Educational Planning
in the Pacific
Principles and Guidelines

Educational Planning
in the Pacific
Principles and Guidelines
Edited by
Priscilla Puamau and G.R. (Bob) Teasdale
The PRIDE Project
Pacific Education Series No.1
The University of the South Pacific

© 2005 The PRIDE Project
The University of the South Pacific
Suva, Fiji Islands
Editorial, book design and layout:
Barbara Hau‘ofa and Rusila Koroivuki, SSED Editorial Secretariat
Detlef Blumel, USP Media Centre Graphics Section
Cover photo:
Emery Wenty
A class of 5th grade students at Koror Elementary School, Palau.
Mrs Wenty (far R back) is teacher for this class. With about 700
students, this is the largest elementary school in Palau.
Title page photo:
Palau Ministry of Education
Students from Koror Elementary School, Palau.
USP Library Cataloguing-in-Publication Data
Educational planning in the Pacific : principles and guidelines / edited by
Priscilla Puamau, George (Bob) Teasdale. – [Suva, Fiji: PRIDE, 2005.]
Pacific Education Series No. 1.
p. ; cm.
ISBN 982-01-0630-3
1. Educational planning—Oceania I. Puamau, Priscilla II. Teasdale,
Robert III. Pacific Regional Initiative for the Delivery of Basic Education
IV. Pacific Education Series
LC97.O3E34 2005 371.207

This book is the first in a series published by the PRIDE Project (Pacific Regional
Initiatives for the Delivery of basic Education). Launched in 2004, the Project is
funded jointly by the European Union (EU) and the New Zealand Agency for
International Development (NZAID). It serves fifteen nations in the Pacific
region: Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), (Republic of the)
Fiji Islands, Kiribati, (Republic of the) Marshall Islands (RMI), Nauru, Niue,
Palau, Papua New Guinea (PNG), Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga,
Tuvalu and Vanuatu. The Project seeks to improve the quality of basic education
by helping each country to develop and implement strategic plans that are built
on a strong foundation of local cultures and values, yet draw on the best that the
global world of education has to offer.
In preparing this book we are deeply grateful to our colleagues who contributed
to it. In particular, we acknowledge the valuable input of the National Project
Coordinators (NPCs) and data managers who attended our first regional
workshop (see Appendix A). Their willingness to share their insights and
experience has added greatly to the depth and relevance of the book.
We also thank Dr Shrinivasiah Muralidhar, Head of the Department of Education
and Psychology at the University of the South Pacific (USP), for opening the
workshop and reminding us that all planning should be linked to learning in the
classroom, and that everything we do should have positive learning outcomes.
We are also indebted to the resource people at the workshop: Ms Rebecca
McHugh, Dr ‘Uhila Fasi and Mrs Monica Driu Fong. We sincerely thank Dr
‘Ana Taufe‘ulungaki, Director of the USP Institute of Education (IOE), and
her team for their support and input: Mr Henry Elder, Dr Seu‘ula Johannson
Fua and Ms Vasiti Nalatu. Last but not least, we thank the authors who
contributed to this volume. Without their patience and goodwill in redrafting
material they presented at the workshop this book would not be in your hands
right now.

Educational planning in the Pacific
Portraits of the contributors vii
Abbreviations x
G.R. (Bob) Teasdale and Priscilla Puamau xii
1 The big picture: international perspectives on education for planners
G.R. (Bob) Teasdale 1
2 Global perspectives on strategic planning in education
Epeli Tokai 15
3 Principles and processes of educational planning in the Pacific
Priscilla Puamau 24
4 The development of Fiji’s three-year education strategic plans: a case study
Epeli Tokai 45
5 Provincial-level educational planning in Papua New Guinea: practices,
experiences and lessons
Uke Kombra 51
6 The role of data in educational planning
Epeli Tokai 63
7 Strengthening Education Management Information Systems: better use of
data for better strategic planning
Rebecca McHugh 76
8 The role of assessment in educational planning
‘Uhila Fasi 99
9 Educational planning in the Pacific: a way forward
Seu’ula Johansson Fua 110
References 127
Appendix A: List of participants 131
Appendix B: Photo of participants 133

Portraits of the contributors
‘Uhila-moe-langi Fasi
Dr Fasi is Professional Officer, Information and Communications Technology and
Research, at the South Pacific Bureau for Educational Assessment (SPBEA) in
Suva. He began work as a secondary teacher of mathematics and the sciences in
the Kingdom of Tonga and subsequently became that country’s Chief Education
Officer (Examinations). He also served as Principal of Tonga National Form 7
School and the Tonga Institute of Science and Technology. He obtained a Bachelor
of Science and Graduate Certificate in Education from USP. His postgraduate
studies in the United Kingdom led to the award of an MA from the University of
Lancaster in the field of educational evaluation and measurement, and a PhD
from the University of Reading. His interest areas are in educational assessment
and measurement, mathematics education and teacher education.
Seu‘ula Johansson Fua
Dr Johansson Fua received her BA, BEd and Diploma in Teaching from the
University of Waikato, New Zealand, in 1998. She was awarded a Commonwealth
Scholarship in 1999 to pursue graduate studies in Canada. In 2001 she received
her MA and in 2003 her PhD (Educational Administration), both from the
University of Toronto. Her graduate work included two theses in educational
leadership in relation to Tongan administrators. She has worked for the Tonga
Ministry of Education as a secondary school teacher and as a planning officer. She
is currently a Fellow in the Institute of Education at the University of the South
Pacific. Her areas of interest include research, leadership, values and organisational
Uke Kombra
Mr Kombra received a Diploma in Secondary Teaching from the University of
Papua New Guinea (UPNG), a Bachelor of Education (Administration) degree
from the University of Goroka, and two Master of Educational Administration
degrees, the second at Honours level, from the University of New England in

Educational planning in the Pacific
Australia. He began his career as a secondary school teacher in 1983, later working
as a principal before becoming the first Provincial Education Reform Coordinator
in the Western Highlands Province. After his BEd studies he joined the PNG
National Department of Education (NDOE) as the National Coordinator for
Planning. He was a member of the team that developed the National Education
Skills Plan and the National Education Plan Update 1. He now serves as Assistant
Secretary for Planning in the NDOE and most recently has assisted with the
development of PNG’s National Education Plan 2005–2014.
Rebecca McHugh
Ms McHugh graduated from the University of Queensland, Australia, with a
Bachelor of Arts degree, majoring in Sociology and International Relations. Upon
completion of her studies she worked for a year as a volunteer lecturer at the Viet
Nam National University, before working for the Foundation for Development
Cooperation in Brisbane as a researcher. She is currently a Project Coordinator
with UniQuest, the consulting and knowledge commercialisation company of the
University of Queensland. Since joining UniQuest, Rebecca has worked with the
Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports in Kiribati, and the Ministry of Education
and Human Resource Development in Solomon Islands, supporting the
development and implementation of Education Management Information Systems
to assist with collection, analysis and reporting of education statistics for policy
making and strategic planning. Rebecca has broad research interests in the social
sciences, and has recently become interested in the role of information and
communication technologies for development. She is currently undertaking a
Masters degree in International and Community Development through Deakin
University, Melbourne.
Priscilla Puamau
Dr Puamau is an Education Adviser with the PRIDE Project at USP. She graduated
with a Bachelor of Arts, Graduate Certificate in Education, Postgraduate Diploma
in Education and Masters of Arts in Education from USP, Fiji, and received a PhD
in Education from the University of Queensland, Australia. She has worked for
over 20 years as a secondary school teacher with the Fiji Ministry of Education,
including service as Head of the Language Department, and acting Senior Education

Officer (Fijian Education). She has also been involved in teacher training in her
capacity as Head of the School of Education, Vice Principal and Principal at the
Fiji College of Advanced Education (FCAE). Her areas of interest lie in teacher
education, values education and indigenous education. Priscilla is the current
president of the Pacific Association of Teacher Educators (PATE).
GR (Bob) Teasdale
Dr Teasdale is the Director of the PRIDE Project at the University of the South
Pacific (USP). He has worked on several other projects at USP, including the
coordination of the first ‘Future Directions’ review in 1983. Bob is from Adelaide,
South Australia, where he taught at Flinders University for 34 years, and was active
in research and consultancy in the fields of indigenous, cross-cultural, comparative
and international education, and in values education. From 1997 to 2003 he was
Director of the Flinders University Institute of International Education.
Epeli Tokai
Mr Tokai is an Education Adviser with the PRIDE Project. His areas of expertise
are in educational planning and management, education finance, educational policy,
education statistics, educational leadership, and project management. Epeli
previously worked in the Fiji Ministry of Education for 22 years, first as a secondary
school teacher, then as Senior Education Officer (Educational Planning), as Head
of the Research and Development Section, and as Project Manager (Local) for the
Fiji Education Sector Program (FESP), a project funded by AusAID. He graduated
with a Diploma in Education (Industrial Arts) and a Bachelor of Education
(Technology) from USP in 1981 and 1987 respectively, a Masters in Education
Policy and Administration from Monash University, Australia in 1996 and the
International Diploma in Educational Planning and Management from the
UNESCO International Institute for Educational Planning in Paris in 2002.

