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Planning Learning

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Programmes: How to get there?


Suggest a resource

Once the key priorities and strategies are defined, they should be materialized in specific applicable programmes. The causal chain which allows identification of policies and strategies must also be used to identify specific programmes which will lead to the desired change.

It is advisable to structure the plan by sub-sectors (pre-school, primary or elementary, secondary, vocational, for adults, higher education, etc.) and/or divide them in categories (access, quality, strengthening the system, etc.).


The overall structure of an ESP generally includes the following three levels:

• A general goal or objective aimed at a specific challenge,

• Specific programmes or objectives focused on the challenge’s underlying causes,

• Activities and their corresponding targets or results.


In the previous section, the country of Eruditus identified five possible strategic options to raise the low level of instruction of primary school students. Following a deeper analysis, the causal chain seemed to indicate only all the fundamental factors (students’ limited access to books, little time dedicated to reading, absence of a culture of reading for pleasure and insufficient knowledge by teachers on ways to encourage reading) which could be controlled by a policy aimed at promoting the practice of reading at school. The team responsible for planning learning quality thus decided on Strategic Option No. 5:  give students the possibility of reading more at school by allocating necessary resources and time dedicated to reading. Following new discussions, the team concluded that three programmes were necessary to implement the chosen policy:

Programme Indicator Target
1. Work with local publishers to encourage publication of local-language children’s books, including issuing some publicly-financed tenders Number of local-language children’s book titles available in country, relative to baseline. Baseline: approximately 3 titles per grade level
Year 4: 30 titles per grade level
Year 8: 100 titles per grade level
2. Give all primary schools a specific amount of money per pupil earmarked for purchasing children’s books; provide school directors with specific guidance on how this money should be used. Ratio of pupils to number of local-language children’s books accessible in a national sample of schools, on average, relative to baseline. Baseline: children’s books not part of typical school purchasing.
Year 4: Ratio of 3:1 (three pupils to each children’s book).
Year 8: Ratio of 1:2 (one pupil to two children’s books)
3. Conduct workshops for teachers on incorporating read-aloud and recreational reading time into their classroom schedule. Percentage of primary school pupils, in a national sample of schools, who report that they were given time to read in class at least three times during the past week. Baseline: reading time is not usually provided in class.
Year 4: 50% of pupils.
Year 8: 90% of pupils.

It would be best to subdivide each programme into a series of specific activities which will produce different outputs – products or services. If all activities are performed and the outputs obtained and objectives reached, the programme should have the desired impact – intermediary effect.

All the elements are summarized in the context of the results.


Evaluate the feasibility

Once the programmes are defined and the objectives set, it is important to assess the feasibility of the overall plan: will the objectives, programmes and activities resolve the main problems identified in the education sector diagnosis? Are the objectives, programmes and activities consistent and compatible? Do we have sufficient financial, human, technical and time-related resources available to implement these programmes?


Following this feasibility study by all stakeholders, it will sometimes be appropriate to rethink the plan’s objectives, draft alternative strategies, and/or include a capacity-building programme.