidelines for Education Sector Plan Preparation set out the essential features of a credible ESP, starting with the need for an overall vision. As a national policy instrument, elaborated under the responsibility of the government, country ownership and vision are essential.
The ESP should also be based on sound analysis of the current situation in the education sector. A broad range of questions should be analyzed and reflected in the plan:
- What works and what doesn’t?
- Where are the biggest needs?
- Have the needs of marginalized children, girls and children with disabilities been considered?
- How will activities be financed?
Of course, a plan should be achievable and include provisions to monitor and measure progress. This needs to be built into any strategy. However, no plan is the same as another: sensitivity to context is essential, as is paying attention to disparities between genders, socio-economic or ethnic groups and addressing their different needs.
Developing an education sector plan through an inclusive process
Elaborating an education sector plan is the responsibility of the government. At all stages of the plan preparation, education stakeholders should be consulted. Through thisinclusive process, the vision should be agreed, and the plan should then define strategies to achieve that vision. Efficient policy dialogue ensures mutual accountability, and helps reach balance between political ambitions and reality constraints.
For further details and a step by step guide including program design, costing and budgeting, implementation and monitoring and evaluation:
Appraising an education sector plan
The new Guidelines for Education Sector Plan Appraisal helps all education stakeholders and the wider partnership to determine whether a plan is credible enough to be endorsed and whether it is likely to deliver the desired results.
The appraisal of an ESP is an important step in mobilizing external and domestic funding. A comprehensive and credible education sector plan is a critical tool for outreach to development partners and education stakeholders internationally and nationally, including civil society, teachers and parents.
The guidelines provide key criteria against which any plan should be appraised. These include leadership and ownership, and whether the process of preparation was participatory, inclusive and supports capacity building. The ESP should be soundly evidence-based, policies and programs should be relevant, and financial frameworks should be adequate and credible.
By taking the appraisal process through a series of questions set out in the guidelines, stakeholders will also be able to ensure that an education sector plan addresses equity, efficiency and learning quality, and sets out an appropriate results framework.
We welcome your feedback
We hope that the guidelines are a useful tool for all our partners and welcome your comments and suggestions. Just as no education sector plan should be written, filed and never seen again, these guidelines are part of an iterative process that we hope will be responsive to progress, challenges and reviews.
As you use and implement the guidelines, we welcome your feedback so that we can ensure they continue to meet the needs of all partners and stakeholders in realizing the right to education for all.
Please send us your feedback at: firstname.lastname@example.org