Australian Agency for International Development
Department of Education (PNG)
European Development Fund
Education for All (UNESCO)
Education management information system
Education Strategic Plan
European Union
Forum Basic Education Action Plan
Fiji College of Advanced Education
Fiji Education Sector Programme
Federated States of Micronesia
Information and communications technology
Institute of Education (USP)
Kiribati Education Management Information System
Millennium Development Goal(s)
Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development
(Solomon Islands)
Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport (Kiribati)
Ministry of Education (Fiji; Nauru; generic)
National Department of Education (PNG)
Non-government organisation(s)
National Project Coordinator(s)
New Zealand
New Zealand Agency for International Development

Educational planning in the Pacific
Pacific Association of Teacher Educators
Provincial Education Board
Pacific Education Database Management System
Pacific Islands Forum
Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat
Papua New Guinea
Pacific Regional Initiatives for the Delivery of basic Education
Research and Development Section
Republic of the Marshalls Islands
Senior Education Officer
Solomon Islands Education Management Information System
South Pacific Board for Educational Assessment
Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats
Technical and vocational education and training
United Kingdom
United Nations
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation
University of Papua New Guinea
United States of America
University of the South Pacific

G.R. (Bob) Teasdale and Priscilla Puamau
This book reviews the way education has been planned in the Pacific, and seeks to
develop new approaches that reflect the values and ways of thinking of Pacific
cultures. It does not reject the planning processes of the global world. Rather, it
seeks to identify the best that the global world has to offer, and to blend it with
the local to create new and more culturally appropriate ways of planning.
The development of new ways of planning that draw on the ways of thinking
and knowing of the Pacific is a big challenge. The old colonial ways of developing
and managing education systems have had a pervasive impact in the Pacific, and
are deeply resistant to change. Colonial assumptions about the nature of the
Pacific and the needs of its people need to be much more carefully and critically
For example, those who occupy continents on the rim usually view the Pacific
Ocean as a vast expanse of water dotted with tiny, isolated islands, their
inhabitants disadvantaged by smallness and remoteness. Pacific Islanders are now
rejecting this colonial assumption, arguing that they do not occupy ‘islands in a
far sea’, but ‘a sea of islands’ (Hau‘ofa, 1993:7). Their ancestors clearly viewed
the sea not as a barrier, but as their livelihood and highway. They were seafarers
who were equally at home on sea as on land. They lived and played and worked
upon it. They developed great skills for navigating its waters, traversing it in
their sailing canoes, and forming a ‘large exchange community in which wealth
and people with their skills and arts circulated endlessly’ (Hau‘ofa, 1993:9). In
this way the sea bound them together rather than separating them.
This idea of ‘a sea of islands’ captures a holistic sense of people sharing a common
environment and living together for their mutual benefit. Many people in the
Pacific are attempting to reactivate this ethos, seeking ways to help and support

Educational planning in the Pacific
each other, rather than constantly turning to the nations on their Ocean’s rim for
aid and advice. It is, however, a slow and uneven process, much hindered by
regional politics, by the insistent pressures of globalisation and by the continuing
impact of colonialism, which not least, has divided the Pacific linguistically,
creating a gulf between groups of English-speaking and French-speaking islands.
It has also divided the Pacific politically, with France and the USA still ruling
their colonial empires in the Pacific in ways that isolate their people from many
regional forums and networks.
Somewhat constrained by such divisions, this book focuses only on those
countries that are politically independent and therefore able to participate in
the dominant political and economic policy grouping in the Pacific, the Pacific
Islands Forum (PIF, but familiarly known as the Forum): Cook Islands; Federated
States of Micronesia (FSM); Fiji Islands (usually referred to in this volume as
elsewhere simply as Fiji); Kiribati; Nauru; Niue; Palau; Papua New Guinea
(PNG); Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI); Samoa; Solomon Islands; Tonga;
Tuvalu and Vanuatu. To this list should be added Tokelau, which is in the process
of achieving self-government in free association with New Zealand, a similar
status to that enjoyed by Cook Islands and Niue. Australia and New Zealand
are also full members, but given their metropolitan heritage, they are not included
in this chapter.
Founded in 1971, the Forum brings heads of member governments together
annually for dialogue and decision-making on regional policy issues, and is
administered by a large secretariat (PIFS) based in Suva, Fiji. At its meeting in
Palau in November 1999 there was considerable debate about human resource
needs in the Pacific, and the failure of most education systems to satisfy them,
thereby perpetuating the region’s dependence on highly paid people from
elsewhere. Schools and their curricula were criticised for not providing relevant
life and work skills, for being too focused on academic success in external
examinations, and for not graduating young people who could become
productive members of their own villages or urban communities. Accordingly,
the Forum directed its secretariat to bring together the Ministers for Education
of the region, asking them to deal with the concerns that had been articulated.

The Ministers eventually met eighteen months later in Auckland, deliberating on
what they referred to as ‘basic education’, which they defined as all educational
provisions for children and youth, both formal and non-formal, except for higher
education. The major outcome of the meeting was the development of the
Forum Basic Education Action Plan (FBEAP) (PIFS, 2001), a short but important
document setting out visions, goals and strategies for the future of basic education
in the Pacific. Its vision is clearly specified:
Basic education as the fundamental building block for society should engender the
broader life skills that lead to social cohesion and provide the foundations for
vocational callings, higher education and lifelong learning. These when combined
with enhanced employment opportunities create a higher level of personal and
societal security and development.
Forum members recognised that development of basic education takes place in the
context of commitments to the world community and meeting the new demands
of the global economy, which should be balanced with the enhancement of their
own distinctive Pacific values, morals, social, political, economic and cultural heritages,
and reflect the Pacific’s unique geographical context. (PIFS, 2001:1–2)
The Ministers requested the secretariat to ensure the implementation of FBEAP,
and recommended that they themselves continue meeting on a regular basis to
monitor and support this process. Following this first meeting, discussions took
place with representatives of the European Union (EU) and a provisional
agreement was reached that funding for a project to implement FBEAP might be
made available under the union’s 9th EDF Pacific Regional Indicative Programme.
By the time the Ministers came together for their second meeting in December
2002 these plans were well developed, and a sub-committee of Ministers was
formed to finalise a submission.
This sub-committee, under the leadership of the Samoan Minister of Education,
the Honourable Afioga Fiame Naomi Mata‘afa, developed a proposal in the form
of a Project Financing Agreement, which was accepted by the EU, for funding of
¤ 8 million over a five-year period for a new project to be called ‘Pacific Regional
Initiatives for the Delivery of basic Education’, abbreviated to ‘The PRIDE Project’.
The University of the South Pacific (USP) agreed to manage the Project on behalf

Educational planning in the Pacific
of PIFS, and the New Zealand Government, through NZAID, agreed to join as a
funding partner with an initial grant of NZ$5 million over three years. The Project
was officially launched at USP by the Samoan Minister for Education on 14 May
2004 in conjunction with the first meeting of the Project Steering Committee.
The PRIDE Project
Essentially the Project is designed to implement, in the fourteen Pacific member
states of PIF, together with Tokelau, the Pacific vision for education encapsulated
in FBEAP. Its overall objective is:
To expand opportunities for children and youth to acquire the
values, knowledge and skills that will enable them to actively
participate in the social, spiritual, economic and cultural development
of their communities and to contribute positively to creating
sustainable futures. (
To achieve this objective, the Project seeks to strengthen the capacity of each of
the fifteen countries to deliver quality education through formal and non-formal
means. The key outcome will be the development of strategic plans for education
in each country, plans that blend the best global approaches with local values
and ways of thinking. Ideally these plans will be developed following wide
consultation with all stakeholders and beneficiaries, including parents, teachers,
students, NGOs, private providers, employers and other civil society groups.
The Project also will assist countries to implement their plans and to monitor
and evaluate the outcomes. Capacity building activities will be provided for
educators at national, sub-regional and regional levels. To give further support
to these activities the Project will develop an online resource centre to encourage
the sharing of best practice and experience amongst countries.
In discussions of the PRIDE Project with educators throughout the Pacific and
beyond, a frequently asked question has been: ‘How is it different? We have seen
many donor-driven education projects and initiatives come and go: why is this
one unique?’ Their cynicism is justified. The history of educational aid in the
Pacific, as elsewhere, is an ambiguous one, with at least as many negatives as
positives. The present project, however, does have a number of unique features,

and there is considerable optimism that it can achieve its goals in ways that others
have not. Six of these features are listed here.
1) The Project was designed and approved by the Ministers of Education: the
process started with them, not with the donors. It was very clear at their third
PIFS-sponsored meeting in Apia in January 2004 that Ministers saw this as
‘their’ project, and were determined to guide and direct it according to their
priorities. Subsequent meetings with individual Ministers have reinforced this
view. The donors, in turn, have shown quite remarkable preparedness to allow
this to happen.
2) The Project is distinguished by the significance of the acronym: its choice
clearly was deliberate, and reflects the wishes of the Ministers. Each country
is being encouraged to build its education plans on a stronger foundation of
local cultures, languages and epistemologies, thus enabling students to
develop deep pride in their own values, traditions and wisdoms, and a clear
sense of their own local cultural identity.
3) In strongly emphasising mutual collaboration and support, the aim of
the Project is to help countries to help each other. Earlier projects brought
consultants from outside the region, and therefore became donor-driven as
they responded to donors’ priorities and preferences. The PRIDE Project
will source most of its consultants from within the region, and already has
built up an impressive data-base of qualified people from Pacific nations.
Furthermore, it will fund local educators to go on study and training visits
to each other’s countries, not to those on the rim and beyond.
4) The Project encourages consultative and participatory approaches to
educational planning within each country: there is a clear wish to avoid
top-down models of planning and policy-making, and a strong commitment
to bottom-up processes involving parents, teachers, students, private
providers, NGOs, employers and other civil society groups.
5) The Ministers want the Project to promote a more holistic and lifelong
approach to education, with effective articulation between sectors, and
between school, TVET and the world of work.

Educational planning in the Pacific
6) The PRIDE team is committed to building strong conceptual foundations
for the Project. Earlier projects brought outsiders to the Pacific with western
‘recipes’ for the reform of education. The PRIDE team is committed to
helping countries develop their own theoretical foundations, doing so via
the creative fusion of their own epistemologies, values and wisdoms with
the most useful ideas and approaches of the global world beyond their shores.
The first PRIDE Project workshop
In September 2004 the Project held its first regional workshop in Lautoka, Fiji,
bringing together an educational planner and a data manager from each of the
fifteen countries it serves. The key focus of the workshop was strategic planning
methodologies for basic education. In particular, the workshop sought to develop
planning principles and processes that are firmly grounded in Pacific values and
ways of thinking, yet are fully syncretised with the most tried and tested
techniques of the globalised world beyond.
The workshop used an interactive, consultative and participatory approach.
Much of the time was spent in small groups working collaboratively on pre-
assigned tasks, sharing experiences, showcasing achievements, and sometimes
even sharing approaches that did not work, and discussing why.
Before attending the workshop, participants were asked to reflect on any training
they had received, or studies they had undertaken, in the field of strategic planning
and/or data management. What had they learned that had really helped them as
educational planners? What ideas worked particularly well in Pacific settings?
What were their most significant achievements in the area of strategic planning?
They were asked also to talk with their colleagues, and perhaps with a few older,
retired educators and friends, about the kinds of planning processes that have
been used in their own society/culture, or are still being used. What are the
underlying values, beliefs, wisdoms and epistemologies that have guided the way
that Pacific people reflect on the future? How have people planned ahead?

