Institutional Planning

Planning is part of the work of every school as it strives to meet the educational needs of all its pupils. Institutional planning is a systematic approach which involves the whole school community in process of planning.
There is no such thing as the perfect planning model that suits every school. Rather, each school must design a model that fits its own unique characteristics. Nevertheless, there are key elements that are common to every planning model and that can constitute a basic framework from which individualized models can be derived.

Why do we need institutional planning?
A major weakness of our planning system is top- heaviness. It starts at the top and take a long time to reach individual institution. This top-based approach to educational planning has three main disadvantages.
1.      The first is that it is peripheral and does not involve the crucial areas in educational development. The educational   process takes place in the classroom and hence the core of any educational plan. It is only institutional plans that can adequately deal with such basic educational issues as individual attention to students, improvement of curricula, adoption of modern methods of teaching and evaluation, intensive utilization of available facilities, or establishing close contacts with the local community through programmes of mutual service and support.

2.      The second disadvantage of planning from the top is that it tends to be expenditure-oriented. A great amount is spending on monetary terms and printing, buying etc. It is true that all educational plans will have financial implications and will need some investment of money for their implementation. But there is difference between an educational plan which has financial implications and a basically financial plan which proposes to incur a given expenditure of money on certain educational programmes. In fact, this difference is as wide and as fundamental as that between 'eating to live' and 'living to eat'. We have not realized this basic difference and have given an unusual expenditure-orientation to all our plans. The cost of the plan, rather than its content, has become more important to us and a more integral part in our thinking on the subject.

3.      The third disadvantage in this process of planning from above is that it does not involve the willing and enthusiastic participation of important groups—head teachers, teachers, parents and students. A good educational plan must be known to all the head teachers and teachers (and wherever necessary, to parents and students also), and it must be able to secure their full co-operation and it must assign specific responsibilities to them.

Speaking on the positive aspect of the problem, the system of institutional planning will have several advantages; in particular, it will help us to solve four urgent problems in education:

(a)  The first of these problems is to encourage initiative, freedom and creativity of the individual teacher. This is a very important problem because we must have rebels in education to rebuild it. If we analyze our educational system we find that, like our social organization, it is too authoritarian in character. Every one of us is a little dictator or a despot; and in the broad functioning of our Education Departments, we find that very little freedom is allowed to the classroom teacher or to the individual institution. This has gone so deep in our blood that we never even realize it.

(b)   The second problem refers to the means needed to make good teachers effective. In our country we have problematic situation. On one hand, we have programmes for which we do not get good personnel to implement; and this becomes the main reason of the failure to implement them. On the other hand, we find that, even today, there are thousands of good teachers, young, enthusiastic, wanting to do something, and each one of them feels frustrated because he does not get an adequate opportunity and support to express him. The question is: how can we give freedom and support to these teachers who want to do something?

(c)  The third problem relates to the involvement of teachers in educational planning. The Directorates and the Secretariats know the plans. At the district level, some officers know and some do not, but the vast majority only has vague ideas. The average secondary school headmaster or teacher does not know what the plan. The primary schools have never seen the plan. It is the teachers who have to implement the plan, and that no one else can implement it. So if we want better results in future, it is obvious that we must involve every one of them, in the formulation of the plan and in its implementation.

(d)   The fourth problem, and this is an important problem, is that whereas, on one hand, there are so many things to be done for which we do not have resources, there are, on the other hand, vast existing resources and facilities which are not adequately utilized. There are thousands of things in education which have to be done, buildings have to be built; new classes have to be opened; new institutions have to be started; equipment has to be purchased; and so on. There are hundreds of things which need to be done and which will need millions of rupees which we do not have. But on the other side there are thousands of things which can be done, even in the existing situation, and nobody seems to do them. The question is: what is the maximum 1 can do in the existing situation and with the existing resources?

In fact the institutional plan is the unique answer to all these four problems, namely:
·        encourage initiative, freedom and creativity of the individual teacher
·        making the good teacher effective,
·        involving every teacher in the formulation and implementation of plans,
·        Emphasizing what can be done here and now by mobilizing our existing resources rather than wait for the impossible to happen.
If all these four problems have to be solved, we must develop the concept of institutional planning and tell each institution to prepare and implement its own plans.

School development planning
School Development Planning is a process undertaken by the school community to give direction to the work of the school in order to ensure that all pupils receive a quality education in terms of both holistic development and academic achievement.

Basic frame work for School Development Planning
There is no universally applicable prescription for successful planning. But there are key elements that are common to every planning model and that can constitute a basic framework from which individualized models can be derived.
The school development planning process is a planning cycle that revolves around a central core.
♦ The Planning Cycle comprises four key operations:
♦ The Core consists of the school’s
Fundamental Aims

Outline of the Key Operations

Characteristics of School Development Planning Process

It involves a systematic approach to the planning work that is already being done in school. It co-ordinates and integrates piecemeal planning activities into the coherent structure of an overall plan.

It is essentially a collaborative process that draws the whole school community together in shaping the school’s future. While it depends largely on the collaboration of the principal and the teaching staff, it should also include appropriate consultation with all key stakeholders in the school community.

It is an ongoing process, rooted in a school culture of systematic self-review, in which policies and plans are continuously developed, implemented, evaluated and revised in the light of the school’s fundamental aims and the changing needs of its community.

It is a cyclical process that yields cumulative and progressive results. Each planning cycle builds on the outcomes of the previous cycle.

