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Planning Learning




Students’ learning outcomes are unlikely to be improved without a strategic plan for reaching that goal.


What are the learning needs which correspond with the aspirations of parents, communities and their countries? Planning learning is a process of establishing these needs according to the present, then determining the best possible way of satisfying this need in a strategic context which will allow identification of the priorities and determination of which principles to implement.


Specific issues, objectives, strategies and priorities based on a rigorous, collaborative and documented analysis of the current situation. 

Sector plans set out a group of activities to implement over a period of 5 to 20 years and are the result of a desire to improve an education system’s access, quality and management. Educational planning is based on mechanisms which are well mastered today by ministries and their partners; the collaborative effort is to ensure a more robust system of monitoring and evaluation which will allow a better results-based management of the system.


The annual portfolio review and the 2015 Global Partnership for Education (GPE) Report indicate that only 40% of sector plans in the partner countries are based on a rigorous analysis of the past situation, and only the same percentage of national plans show a framework of solid results.  However, the effort made for improving quality has been found in almost one country out of three – those making it their main objective. 


Planning to produce learning and offer quality services

Improving learning is one of the most feared questions in the tedious exercise of planning. Some components related to access and management call on easily measurable problems, objectives, strategies and costs (construction, materials, types of organization, equipment and school environment, etc.), while others related to quality are more difficult to document, analyse and quantify. This is the case for management of learning time, motivation of teachers, teaching practices or the use of national languages. And the financial, time-related and human costs of national assessments at the country scale do not always guarantee an optimal use in the specific context of this planning exercise.


What are the blocking factors for student achievements? And what are the corrective measures? What pedagogical reforms for better teaching? What are the issues, objectives, priorities and strategies associated with improvement of learning and which are achievable financially, technically and politically? What interventions related to early childhood or health can be catalysts in the context of a systemic approach?  What tools exist for planning learning? The answers to these questions will come through a planning mechanism. This tool can be efficiently implemented only with close collaboration of the stakeholders involved, a systematic sharing of existing data and a coordinated monitoring and evaluation mechanism.


The reference documents on the planning process are available here.

The GPE Sector Plans are available at:  they mostly contain priority areas, strategies, objectives and corresponding activities, as well as budgeted action plans. Some action plans contain specific activities for evaluating student achievements (including implementation of national knowledge evaluation units):


To learn more about the steps in preparing a plan, click on links and sections below.

Guide for preparation to education sector plan

National education sector plan

Campaign for education



Educational Management Information System (EMIS)

An EMIS can be defined as ‘a system for the collection, integration, processing, maintenance and dissemination of data and information to support decision-making, policy-analysis and formulation, planning, monitoring and management at all levels of an education system. It is a system of people, technology, models, methods, processes, procedures, rules and regulations that function together to provide education leaders, decision-makers and managers at all levels with a comprehensive, integrated set of relevant, reliable, unambiguous and timely data and information to support them in completion of their responsibilities’ (UNESCO, 2008: 101).

Policy and strategies: what is our objective?

A policy in favour of quality of learning is an undertaking by the authorities to offer to each individual a quality education responding to the needs of his social, and later, professional (...)

Programmes: How to get there?

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 (...)

Action Plan: Who will do what and when?

The budgeted action plan, sometimes called the "implementation plan" or "operational plan", provides details of the activities planned for each given period of the plan, (...)