This book
This book draws together many of the ideas that were shared at the workshop, as
well as the conclusions that were reached during our discussions together. In
particular it seeks to challenge anyone who may be involved in the planning of
education in the Pacific to think about what they are doing from the perspective
of their own local culture. Is it possible to develop planning methodologies that
successfully blend the best of those in the global world with the values and ways
of thinking of the cultures of the Pacific? The participants at the workshop clearly
thought so, and we have done our best to reflect their ideas.
The workshop and this book, however, are just the beginning. We need to do a
lot more thinking and talking together. The new approaches to planning
suggested in this book will not happen overnight. They need to be tried and
tested in real-life situations. We then need to review them carefully and critically.
It will be a continuing process of moving forward, supporting each other, and
learning from each other’s successes and failures.
During the next few years the staff of the PRIDE Project will be working with
colleagues around the Pacific to develop strategic plans for education that are
realistic and relevant to the lives and futures of their children. We look forward
to this challenge, and commit ourselves to giving of our very best.
This book is the first in a series of publications that we hope will make a
significant contribution to a Pacific body of knowledge in education. Three more
books are already in the planning stages in areas as diverse as language policies in
education, the financing of education, and the implications of the PRIDE Project
for the delivery of pre- and in-service teacher education.

Teasdale – The big picture: perspectives for planners
The big picture
International perspectives on education for planners
G R (Bob) Teasdale
This chapter seeks to reconceptualise the planning and implementation of
education in the Pacific by reviewing how people are thinking about education
globally. What are the new ideas, the new trends, and how are they changing the
ways that schooling is taking place in our global world? What are the implications
of these different ways of thinking for the planning and reform of education in
the Pacific? And for the work of the PRIDE Project?
Conceptualising the Project
To begin to understand the changes that are taking place in the way people think
about education, and to help develop a conceptual foundation for the PRIDE
Project, the PRIDE team turned to the Report to UNESCO of its International
Commission on Education for the Twenty-first Century (Delors, 1996). The
priorities of the Ministers for Education in Oceania, as expressed in the Project
Financing Agreement, are in significant accord with current international theorising
about education, and analysis of these broader perspectives is adding depth and
focus to the conceptualisation of the Project.

Educational planning in the Pacific
From our own experiences in countries as diverse as Thailand, Japan and
Indonesia, as well as the fifteen Pacific countries that are the focus of our work
in the PRIDE Project, The Delors Report remains a particularly useful blueprint
for reform, regardless of the economic, demographic and social indicators of
each nation. In the eight years since it was published the Report has stood the
tests of time, critical analysis and practical application. It has been widely debated
in both educational and political circles, and its ideas used as a springboard for
education reform in a wide variety of settings. It continues to offer the most
coherent, inspiring and relevant conceptual foundation for education of any
international document published in recent years.
The PRIDE team has also moved beyond the Delors Report, beginning to explore
wider philosophical perspectives, including postmodernism. These ‘big picture’
changes in thinking and knowledge are beginning to have an impact on education
globally, and it is important that we try to understand them and to question their
implications both for the reform of education and for the Project. This chapter
therefore begins with a brief look at some of the main trends.
From teaching to learning
Ever since the invention of mass (eventually compulsory) schooling in the early
years of the industrial revolution in Europe, the focus has been on the delivery
of knowledge to children and youth by adults with the necessary training and/or
community recognition. The architecture and routines of the school, and the
content and processes of the curriculum, were primarily aimed at preparing the
young to be compliant and productive workers in the new and expanding factories
of Europe.
This new form of mass schooling was almost entirely teacher-centred, the podium
and blackboard at the front of each classroom helping teachers to control their
students and deliver their knowledge. A system of examinations and reporting
regulated progression through the school, and provided incentives for students
to acquire knowledge and the formal credentials for having done so. These
credentials in turn were linked to subsequent employment. The higher the
credentials the more prestigious and well-paid the job at the end. This was the
system of education that was exported to Oceania during the colonial era, largely

Teasdale – The big picture: perspectives for planners
by well-intentioned Christian missionaries, and that has proven so resistant to
change in many countries.
This admittedly oversimplified account of a much more complex reality does
highlight the view that the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, educationally
speaking, can be characterised as those of the teacher. The teacher was central
to educational discourse and process. This has been especially the case in Oceania,
as it still is in many if not most settings.
The current change in focus to that of the learner, as exemplified in the Delors
Report, is highly significant. Even though many might argue that teaching and
learning are simply opposite sides of the same coin, and essentially one and the
same, the reality is that education is undergoing a profound transformation. The
shift in power from teacher to learner is just one element of this. Another significant
shift is from education as the acquisition of knowledge, to education as learning
how to learn. And a third is from a view of education as preparation for the
world of work, to education as a holistic process of lifelong learning. From these
perspectives the twenty-first century might well come to be described as the
‘century of the learner’.
The fact that the Ministers for Education in Oceania have requested the PRIDE
Project to encourage a more holistic approach to education, with an emphasis on
lifelong learning, is fully in tune with global developments, and has substantial
implications, as suggested below.
1) The ICT (information and communications technology) revolution has
ensured that teachers and lecturers are no longer the prime dispensers of
knowledge. Their students now have access to an exponentially expanding
array of information that they can access quite independently. Teachers
have responsibility to help students make effective and appropriate use of
this knowledge, which requires that they try to develop in students the
capacity for critical appraisal of all of the material available to them, and
for making value judgments of it, often from moral and ethical perspectives.
School curricula therefore need to focus on developing the critical capacities
of students, enabling them to know themselves and to think for themselves,
thus becoming active and confident learners.

Educational planning in the Pacific
2) Knowledge is power. As teachers lose their authority as holders and
dispensers of knowledge, their relationships with students are transformed.
They need to become facilitators of learning, providing students with the
skills and motivation to become lifelong learners. A much stronger focus
on curriculum process therefore is required. How to teach becomes equally
important as what to teach. And for these new relationships to be effective,
teachers need a new kind of moral and even spiritual authority. They must
become respected as exemplars of right living within their schools and
communities. This requires a profound shift in the mindset of teachers,
and even more importantly of their trainers, as they reconceptualise their
roles and functions.
3) With the adoption of a more holistic approach to learning, the old
boundaries between the various sectors of education (preschool, primary
or elementary, secondary, technical/vocational) need to be reviewed, and
the question of effective articulation between them addressed. There is a
particular need to explore how the secondary school and Technical and
Vocational Education and Training (TVET) curricula might be planned
together in a more holistic and interconnected way. In the Pacific region,
TVET programmes need to be brought down into the secondary school,
and even to upper primary settings. In some countries the seventh and
eighth years of schooling are the final ones for many students, and it is
vital that relevant and meaningful TVET be available to them and that
such programmes articulate with subsequent learning opportunities,
especially in the nonformal sector.
4) As we take a more holistic and lifelong approach to learning, with a
broader emphasis on preparation for life as well as work, questions need to
be raised about the deeply entrenched system of external examinations in
Oceania. This system has maintained the ‘pyramid’ structure, so typical of
‘third world’ education systems, a structure that in itself contributes, with
implications of failure and rejection, to many children being pushed out of
an increasingly selective school environment. A truly lifelong and learning-
based approach will require totally new models of student monitoring and
assessment. The PRIDE team looks forward to working with the South

Teasdale – The big picture: perspectives for planners
Pacific Board for Educational Assessment as it seeks to introduce the idea
of ‘assessment for learning’, using an outcomes based approach that aims
to empower learners (see chapter 8).
Tensions and change
Jacques Delors, in his preface to Learning: the treasure within (Delors, 1996), identifies
and discusses seven tensions that he believes characterise most education policy,
planning and learning environments in a rapidly changing world. He revisits these
and adds further insights in a later paper (Delors, 2002). Among the tensions he
identifies are several that have deep resonance with communities in Oceania,
including the tensions between tradition and modernity, cooperation and
competition, the spiritual and the temporal, the universal and the individual, and
the local and the global.
In neither of the above documents does Delors elaborate on the idea of tension
itself. One assumes he is not using the concept in the sense of conflict between
opposing factions or ideologies, the kind of tension that can lead to rivalry and
war, but is referring instead to a functional or positive tension. This idea of
functional tension is best understood by thinking about the strings of musical
instruments. Many people in Oceania play the guitar. They will appreciate that
while the instrument is being played, the guitar strings need to be kept in a
constant state of tightness if they are to produce pleasing music. One of the
tasks of the guitarist is to maintain a functional tension by regularly adjusting and
readjusting the strings to ensure accurate pitch and harmony. Likewise educators
have the constant challenge of achieving a functional or creative balance between
the tensions confronting them as they plan and deliver education.
The concepts of tension and balance are relevant in educational policy and
planning, and in curriculum development. Almost every educator I speak with in
Oceania believes that the balance is wrong, that the global, the competitive and
the temporal have a disproportionate influence in most learning environments.
How do we restore the balance? Once again, I find analogy a useful tool. In the
realm of visual arts, music, drama and dance in Oceania there are currently
some remarkably creative initiatives. Individuals and groups within local
communities are creating new forms of expression from the fusion of the

Educational planning in the Pacific
traditional and the modern. The Oceania Centre for Arts and Culture at the
University of the South Pacific (USP) Laucala Campus is playing a significant
leadership role here.
By way of example, much contemporary music in Oceania represents a dynamic
syncretism of the local and the global. It often has equal resonance with those
who celebrate and enjoy the traditional as it has for those who prefer modern
western music styles. Another wonderful example of the fusion of the global and
the local is a fan given to me in Nauru this year. It is very finely woven, using
traditional techniques of fan making, and looks exactly like the fans of
yesteryear—except for one thing. It is not made with the fibres of young coconut
leaves, but woven entirely with vividly coloured, fine plastic string, along with
plastic decorations around the edge.
In the realm of education, we should be striving for the same dynamic syncretism
between tradition and modernity, the spiritual and the temporal, and the global
and the local. This is as true for policy and planning as it is for curriculum or in
the classroom itself. Young people need to grow up with the skills and confidence
to live successfully in a globalising world. Yet it is becoming increasingly recognised
in Oceania that they also need to grow up with a clear sense of their own local
cultural identity, built on a strong foundation of their own cultures, languages
and spiritualities, and with a deep pride in their own values, traditions and wisdoms.
One of the core principles of the PRIDE Project is a commitment to building
the planning and implementation of education on a strong foundation of local
cultures and epistemologies. Many educators in Oceania share this commitment,
suggesting that the primary goal of education ‘. . . is to ensure that all Pacific
students are successful and that they all become fully participating members of
their groups, societies and the global community’ (Pene, Taufe‘ulungaki & Benson,
2002:3). School and TVET curricula therefore need to be firmly grounded in
the local while at the same time achieving an effective syncretism with the global
world beyond. How might this be done? Let us suggest a few principles.
1) In many settings it may be appropriate to adopt a bilingual or multilingual
approach, with English and the local language(s) used equally but separately