School Development Planning is a means, not an end – a means of enhancing the quality of educational experience in the school through the successful management of innovation and change (sdpi). Accordingly, the process is sharply focused on the educational needs and achievements of the pupils and concomitantly on the professional development and empowerment of the teachers.
Finally, as every school is unique, the operation of the planning process will vary considerably from school to school. The School Development Planning process is flexible. It is not a set of rules to be followed blindly but a framework for collaborative creativity. Each school must adapt the framework to suit its own particular circumstances.

School Development Planning promotes:

School Effectiveness
 School Development Planning enables the school community to develop a clear vision of What the school is about and where it is going, a shared sense of purpose, a common set of goals, and consensus on the means of attaining them. It constitutes the school as a learning organisation that focuses on meeting the professional needs of teachers in order to meet the educational needs of pupils.
School Improvement
School Development Planning is a continuous improvement strategy. It provides a mechanism for systematic self-evaluation that enables the school community to review its progress, identify priorities, and prepare plans for further improvement.

Quality Enhancement
School Development Planning directs the attention and energy of the school community in a systematic way on the central task of the school: the provision of a quality education that is appropriate to the abilities and needs of all its pupils. It focuses on enhancing the quality of teaching and learning through collaborative action.

Staff Development
School Development Planning enhances the professional role of teachers and promotes their professional development.
Cluster System
A number of things of the same kind, growing or held together.
school cluster

What is a school cluster?

 A cluster is a group of schools that are geographically as close and accessible to each other as possible. School cluster serve variety of applications and functions such as improving teaching practice through the sharing of experiences.
School cluster system in other countries
Harari became the first region in Ethiopia to adopt the Cluster School Programme in 1999 upon the initiation of UNICEF. The programme links satellite schools around one larger school designated as a cluster-resource centre where teachers from the cluster interact and learn from each other. The programme stresses a child-focused approach to teaching, which has improved student performance significantly. Recognising the achievements of the programme, the Ministry of Education has adopted the cluster school system for all primary schools in Ethiopia (”.                                                                                   

In Singapur cluster system has been introduced with a mission to insure the quality leadership and to improve the level of performance in each school. “Cluster Superintendents  play a key role in personnel and financial management. They develop personnel in their clusters according to training needs and identify personnel with potential for career development. They ensure the effective and optimal use of cluster financial resources such as funding worthwhile school projects and activities that help schools to achieve the Desired Outcomes of Education( “.     .               .                                                                                                              
In Namibia the school cluster system was introduced in 1996. First it was started in Rundu Education Region. All the schools in the region were included with the aim of having a comprehensive cluster system to accommodate all the needs for grouping schools in one stable framework. Benefits which arose from the Rundu clusters led to the subsequent development of similar clusters in all other regions of the country (
The cluster school system is also working in Zimbabwe, Malaysia,  United States, Britain, Australia, and New Zealand, Cambodia and many other countries with a focus on the teacher professional development, sharing of resources and sharing of administrative responsibilities.

According to Dykstra & Cucuta, (2008),

“The overall objective of cluster schools is to redress any imbalance
In education by grouping schools that are located near each other
Into a cluster, mixing strong schools and disadvantaged schools in
Such a way that the latter benefit from the advantages of the former”  
The School cluster has become internationally acclaimed educational reform, particularly in developing countries.
School cluster system in Khyber Pakhtun Khwa (KPK)
In 2009 School and Literacy (E & S) had decided  to implement the School Cluster System (SCS) in KPK to empower principals of high and higher-secondary schools to monitor the affairs of all the government primary and middle schools in their localities. The decision was taken in provincial cabinet meeting.                                                                                                                                                                                                         
SCS is an attempt to decentralization of authorities and responsibilities to make in time decision on significant matter related to school operation
Under the new system, schools would be divided into clusters and each cluster would consist of a high/higher secondary school as well as many middle and primary schools located near it. There will be five to fifteen primary and middle schools in a cluster.
 Elementary and Secondary Education (E&SE) department decide to introduce SCS due to following reasons:
·         To strengthen the monitoring of schools all over the province.
·         To lesson the work load of DDOs , as currently responsible for monitoring the schools` performance.
·         To bring administrative reforms.
·          To check absenteeism of primary and middle school teachers, and to put them on right track.

Responsibilities of Cluster leaders
In the cabinet meeting it was said that matters relating to sanction of leave, trainings, disciplinary actions, repair and small constructions and transfer and posting of teachers within the cluster schools would be transferred to the SCS in-charges. With the implementation of this new system, absenteeism of teachers in the primary and middle schools would be controlled.(://
Presently, the finance department releases salaries of the employees of education department to a single DDO of the respective tehsil and district, who further disburse to the employees through banks. After implementation of the SCS, the finance department will release funds in the name of hundreds of cluster in-charges instead of a single person. And the cluster in-charge will distribute salaries to employees. (
Not implemented till now
The School cluster system is  not yet implemented in all districts of KPK. In November 2010 it was implemented in only eight districts  namely Peshawar, Mardan, Hazara
There is certain hindrance in the way of implementation such as:
1.      Burdon on finance department , presently releasing salaries to a single DDO, to release funds and salaries to so many in-charges of cluster.
2.      The principles ( cluster in-charge) are not given any written material regarding to their authorities and responsibilities.
3.      The system is still under process and the rules and procedures are not yet finalized.