Educational strategic planning and development: examining its context and effectiveness in selected secondary schools of Kabwe district, Zambia.

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Bwalya, Anthony
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The University of Zambia
The demand for performance based management in Zambia ꞌs education system has brought changes in the approach of management of schools. Strategic planning is extremely important in the realization of change. The purpose of this study was to establish the context and effectiveness of educational strategic planning in terms of development in selected secondary schools of Kabwe district. The study sample consisted of 480 respondents from 8 secondary schools. Each school had 60 respondents comprising the Head teacher, deputy, 42 pupils, 4 HODs and 12 teachers. The respondents were selected using purposive, stratified, simple random sampling technique and the instruments for data collection were questionnaires and interview schedule. The validity of the research instruments was determined by requesting lecturers to assess the research instruments. The agreements among lecturers gave satisfaction on validity of the research instruments. The data were analysed using descriptive statistics such as frequency and percentage distribution in SPSS software programme. The findings of this study reviewed that the context for educational strategic planning was favourable. The head teachers of the secondary schools are qualified and had the necessary experience. Schools were able to apply standard principles of management so well. Schools recognised the need to had had mission and vision statement displayed in the premises in accordance with the Zambia national policy on education “educating our future” of 1996 but there were inabilities for all schools to have evolved from mission statement and vision statement and put in place an educational strategic plan for the school. Schools do not have hard copies of an educational strategic plan. If it were claimed to be there though not written, still from the discussions of the findings, we deduced situations like no meaningful objectives for the strategies in all schools in their acclaimed unwritten plan; schools could not give an account of Historical profile and their milestones which were essential in educational strategic planning. Stakeholders’ involvements in the planning were inadequate. In some cases only the head, deputy and statistician were doing the planning. Necessary documents that were supposed to be used like the education act, millennium development goals, educational policy, education for all and school core values, were not at all observed to have been consulted in their planning according to findings. The effectiveness of this kind of planning, where there were the mission and vision statements but having no ideal components had ushered schools to a level where identified key issues, desired outcome and achievements not having had much correlation in each of the selected secondary schools as could be xiv observed in the presentation of findings. The key issues, desired results and achievement to a greater extent were not the same. To some extent there was no educational strategic planning in the selected secondary schools in Kabwe District. The decisions, procedures, predispositions and control procedures were not as in ideal administrative systems associated with the undertakings of strategic planning. Findings shown no strong indication that the conversion process had input from the political, social, economic, technological, environmental, legal, industrial and national plan matters. The expression of policy/laws plus performance or goods and services actually delivered to the public and to officials in other segment of government were inadequate (Iran Sharkansky, 1978) The study recommended that Secondary schools should have comprehensive educational strategic planning for administrative function as the educating our future national policy on education demanded. As Strategic planning was a key to superior performance and extremely important tool for school organisational effectiveness. Strategic planning was a management tool that evolved in institution of learning through adaptation of practices in the business world (Rowley, Lujan & Dolence, 19997) and had been acclaimed internationally as effective in improving the performance of state owned enterprises as well as government( Bryson,1998). Strategic planning was applied when new organisation was started, when organisation had embarked on a new initiative or large project or begun phase of an ongoing effort, organisation invigorated an older initiative that had lost its focus or momentum (Fawcett et al, 2001). Study be undertaken to find out why secondary schools were not planning strategically to resolve the current situation. Continuous Professional Development workshops be conducted to assess practices in Education delivery. Secondary educational standard officers be equipped with skills needed in coming up with strategic planning so that they could give informed advice to secondary schools.
Thesis of Masters of Education in Education and Development