Teasdale – The big picture: perspectives for planners
in the learning environment. This implies that English literacy and vernacular
literacy are equally promoted. A significant challenge here is the development
of vernacular literacy materials of standards and interest levels suitable
for children and youth of all ages.
2) A culture of literacy has not yet developed in many settings in Oceania.
People tend not to read for pleasure and relaxation. Nor is written material
a primary source of information gathering: most local knowledge is not
stored and transmitted in writing, but continues to rely on oral traditions,
with story telling playing a significant role. School and TVET programmes
need to recognise, value and build on these oral traditions, yet blend them
with modern ways of communicating.
3) Networks of human relationships are profoundly significant in Oceania,
especially within the extended family and local language groups. Mutuality,
not competition, is all important. This needs to be recognised in all school
and TVET learning environments. For teachers, the challenge here is to
facilitate strong linkages between and among students, developing learning
networks where they can support and learn from each other. Often, group
project activity and group assignments can replace individual learning
programmes. Peer tutoring also offers significant shared learning
opportunities. The ground-breaking ‘New Basics’ curriculum currently being
trialled in Queensland, Singapore and elsewhere provides fascinating
examples of a process-based approach that fosters cooperative learning
of this kind (see for example,
The four pillars of learning
One of the most widely recognised and discussed features of the Delors Report
is its notion of four pillars of learning: to know, to do, to be and to live together.
While it has been criticised by some in Oceania, Thaman (1998), for example,
arguing that it leads to the very conceptual fragmentation that the Report itself
so strongly criticises, the idea that all learning is built on these four foundations
seems readily accepted in most cultures. For example, the design and construction

Educational planning in the Pacific
of many traditional homes and meeting places in Oceania are based on four
large timber uprights, usually tree- or palm-trunks, one in each corner, these
supporting the remaining structure. The idea that each upright needs to be of
similar size or scale in order to ensure structural strength and stability is readily
transferred to education, and to the view that all pillars should receive equal
emphasis in a child’s learning. In reality, however, the representation of each
pillar in most education systems in Oceania, as elsewhere, is far from balanced,
with ‘learning to know’ and ‘learning to do’ occupying disproportionately large
parts of the curriculum. As Jacques Delors (2002) himself acknowledges, these
two pillars have long been self-evident, and are the dominant focus of most
education systems.
The ‘learning to be’ pillar has posed particular challenges for educators. It is the
least understood, and the least represented in curricula at all levels. Even though
the idea achieved considerable recognition following publication of the 1972
UNESCO report of the same name (Learning to be, or the Faure Report), it had
not become prominent in education discourse prior to release of the Delors
Report. Basically, it has to do with the formation of identity, both individual and
collective, with the achievement of self-knowledge, self-understanding and self-
fulfilment (Delors, 2002), and ultimately with the development of wisdom. The
full recognition and implementation of ‘learning to be’ will require ‘. . . nothing
less than a revolution in education that will be expensive in terms of time’ (Delors,
2002:151). Nevertheless, Delors makes it clear that we cannot afford to overlook
this aspect of learning, for through it people are empowered to learn about
themselves, and to become more fully human.
Likewise the ‘learning to live together’ pillar challenges those engaged in curriculum
reform. The tendency is to relegate it to the Social Sciences, and to the teaching
of international relations. Yet one of our primary goals surely is to learn to live
together within a nation state. Again, Jacques Delors expresses this aptly:
This newer pillar has a special resonance in the twenty-first century as countries
grapple with the difficulties of co-existence among different religious
communities, different ethnic groups and others. Education bears a tremendous
responsibility to bring to blossom all the seeds within every individual, and to

Teasdale – The big picture: perspectives for planners
make communication between people easier. Communication does not simply
mean repeating what we have learned: it means also articulating what is in us
and has been combined into a rounded whole through education, and
understanding others. (2002:151)
In a deeper way these two pillars also have to do with the nurture and development
of spirituality, not just in a religious sense, but also through the broader quest for
meaning in life and for explanations of reality, both individual and communal. It
is interesting that secular education discourse—that of UNESCO and other
international agencies, for example—is starting to emphasise the spiritual and to
advocate a role for education in the spiritual development of children and youth
(see, for example, Zhou & Teasdale, 2004). But how do we introduce the
development of the spiritual into school and TVET curricula? Certainly not by
creating an extra ‘box’ somewhere, and slotting it in alongside other content
In my view the teaching of spirituality, and more broadly the teaching of ‘learning
to be’ and ‘learning to live together’, cannot be superimposed on existing curricula
and taught purely as content. The following principles therefore are suggested.
1) The teaching of these elements is the responsibility of each and every
teacher. They should be woven into the very fabric of the curriculum in all
subject areas in a fully integrated way.
2) They cannot be taught just from a content perspective. Curriculum
process is equally important, if not more so (see, for example, Teasdale &
Teasdale, 2004).
3) Teachers themselves should be exemplars of good living in these areas.
Their own behaviour and relationships should inspire and guide students.
4) School and college administrators also have significant responsibilities
here, in particular for ensuring that the organisation of the institution, and
all relationships within it, are exemplary of ‘learning to be’ and ‘learning to
live together’.

Educational planning in the Pacific
5) Teacher training institutions need to rethink their curricula, pedagogies,
structures and organisational culture to bring about the expected
transformation at the learner level. The aim here is to ensure that the pre-
and in-service training of teachers effectively incorporate these elements.
From a traditional perspective, these two pillars were, until the colonial era, a
fundamental part of a holistic process of lifelong learning throughout Oceania.
If we could return by time capsule to the villages of our ancestors, say three
hundred years ago, most of us would find that ‘learning to be’ and ‘learning to
live together’ indeed accounted for at least fifty per cent of the learning experiences
of the children and youth as they prepared to take their place in the adult life of
the community.
It is to be hoped that global thinking about education may be coming full circle,
returning to the subjective and the spiritual, and to a more holistic and lifelong
approach, thereby allowing the peoples of Oceania to reaffirm the legitimacy of
their own local ways of thinking, knowing and understanding. It thus reinforces
the significance of the PRIDE Project objective, namely to expand opportunities
for children and youth to acquire the values, knowledge and skills that will enable
them to participate actively in the social, spiritual, economic and cultural
development of their communities. Certainly if we are to capture the essence of
the Delors Report in the development of curricula, ensuring that ‘learning to be’
and ‘learning to live together’ occupy at least half of the energies of teachers
and students, then we need a radical transformation of the way we conceptualise
curriculum content and process, as well as the roles and responsibilities of teachers.
Moving beyond the Delors Report, I now want to conclude this chapter with a
brief and very preliminary exploration of philosophical perspectives, including
postmodernism, and their implications for the reform of education.
Postmodernism and education
Knowledge, like culture, is in a constant state of flux: it is never static. Presently,
in the globalising world, we are going through a particularly significant period in
the transformation of knowledge. Because it is happening all around us, it is
difficult to understand and describe. There are, though, several things we can say
about it.

Teasdale – The big picture: perspectives for planners
1) It is a shift from a relatively finite system of knowledge, where we have
assumed the world to be basically knowable, to the infinite. The sheer
magnitude of the expansion of knowledge in recent years, and the capacity
for continuing expansion, is beyond our comprehension. The ease with
which we can access most of this knowledge through the world of cyberspace
is equally mind-boggling.
2) It is a shift from the certainty and predictability of the old scientific
understandings of the past few centuries, to the uncertainties and
unpredictabilities of the new sciences of chaos theory, quantum mechanics
and so forth. In their writings, the ‘new’ scientists are admitting they do not
have answers to our questions about ultimate realities, and they reaffirm
the importance of subjective and spiritual explanations of the creation of
the world and the meaning of life.
3) It is a shift from neatly packaged and defined areas of knowledge—
from clearly demarcated areas of intellectual inquiry—to much more holistic
and integrated ways of thinking and knowing that transcend the old
boundaries and venture into territory that may be quite new and unfamiliar
to us.
4) It is a shift from the security of positivism and structuralism to the
insecurities and uncertainties of the poststructural and the postmodern. It
is a shift from that which can be known, quantified and explained, to that
which is fleeting and often intangible. Instead of searching for the right
answers, it encourages us to search for the right questions.
5) And finally, it is a shift from an exclusively western/global discourse to
new forms of dialogue between the western and the indigenous. In other
words it represents a genuine search for complementarities between the
global and the local.
What are the implications of this for educational planning in Oceania? First, we
here in Oceania are not alone in our quest for a creative fusion of the local and
the global. A recent high-level conference on educational planning at Oxford
University, for example, had as its theme, ‘Knowledge, values and policy’, exploring

Educational planning in the Pacific
questions such as the role of spiritual and ethical knowledge in educational planning,
and alternative ways of planning in traditional religious cultures.
Secondly, there is an exciting correspondence between postmodernism, the new
scientific thinking, and the ways of knowing of many local and indigenous cultures.
All three open up different ways of perceiving reality, challenging us to think in
terms of:
· interconnectedness rather than fragmentation
· inclusion rather than exclusion
· mutuality rather than hierarchy
· the relativity of knowledge, truth and values rather than certainty and
Let me give three examples that are relevant to the planning and implementation
of education at all levels.
1) The reality of the spiritual. Most local cultures do not differentiate between
the spiritual and the physical. For many cultures the spiritual is a reality that
is not queried or challenged, even when dissonance exists. The old western
preoccupation with finding the ‘right’ answer and thus resolving the dissonance
does not occur. Likewise in the new sciences the need for closure is less
apparent, and the metaphysical is re-emerging in scientific discourse. This
suggests that our planning processes are quite legitimate in including local
values, ethics and wisdoms, and in taking a more subjective and spiritual
2) The nature of social relationships. A primary feature of most local cultures
is the intricate network of social and family relationships that helps to ensure
the survival of the group through interdependence and cooperation. People
do not define themselves in terms of their individuality, but in terms of
group affiliation. Basic to their thinking and knowing is mutuality, not
separateness. This contrasts with the competitive individualism of the global
world. As emphasised earlier in this chapter, we need to rediscover this
interconnectedness, and develop curriculum processes that recognise and

Teasdale – The big picture: perspectives for planners
affirm our interdependence and mutuality, both in a human context and with
the natural world around us.
3) The unity of knowledge. The modern, global view of the world has encouraged
a fragmented view of the universe, where knowledge is analysed by dividing
it into ever smaller units. This has led to the compartmentalisation of
knowledge into discrete disciplines, and to reductionist approaches to thinking
whereby any phenomenon can be broken down, however artificially, into
separate components. Our planning processes and school curricula have far
too often suffered this fate.
By contrast, most local cultural groups traditionally have taken a more organic,
holistic view of knowledge that emphasises the essential oneness of humanity
and nature. An Indigenous Australian colleague, Dr Doug Morgan, a philosopher,
describes his people’s view of reality as a web, with all elements of place, people,
species and events interconnected in a single cosmos. He emphasises that this
concept of a united cosmos is dynamic, continually defining and redefining people’s
relationships with each other, with the land and with the universe (Slade & Morgan,
2000). Similar views of reality are present in most of the cultures of Oceania.
This indigenous perspective is now mirrored to quite a remarkable degree in the
recent ‘discovery’ of interconnectedness by subatomic physicists, and opens up
exciting possibilities for restructuring our planning processes and school curricula
in more unified and holistic ways (for a more detailed exploration of these ideas
refer to Beare & Slaughter, 1993).
In this chapter I have tried to reconceptualise the planning and reform of education
in Oceania by reflecting on the ways that people are thinking about education
globally. The chapter has drawn on the ideas of a visionary UNESCO Report,
Learning: the treasure within (Delors, 1996), and on broader philosophical ideas that
are influencing the way we think about knowledge and learning.

Educational planning in the Pacific
In quite a fascinating way many of these new ideas and directions have deep
resonance with the traditional values, beliefs and lifeways of the cultures of Oceania,
thus helping us in our quest to fuse the local and the global in our educational
planning, and in the reform of our school curricula.
It also is reassuring to discover that the goals and priorities of the PRIDE Project,
as decided by the Ministers for Education of the region and encapsulated in the
Forum Basic Education Action Plan, are in significant accord with current international
theorising about education. Further analysis of these broader global perspectives
will continue to add depth and focus to the conceptualisation of the project.

Tokai – Global perspectives
Global perspectives on strategic planning
in education
Epeli Tokai
Planning allows an organisation to focus its resources more effectively on areas of
need. It involves a good understanding of the current situation and a vision of
where it wants to be in the future. There are many forms of planning but strategic
planning has emerged as the most effective in the modern context. Strategic
planning focuses the organisation’s attention on its environment, both internal
and external, and on its challenges and risks, and provides a framework for guiding
its operation in the desired direction over the future.
From its earliest use in business to its more recent role in educational settings,
strategic planning is now well entrenched as a feature of government policy in
the Pacific region, and in adopting this planning technique, education ministries
in the region now follow this worldwide trend.
This chapter provides an overview of global perspectives on strategic planning
in education. It begins by defining strategic planning and provides a brief history
of the concept. It also compares the business sector, out of which the concept
and process of strategic planning were borrowed, with the education sector, before
discussing the application of strategic planning in education. The final section
identifies features of successful strategic planning.

Educational planning in the Pacific
What is strategic planning?
Definitions of strategic planning are many and varied, and most writers in the
field have their own definition of the term. Not surprisingly, then, definitions
vary greatly in terms of their level of abstraction, substance and general
acceptance (Steiner, 1979).
Strategic planning is a management tool and is used to help an organisation focus
its energies to ensure that members of the organisation are working towards the
same goals. As Stringer and Uchenick put it, strategic planning:
provides a framework or focal point for all of the organisation’s activities
uniting hundreds of employees, dozens of departments, and any number of
strong-willed managers so they all move in the same direction at the same time
and reach the agreed upon goals despite problems and obstacles that arise
along the way. (1986, cited in Tokai 1994:14)
Bryson and Alston (1996:3) argue that strategic planning is a ‘disciplined effort
to produce fundamental decisions and actions that shape and guide what an
organisation is, what it does, and why it does it, with a focus on the future’.
Organisations conducting strategic planning typically commit themselves to a
formal process in which a group of ‘planners’ articulates a mission statement;
sets goals and objectives; audits the organisation for internal strengths and
weaknesses; assesses the external environment for opportunities and threats;1
evaluates strategic options; and then selects and operationalises an organisational
strategy. The basic aim of strategic planning is to link daily organisational decisions
with a vision of where the organisation wants to be at some point in the future,
usually five years hence.
Strategic planning involves the determination of goals and objectives and the
development of strategies to achieve them. It seeks to address the following
questions: Where are we now? Where do we want to be? How do we get there?
How will we know when we have arrived?
1 Such an approach is generally known as a SWOT analysis, since it focuses on strengths,
weaknesses, opportunities and threats.

Tokai – Global perspectives
History of strategic planning
The turbulent and competitive environment of past decades has led to a great
deal of interest in the importance of strategic planning, which was first introduced
in the corporate sector in the mid-1950s. Since then, strategic planning and
management have matured and nearly all large companies around the world
have adopted some sort of strategic management system.
Global perspectives on strategic planning
Theories on strategic planning developed 20 years ago are out of fashion now.
There is no single ‘right way’ to do strategic planning; strategic planning is, and
must be, unique to each organisation. There is no particular strategic planning
system that every organisation can adopt. Rather, the application of the underlying
principles must be designed to fit the unique characteristics of each institution
and the diverse personalities of its key decision-makers.
Ginsberg asked what it is about current strategic planning wisdom that makes it
so much more valuable than before. In answer to this question, he notes:
the difference lies in the lack of abstraction, sterility, and top down arrogance of
the old model. This means that where once strategic planning was the sole
jurisdiction of the company’s senior managers, it is now the responsibility of
teams of line and staff members from different disciplines and functions.
Changing the process from one that is esoteric to one that is open and inclusive
not only involves extended interaction with people within the firm, but also
outside of the firm, particularly with respect to key customers and suppliers.
(Ginsberg, 1997:125)
What Ginsberg is saying here is that it is essential to consult staff, stakeholders
and implementers. These actors need to be involved, and they need to ‘own’ the
plan. Then, and only then, will the planning process be a success.
Similarly, Taylor noted that:
In 1994 Henry Mitzberg heralded the fall of strategic planning in its traditional
form as a heavy bureaucratic system organized by large planning departments

Educational planning in the Pacific
. . . In September 1996 Business Week reported that strategic planning is back
with a vengeance—but with a difference—less bureaucracy, more emphasis on
implementation and innovation, fewer staff planners, more involvement of
line managers and teams of employees. (1997: 334)
Probably one of the key factors in making strategic planning appealing has been
the move from a heavy bureaucratic system to a more streamlined one with an
increased focus on consultations, ensuring involvement and ownership, for all
stakeholders, in both planning and implementation.
In business settings, strategic planning models have been successful in improving
both the production processes and the quality of the products, enhancing worker
satisfaction and increasing company profit. As a result, smaller companies are
following the larger companies. In recent years, because of its demonstrated
success, strategic planning has received increasing attention from governments
and from the education sector.
Kaufman and Herman (1991: xiii) caution that ‘strategic planning is in danger of
becoming just an educational fad’, adding that ‘[s]ome educators have borrowed
a page from the industrialists’ book and embrace it—often without a clear idea
of what it is, what it should deliver, and how it differs from other types of
Comparing business and educational enterprise
Before one can determine the applicability of business planning experience to
the education enterprise, it is important to examine the similarities and differences
between the two sectors, to see whether the transfer of experience is likely to be
hindered or facilitated.
Differences between the business and education sectors
Educational enterprises often have relatively unclear goals, while the business
sector usually has a very clear, shared objective, namely to make a profit. Koteen
(1989), for instance, indicates that profit indices measure the success of the

Tokai – Global perspectives
business, and business managers can make decisions in terms of earned profit
and can read danger signals if profit declines. On the other hand, educational
enterprises are ‘human change agents’, and the business of education is teaching
and learning.
Another characteristic that differentiates educational institutions from business
organisations is their source of income. The business firm seeks its revenue
from the sale of goods and services to customers or clients. Thus the profit
gained from sales is a measure of the firm’s effectiveness and efficiency (Koteen,
1989). Revenue for the educational enterprise, on the other hand, comes from a
variety of sources such as government grants, student fees, grants from sponsoring
organisations and alumni contributions. The revenue does not ‘buy’ the product
(education); rather it pays the costs of the provision of the service (education).
According to Drucker (1990) educational institutions always have a multitude of
constituencies, each with a veto of power. Because institutions depend on the
support of their constituencies (teachers, parents, the taxpayers, the community
and the students) and cannot take risks with public funds, they typically make
short-term plans to enhance their image. On the other hand, business organisations
plan with reference to one constituency, the customers, and their satisfaction.
Drucker further argues that without customers willing and able to purchase its
products, a business cannot survive.
As well, the business enterprise is made up of autonomous divisions, which are
free to determine for themselves what they will do, how they will do it and when.
They can often make decisions quickly, mobilising and allocating financial and
human resources as needed. In contrast, educational institutions tend to be more
rigid and hierarchical, which reduces operational flexibility.
Similarities between the business and education sectors
The similarities between business and educational enterprises will determine
whether strategic planning models that have been successful in business enterprises
are also applicable to the education sector. Some similarities are that enterprises
in both sectors:

Educational planning in the Pacific
· have a budget to manage, staff and clients to organise, resources to allocate,
funding sources to develop, expenditure to control, and decisions to make
in all those areas that will affect their future
· operate in a complex and changing environment that presents threats and
opportunities. They have distinct strengths and weaknesses and operate
under constraints
· plan to manage fewer resources better—to do more with whatever resources
are available to them, not to complain that they can do more only if given
· aim for quality rather than quantity, and emphasise efficiency and effectiveness,
high performance, productivity and providing better services to their clients
(Derr & Delong, 1982).
Although there may seem to be more differences than similarities between education
and business organisations, in the final analysis strategic planning is applicable to
the education sector, as it has issues that could better/should be managed
strategically. However, great care must be taken to apply appropriate business
planning experience to education (Tokai, 1994).
Strategic planning in education
Whilst various models of the strategic planning process can be found within the
professional literature, all have common elements and underlying themes. The
initial application of strategic planning was in the business sector and its application
is steadily spreading to government sectors, including education. Although such
strategic planning models have not been developed uniquely for educational
settings, the ones applied in education have been modifications of models and
techniques seen to be conducive to success in business enterprises.
In education, wise planners will pay particular attention to demographic changes,
shrinking financial support, strengthening the curriculum, retaining effective
teachers, utilising computers and other new instructional technologies, and
preparing students for the labour market.

Tokai – Global perspectives
A strategic planning model
Figure 2.1 A conceptual strategic planning model for education
1. The plan to plan
8. Monitoring and
2. Mission/Vision
3. Situation Analysis
7. Implementation
SWOT, Data collection
6. Developing the
4. Statement of Goals
Strategic Plan
5. Selection of Strategies
The strategic planning model shown in Figure 2.1 can be applied to any educational
system. However, some of the processes involved may not be applicable to their
individual needs, as these organisations operate in different cultural environments
and are managed by people with different management approaches and
preferences. Therefore, planning models need to be tailored to suit the unique
characteristics of each education system.

Educational planning in the Pacific
The plan’s success is dependent upon the actions of key stakeholders. Consequently,
it is important to undertake consultations with stakeholders at each phase of the
planning cycle. They are more likely to support and contribute to its
implementation if they are involved with planning from the earliest stages and
believe it will have a positive impact on the organisation.
Features of successful strategic planning
To be successful, strategic planning should include the following features.
· It must lead to action.
· It must build a shared vision that is value-based.
· It is an inclusive, participatory process, in which all staff members take on
shared ownership.
· It accepts accountability to the community.
· It is externally focused and sensitive to the organisation’s environment.
· It is based on quality data.
· It maintains openness to questioning the status quo.
· It is a key part of effective management.
Key factors needed for effective strategic planning
Five key factors needed for effective strategic planning are outlined below. This
list of factors makes no claim to be a comprehensive or definitive list of the
important features that must be found in a strategic planning system. The reader
may, and probably will, have a different view of the most important elements, in
accordance with the conditions in his/her organisation.
1) Leadership and management. Successful strategic planning requires strong
and personal leadership. According to Stringer and Uchenick (1986:10),
there is ‘no substitute for the vision, the dynamism, or the energy of the
executive who can translate the right strategy into collaborative action’.

Tokai – Global perspectives
2) Commitment from the top management. If senior staff do not recognise their
responsibility for strategic planning or do not feel committed to doing it
well, then planning will not be done at a lower level or will be done poorly.
3) Climate for planning. Top management must ensure that the climate for
effective planning is established and maintained in the organisation. If nothing
is done about developing a proper climate, in many institutions the climate
may become hostile and the planning system would then be ineffective.
4) Participation of people. Strategic planning must be carried out in a
participatory manner from the lowest level of the organisation. For successful
implementation, everyone needs to own the plan.
5) Clear communication to everyone. The strategic plan should be well
communicated to everyone. Everyone should know where the organisation
is going, what the priorities are and why. Unless everyone knows where the
organisation is going and how it will get there, continuous improvement will
remain a dream.
There is no single ‘right way’ to carry out strategic planning: strategic planning is
and must be unique in and to each organisation. Strategic planning needs the
involvement of people, especially those who will be involved with the
implementation. In addition, strategic planning should be a top down, bottom up
and horizontal process. It requires commitment from top management. It also
requires strong leadership, leaders who can think and act strategically and can
clearly communicate the vision, the organisation’s strategies and departmental
goals to everyone—staff and stakeholders.

Educational planning in the Pacific
Principles and processes of educational
planning in the Pacific
Priscilla Puamau
All educational systems are shaped by their national histories and socio-cultural,
political and economic contexts. Thus, the education systems in the Pacific region
are manifestations of their colonial histories.
For the 15 participating countries of the PRIDE Project, many of the educational
legacies inherited from their colonial past are still apparent despite their political
independence. Fiji, for instance, has educational structures modelled on the British
system; the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI), Palau and the Federated
States of Micronesia (FSM) continue to maintain strong links with the United
States of America; the Cook Islands, Niue and Tokelau have close ties with New
Zealand; while Vanuatu, because of its unique colonial history, faces the challenge
of dual anglophone and francophone systems. The curricula, teaching and learning
methods, languages of instruction, assessment and evaluation methods,
administration and management models, and organisational cultures of schooling
in the Pacific continue in hegemonic forms, usually closely resembling those of
their former colonial ‘masters’.

Puamau – Principles and processes of educational planning
This chapter provides an analysis of the educational principles and processes
articulated by the 31 key educational planners and data managers who attended
the first PRIDE regional workshop. Strongly embedded in the PRIDE Project is
the notion of ownership, with the conviction that Ministers for Education and
the people of their countries ought to decide for themselves what their priorities
and key educational activities should be. The ‘workshop’ concept demonstrated
the confidence PRIDE has in the deep insights and vast experience that the
participants brought to the workshop. In fact, the workshop privileged their voices
by hearing and recording their ‘inside’ expertise, knowledge and values, so that a
Pacific body of knowledge and wisdom could be developed on educational
strategic planning.
The senior management and education officers at the workshop were given the
opportunity to reflect on and interrogate the best ways of merging local and
global planning practices to ensure that they developed a clear epistemological
foundation for their work. Indirectly, this chapter is in many ways a ‘writing
back’ to the colonial histories of Pacific people as they chart their way through
their past and present to get the best outcomes for the future development of
education in the region. Within the confines of globalisation and the culture of
donor assistance, they can ‘rewrite’ their own educational histories and reconstruct
their own educational identities and systems.
First PRIDE regional workshop
Coombs (1970: 14) defines educational planning as ‘the application of rational,
systematic analysis to the process of educational development with the aim of
making education more effective and efficient in responding to the needs and
goals of its students and society’. Strategic planning, a concept borrowed from
the business world, enables an organisation or educational institution to determine
its goals and objectives and to develop strategies for achieving them.
The focus of the first PRIDE regional workshop was strategic planning
methodologies for basic education. The 31 participants comprised the National
Project Coordinators (NPCs) and data managers from the 15 countries served
by the Project. Early in the workshop they were divided into groups and asked to
respond in detail to the following questions:

Educational planning in the Pacific
1) Please discuss the kinds of planning processes that have been used in your
society/culture, or are still being used. What are the underlying values, beliefs,
wisdoms and epistemologies that have guided the way your people reflect on
the future? How have people planned ahead?
2) Please consider how to develop a set of planning principles and processes
that blends the best of the global with local Pacific ways of planning for the
Towards the end of the workshop they regrouped, and were asked to revisit and
review their earlier discussions in light of subsequent presentations and debate.
The challenge for the participants was to develop a set of principles and processes
that was firmly grounded in Pacific values and epistemologies, yet was fully
syncretised with useful global approaches. In other words, the participants had to
provide what they perceived as a good balance of the local Pacific ways of
planning with the global.
Another key dimension of the workshop was for participants to review a draft
set of 10 benchmarks to see if there was a need to add new ones or remove any,
and to prioritise the list. Additionally, and more importantly, the participants were
requested to develop specific performance indicators that would be used when
applying these benchmarks to a strategic education plan.
What follows is mainly sourced from the records and summaries of the discussions
by the participants at the workshop. After discussion of local planning processes,
the substantive part of the article focuses on principles of strategic planning.
This is followed by an articulation of the benchmarks further developed at the
workshop, which will be used by the PRIDE project to review education strategic
plans of each participating Ministry of Education (MoE), looking specifically at
their performance indicators.
Local planning processes
Strategic planning is not new in the Pacific. From the dawn of human culture until
today, in all spheres of life, whether to mark a key milestone in village or individual
lives such as a wedding or a funeral, or for survival purposes such as fishing, war

Puamau – Principles and processes of educational planning
or sea travel, plans had to be laid and strategies developed to ensure that the
purpose and goals of the activity were fulfilled.
The example used by one of the groups at the workshop helps to demonstrate
the intricate details that go into planning an activity, in this case a national feast to
celebrate the installation of a chief. First, a meeting is called where the people of
the village attend and the leaders or elders begin discussions by explaining the
event to be celebrated, its importance and the need for everyone’s cooperation
to ensure that all goes well on the day itself. The planning discussions then focus
on the delegation of responsibilities such as food preparation, quantity of food
needed, division of labour, entertainment and traditional and other obligations.
In the lead up to the actual feast, sub-group meetings are held to discuss the finer
details such as hunting, fishing, cleaning, decoration, programme and other
necessary activities. On the day of the actual feast, all the months of preparation
become evident in the great pomp and ceremony with which traditional protocols
are strictly observed as the celebrations unfold.
This example demonstrates the communal approach to the planning process.
Wide consultations and consensual decision-making take place within a democratic
framework, allowing individuals to feel that they are adequately represented at
discussion level by either their chief, family leader or representative. Planning is
contextual, taking into account the social, economic, political, cultural and spiritual
settings in which actions are to be taken. Resources are managed for the benefit
of the whole community. Land is the main resource and this is used to meet the
needs of the whole group, not for economic gain. There are specific roles for
different groups in planning and implementing activities, and good leadership,
when demonstrated at all levels, leads to the relative success of the activity. The
economic well-being of the community or group is the priority and cultural
values are maintained throughout the process of planning and implementation.
The underlying values and beliefs that guide local planning processes include:
cooperation; unity; reciprocity; respect for authority, each other and for the
environment; maintenance of culture and traditions; maintenance of family and
community relationships; sharing and caring; religious or spiritual nurturing; moral
and character development; and capacity building. An important focus is on

Educational planning in the Pacific
building a productive and constructive society and maintaining the economic well-
being of the community, which are the main goals of many planning activities.
In planning for the future, Pacific communities start with a vision. They set
goals, brainstorm and contemplate as well as consult and participate in decision
making. Planning may be assigned to appropriate social groups and revolves
around available resources. There is a communal understanding of what needs
to be done and by whom.
In Pacific societies, acquired knowledge from past experience and previous
generations is the knowledge base used when drawing up plans for action. While
there is communal consensus of the goal of particular activities, accountability is
at an individual level, because of the deep personal commitment to communal
tasks. However, because chiefs or traditional leaders are ultimately responsible
for the safety and survival of groups, autocratic decision-making does occur at
Planning is therefore an essential tool for decision making. Consultation and
cooperation are important for the achievement of set goals. Plans are laid according
to the scope of resource availability, whether human, financial or material. Goals
and objectives are realistic, relevant and achievable. Authority is delegated, and
roles and activities are monitored to ensure that societal norms are adhered to.
The monitoring of activities is a control mechanism to ensure that there is
accountability for both individual and collective contributions. Sustainability of
resources and the environment is also an important consideration in traditional
planning processes. Moreover, the transfer of skills and knowledge from one
generation to the next is inbuilt into the system: taking part in the activities, under
the guidance of their elders, is the way the young people learn.
Principles and processes of planning: blending the local and global
There was consensus amongst workshop participants on the need for the
development and establishment of a Pacific body of knowledge, not only on
educational planning, but on every aspect of education. To achieve this, a collective
interrogation and analytic process needs to take place of strengths and weaknesses
of each educational system, to build on strengths without compromising or

Puamau – Principles and processes of educational planning
neglecting culture and tradition, and to ‘borrow’ best practices that work in other
places. The participants acknowledged the need to meld local and global practices
that work.
Processes of strategic planning
There is no such thing as a perfect plan and therefore no right way or wrong way
of writing a plan. However, planning should be localised and contextualised so
that it reflects the needs, values and cultures of each country. ‘Our way’ of
planning may be the best way of proceeding and each country must develop its
own strategic plan according to its unique characteristics and priorities. The global
perspective therefore should not overwhelm the local Pacific perspective.
Contemporary global processes of strategic planning are adequately covered in
chapters 2, 4 and 5 of this volume so they will not be covered in any detail in this
chapter. Generally, the planning process begins with aspirations of the people
and the Minister or Ministry of Education, which are translated into a vision and
mission. Goals, objectives and outcomes are then articulated. Strategies for
achieving these are formulated and performance indicators for their achievement
are identified. Timelines, resources and people responsible for various activities
and programmes are identified before the plan is formalised. The plan is then
communicated to the various stakeholders for awareness. It is then implemented,
monitored, reviewed and evaluated against performance indicators and
achievement of anticipated outcomes.
Consultations should take place at every stage of the planning process, with
monitoring, evaluation and review taking place at regular intervals. Research and
analysis of issues are constantly undertaken at every stage. It is also important to
draw up contingency plans as part of the planning process.
Principles of planning
To recapitulate, workshop participants identified the following cultural values as
underpinning local or traditional planning processes: respect for authority (elders
and chiefs), one another and the environment; reciprocity; cooperation; sharing
and caring; spirituality; moral or character development; maintenance of

Educational planning in the Pacific
relationships; exemplary leadership; capacity building; and sustainability of the
environment. The challenge for Pacific people is how to ensure that these values
are transferred or worked into current planning processes and structures to ensure
that local or traditional values that have stood the test of time actually underpin
modern Pacific organisations and institutions. (Discussion on cultural values and
the disharmony that can develop between these values and those of educational
organisations is articulated in chapter 9.)
After considerable discussion by participants at the workshop, the following 12
principles were identified as important considerations that should underpin
educational planning in the Pacific.
1. Strong, objective and visionary leadership
There is a clear understanding that strong and visionary leadership is necessary
in every sphere: families, villages, schools, Ministries of Education, church
organisations, and teacher training institutions (whether government or the private
sector). Part of good leadership is the shaping of a vision for the organisation,
with its concomitant mission and strategies for the achievement of its goals and
objectives. Strong leadership and good governance (economic, social and political)
are essential for the development and implementation of ‘good’ strategic plans.
The vision and mission must be clear and achievable. In the case of the MoE, it
is crucial that the vision and mission statements are clearly articulated and
communicated to education stakeholders, including MoE staff and schools. For
educational institutions such as schools and teacher training institutions, their
own vision and mission need to be communicated within the organisation to
facilitate a more effective implementation of the plan.
2. Participatory and consultative approaches
In developing a strategic plan, wide consultations need to take place with
stakeholders to ensure that there is a more holistic participation in the planning
process. The participation of civil society organisations is particularly important,
to ensure that the consultation process is inclusive, as are the views of stakeholders
in the school system, such as principals, teachers, parents and students. Community

Puamau – Principles and processes of educational planning
leaders also need to be consulted. Other stakeholders who have an interest in
education, such as employers, politicians, MoE personnel and other government
ministries, should also be consulted.
Information should be given in a language and manner that makes people feel
valued and respected. The process of consultation should involve planners going
back time and again to check and re-check for accurate representation of ideas,
as well as giving feedback on how ideas have or have not been included in the
plan and the reasons why. There should also be the awareness that people might
feel ‘over-consulted’ and may give responses that they think the planners want to
hear, and not necessarily what they believe or think should be in place.
A communication strategy should be developed by the MoE for different levels:
national, provincial, village and school. The objective is to build stakeholder
awareness about the provision of education in different formal and non-formal
sectors; to provide a forum for discussion and debate about vocational and
academic education; and to inform parents, the business sector and civil society
about future educational requirements to keep pace with national and international
employment needs. When communication channels are kept open between the
MoE and its stakeholders, democratic participation in educational processes,
including the development of a strategic plan, will be considerably easier and
more manageable.
There are several issues of concern regarding the consultation process. First,
donor-driven consultations are counterproductive to the notion of local ownership.
‘External’ or foreign ideologies, values and epistemologies become the driving
force behind the consultations, and the processes and outcomes could exclude
local aspirations, values and priorities. There is therefore the danger that no ‘real’
consultation takes place and there is little or no sense of local ownership. Secondly,
the MoE needs to take great care in the selection of stakeholders, to ensure that
there is wide representation of a cross-section of the community. There is otherwise
a risk when MoE officials select the stakeholders that some key civil society
organisations might be excluded.
Moreover, horizontal and vertical consultation needs to take place among the
ranks of MoE staff, particularly those of middle-level management, to strengthen

Educational planning in the Pacific
their sense of ownership, since in many cases it is they who will implement many
of the activities on the plan. Teachers and school heads should also be consulted,
as well as staff of teacher training institutions, since they are the implementers
of many educational reforms that take place at classroom or school level. A
serious limitation of many planning processes at the MoE level is the exclusion
of stakeholders from the preliminary stages. In all too many cases, stakeholders
are only ‘consulted’ after the fact, when a lot of work has already gone into the
planning stage and they are presented with the result. They are, in this case,
expected to give ‘rubber stamp’ approval of the end product after having been
neglected in participating meaningfully in matters of national importance.
3. Localising ownership
The ownership principle is important in the development of strategic plans.
Ownership must be at all levels: within the MoE, in the schools and in the
community. It is at the point of the MoE in particular that it should be capitalised
on. Professional and administrative staff need to have a clear sense of owning
the plan. Otherwise their commitment and zeal for its implementation may not
be strong. Participation in and ownership of the planning process are important
for the success of strategic plan implementation. Currently, in many MoEs there
is too little involvement of lower and middle managers in strategic plan
When outside donor funding is available, there is a tendency for the strategic
plan to be developed by outside consultants. This can lead to implementation
being problematic—understandably, given that local ownership of the plan is not
encouraged during the whole process leading up to the finalisation of the plan.
Local professionals utilised by the foreign consultancy firm have their brains
picked but they are not necessarily—indeed, often almost certainly not—involved
in any meaningful way in the process of strategic plan development. Capacity
building for local counterparts is usually not part of the mandate of the consultant.
Instead, the main aim is to get the consultant’s report and annual plan prepared
in written form for handing over by a particular deadline already decided upon
prior to the commencement of the planning consultancy. The MoE is then left
to pick up the pieces after the consultant has left.

Puamau – Principles and processes of educational planning
Often there is a beautiful plan in place without appropriate resources available
for its implementation. If there are resources available, there might not be
commitment or dedication on the part of the implementers, because they were
not meaningfully involved in the drawing up of the strategic plan in the first
4. Realistic, achievable and affordable plans
It is important that strategic plans are realistic and achievable in terms of goals,
objectives, the performance indicators used to measure results, the time frame
and the outcomes. The activities also need to be costed and prioritised, to ensure
that they are planned for in the budgetary cycle. No matter how ‘perfect’ the
plan might be, if government is not committed to funding the priorities, then
implementation of the plan can be problematic.
Sustainability of activities in the plan needs careful consideration. If a new long-
term programme is planned for in a particular planning cycle, its recurrent and
associated costs in the next planning cycle need also to be borne in mind, particularly
if it is an expensive initiative. At all times, the MoE must work within its means
and must also make optimal use of external donor assistance. MoEs must be
cost effective in their operations.
Since donor assistance to educational systems is available in virtually all 15
participating countries, a question that needs to be considered honestly is whether
countries are complying with donor agencies to meet education goals and priorities, or
whether they are only interested in getting financial assistance for the sake of
getting financial assistance.
Undue influence from educational aid donors should be particularly resisted
because the principle of local ownership is crucial in strategic planning. Since
priorities are articulated in these plans, they should be the result of reflection
and consultations by the local community, and by both civil society and educational
professionals. Chief Executive Officers and Ministers of Education should be
cautious about who actually drives the formulation of priorities and strategies
of national educational plans. While any external assistance from donor countries
is appreciated, the chief executives and senior staff of each MoE should

Educational planning in the Pacific
remember that ultimately, the plan must be implemented, and if it is localised and
contextualised from the start, the greater will be the chances of successful
5. Valid, reliable data
The production, utilisation and dissemination of information relevant to policy
makers and decision-makers play a key role in planning (Caillods, 1991). The
focus for data managers who attended the first regional workshop in Lautoka
was the crucial place in the planning process of valid and reliable data, and
chapters 6 and 7 of this volume address that question. In recognition of the
importance of good data in educational planning, there is a real necessity to
increase or improve data management capability in the education sector.
In the small to medium sized countries of the Pacific, limited staff numbers
mean that there may not be a planning unit or a computerised data management
system in place; and if there is one, it may be under-resourced and face severe
constraints on its ability to produce, analyse and disseminate data when needed.
Similarly, the planner for the MoE may not be a specific person, but an individual
who has planning added to the myriad responsibilities he/she already has to
undertake. As a consequence, planning may not be carried out effectively.
In the Pacific, because of the influence and impact of donor assistance to the
education sector, strategic planning has become fashionable. For example, with
assistance from AusAID, Fiji was able to develop its first strategic plan, for
2000–2002. Similarly, the ADB assisted the MoE in the Marshall Islands to
develop a strategic plan in 2000, for an indeterminate period of time. Ministries
of Education in other Pacific countries have had to wake up to the fact that if
they did not develop a strategic plan, they were likely to lose out on donor
educational aid. This is particularly so in the operation of the PRIDE Project,
which strongly emphasises the development of education strategic plans as a
prerequisite for the provision of any assistance for the implementation of some
of the priorities of the education sector.
Given the key focus on strategic planning, there is no escaping the fact that if
good decision making and policy formulation are to take place, educational

Puamau – Principles and processes of educational planning
planners and data managers need up-skilling and specific training in order to provide
optimum service. Far too often, because of the constraints mentioned, planners
and data managers are thrown into the job and have to sink or swim. More often
than not, they have many other responsibilities to carry out and are therefore not
in a position to do justice to their work.
If MoEs are to function more effectively and efficiently, then they will have to
give serious consideration to strengthening their planning units and information
management systems. These two go hand in hand. However, the danger that
planners trained in western universities may perpetuate global systems, to the
detriment of local ways of knowing and doing things, must be recognised. This
‘squeezing out’ or ignoring may happen unintentionally: planners must be
particularly sensitive to different viewpoints, including respect for local traditions
and cultures.
6. National, regional and international alignment of plan
It is important for the education strategic plan to be aligned to national priorities
and the needs of the nation. To a lesser extent, but just as importantly, the MoE
strategic plan should be aligned to regional and international conventions such as
the Forum Basic Educational Action Plan (FBEAP) and UNESCO’s Education for All
Aligning the education strategic plan to the overall national strategic plan is of
particular importance, since implementation of many projects and programmes
will depend on the release of available funds from the national treasury.
Government will fund those activities that have been identified as priorities in its
overall strategic development plan. Of relevance here is the need for effective
consultation and coordination between the MoE of each country and the Ministry
of National Planning as well as the Ministry of Finance. The reality is that
strategic plans will be more successfully implemented if appropriate funding is
7. Training and capacity building
There is ample evidence to show that training does improve the ability of individuals
to plan more effectively. In particular, those personnel who have training in

Educational planning in the Pacific
planning or have worked with donor funded projects have gained relevant skills
and knowledge that can be transferred to the local context. For instance, they
have developed such skills in planning, monitoring and evaluation as problem
solving, data collection, and writing statistical reports and other formal planning
documents. There is, however, an urgent need to provide further capacity building
in policy development, data management and strategic planning. The same
emphasis that is given to teacher training should be given to training in these
This is an important area that is often neglected by MoEs. In many cases, planners
and data managers are thrown into their positions without having had, or
subsequently had opportunity to undertake, the appropriate training for optimum
performance. In these cases, the MoE may not have the expertise needed for
the best decision or policy option to be taken, inevitably resulting in poor planning
and implementation: planners and data managers must be appropriately trained
and skilled in the ins and outs of their profession.
8. Flexibility
It was recognised that plans should never be set in concrete. They need to be
flexible in order to adapt to changing circumstances. If a plan is borrowed from
another system, it must be adapted or modified to suit the needs of the borrowing
country. Since plans are living documents, they can be modified to address changing
economic, technological or political circumstances.
One of the 12 planning principles articulated in the Education Policy Paper
developed as part of the Tonga Education Strategy Planning Project (Catherwood,
Levine & Moeaki, 2003: 12) is summed up in this way: ‘The Strategic Plan for
Education should be dynamic, developed on a rolling basis, capable of modification
in the light of unanticipated events, and monitored on a regular basis’. This best
expresses what flexibility meant to the participants of the workshop.
9. Monitoring and evaluation
Once a strategic plan is developed, it is important to have a monitoring system in
place to measure the achievement or otherwise of key performance indicators,

Puamau – Principles and processes of educational planning
to see if strategies have been implemented and whether outcomes have been
The plan needs to be monitored regularly during the implementation phase and
refined according to the economic, social and political realities of the day. To
ensure that accountability measures are not neglected, it is desirable to have built
into the plan a mechanism for regular review of the progress of implementation.
10. Cultural considerations
There was strong consensus at the workshop that local cultures and traditions
should not be neglected or ignored in the process of strategic planning. While
global ways of knowing are important, they should not subsume or overwhelm
local cultural values, epistemologies and wisdom. Pride in cultural and national
identity was identified and prioritised as a key benchmark for the review of
education strategic plans (PRIDE, 2004). In particular, this benchmark emphasises
the point that the strategic plan should be built on a ‘strong foundation of local
cultures and languages, thus enabling students to develop a deep pride in their
own values, traditions and wisdoms, and a clear sense of their own local cultural
identity, as well as their identity as citizens of the nation’.
This vision is strongly articulated in an important publication called Tree of
Opportunity: Re-thinking Pacific Education
(Pene, Taufe‘ulungaki & Benson, 2002)
which recommends that education be firmly rooted in the cultures of Pacific
societies—processes and skills, knowledge, arts and crafts, institutions, languages,
values, beliefs, histories and worldviews. Drawing on its cultural roots, Pacific
education should grow strong and healthy while permitting the grafting of foreign
or external elements without changing its identity. The main purpose for education
then should be:
the survival, transformation and sustainability of Pacific peoples and
societies, with its outcomes measured in terms of performance and
appropriate behaviour in the multiple contexts in which they have to live.
The primary goal of education, therefore, is to ensure that all Pacific students
are successful and that they all become fully participating members of
their groups, societies and the global community. (Pene, Taufe‘ulungaki &
Benson, 2002: 3)

Educational planning in the Pacific
11. Balance in curriculum and levels
The primary focus of any education strategic plan is to enhance the quality of
teaching and learning in schools, particularly the learning outcomes of students.
This important fact may be overlooked when it comes down to the nitty gritty
development of national educational strategic and annual plans. Related to this is
the need to ensure that students are given a balanced education that will prepare
them with skills for life and work in a global world, this being another benchmark
that will be used to review education strategic plans of participating countries in
the PRIDE Project.
This benchmark clearly stipulates that the strategic plan should address the
challenges of articulation between each level of education (preschool, early
childhood, primary, secondary, technical and vocational education and training).
As well, the plan should address the challenges of articulation between education
and the world of work, not only in the context of paid employment but also of
self sufficiency, self reliance and self employment. Further, the plan should
demonstrate effective articulation between formal and non-formal education.
Catherwood, Levine and Moeaki (2003: 12) have included the principle of balance
as critical in the strategic plan for education in Tonga. They describe it this way:
The strategic plan for education should be balanced, in terms of appropriate:
· weight for each education sector (pre-school, primary, secondary and tertiary)
· emphasis on maintaining its core business and making any necessary changes
to improve performance
· regard for traditional values of Tongan society and the new values of the
modern world needed by Tonga for future success
· emphasis on achieving academic excellence, while also recognising the necessity
to develop the skills that the economy needs.
Another dimension to the issue of balance in the curriculum is to ensure that
students are prepared with skills for life and work in a global world. This is yet
another important benchmark for effective strategic planning. The principle of
this benchmark states that the plan should contain strategies for the systematic
teaching of literacy, numerary, ICT and English skills, together with life and work

Puamau – Principles and processes of educational planning
preparation skills, thereby equipping all students to take their place in a global
world with ease and confidence.
12. Access and equity
Again, the document produced for the Tongan strategic plan is useful here as an
example of the use of this principle in strategic planning. This is defined
(Catherwood, Levine & Moeaki, 2003: 12) as the design of key priorities to meet
fairness and equity objectives through:
· ensuring that the disadvantaged are given fair opportunities to gain access to
a quality education
· targeting support if necessary to those in most need
· distributing resources for education in an equitable way
· providing every Tongan with an equal opportunity for a good education.
Similarly, a benchmark for reviewing national strategic plans requires that the plan
contain strategies for the teaching of vulnerable students, including those from
low socio-economic urban groups, those in remote and isolated areas, those with
disabilities, female students, school drop-outs and push-outs, and students from
cultural and religious minority groups.
Benchmarks for review of strategic plans
Finalising the benchmarks that will be used by the PRIDE Project to review
national strategic plans was another important outcome of the first regional
workshop. These ten benchmarks were subsequently ratified at the Project Steering
Committee meeting held in October 2004. They resonate with the principles of
planning discussed in the previous section and include:
· pride in cultural and national identity
· skills for life and work in a global world
· alignment with national development plans and regional and international
· access and equity for students with special needs

Educational planning in the Pacific
· partnerships with communities and stakeholders
· a holistic approach to basic education
· realistic financial costing
· use of data in educational planning
· effective capacity building for all education personnel
· a framework for monitoring and evaluation.
These principles and benchmarks therefore are recommended as a guide for the
development of national strategic plans of the 15 participating countries of the
PRIDE Project.
The first benchmark, relating to pride in cultural and national identity, was
prioritised by the participants as the most important. The main principle behind
this benchmark is that each strategic plan should build on a strong foundation of
local cultures and languages, thus enabling students to develop a deep pride in
their own values, traditions and wisdoms, and a clear sense of their own local
cultural identity, as well as their identity as citizens of the nation. Specific indicators
for this benchmark include: a statement demonstrating the development of a
national language policy, including the vernacular language(s); a statement showing
development of policies or regulations on citizen-building activities such as students
learning the National Anthem; and a specific objective or strategy referring to
the teaching of local languages and cultures in schools.
Prioritised in second place is the benchmark on skills for life and work in a global
world. This is based on the principle that national strategic plans should contain
strategies for the systemic teaching of literacy, numeracy, ICT and English
language, together with life and work preparation skills, thereby equipping all
students to take their place in a global world with ease and confidence. Two
performance indicators include clear statements of curriculum outcomes in the
teaching of literary, numeracy, ICT and English language across all levels, and a
clear statement on strategies for the development of life and work preparation
skills, including technical and vocational education and training (TVET).

Puamau – Principles and processes of educational planning
The third important benchmark identified by the workshop participants concerns
aligning education strategic plans with national development plans and regional or
international conventions. It is particularly important for indicators to show
evidence of dovetailing objectives and strategies with the most current National
Development Plan. Additionally, the education strategic plan ought to contain a
statement of commitment to regional conventions such as the Forum Basic Education
Action Plan (FBEAP)
as well as to international conventions such as the UNESCO
Education for All (EFA) initiative.
The fourth benchmark of access and equity for students with special needs rests
on the principle that the education strategic plan should contain strategies that
address the needs of vulnerable students, including those from low socio-
economic urban groups, those in remote and isolated areas, those with disabilities,
female students and school drop-outs and push-outs. This ought to be manifested
by way of a specific objective in the plan referring to meeting the needs of these
categories of students in order to provide them with equality of access and
opportunity. Another performance indicator would be the inclusion of a clear
statement of strategies to improve educational opportunities for vulnerable
students through more effective teacher training, and through improvement of
infrastructure, resourcing and programmes. Equally importantly, there should be
an indicator regarding the existence or development of appropriate policies or
legislation in the area of special education.
The fifth benchmark is in the area of partnerships with communities and
stakeholders. The education strategic plan should show clear evidence that it was
developed using consultative and participatory processes in the broader context
of civil society, including parents, students, private providers of education, NGOs,
employers and other community and private sector groups. Indicators need to be
inclusive of strategies outlining consultative meetings with key stakeholder groups
and community leaders, and strategies outlining participation of stakeholders
and the community in education policy development.
A holistic approach to basic education is the sixth benchmark that will be used to
review education strategic plans. There are three components to this benchmark.
First, the education plan should address the challenges of effective articulation

Educational planning in the Pacific
between each level of education; from pre-school or early childhood to elementary
or primary, from primary to secondary, and from secondary to TVET. Secondly,
the plan should address the challenges of articulation between education and the
world of work, not only in the context of paid employment but also of self-
sufficiency, self-reliance and self-employment. Thirdly, the plan should
demonstrate effective articulation between formal and non-formal education.
Performance indicators for this benchmark include the following:
· a written curriculum framework stating the linkages between early childhood
and primary sectors, between the primary and secondary sectors, and between
the secondary and post-secondary sectors
· TVET oriented programmes included as part of the school curriculum
· an adequate supply of appropriately qualified and trained teachers available for
different school levels
· pathways between school and post-school clearly articulated through
programmes and a quality communication strategy
· provision in the national curriculum for education from early childhood to
secondary that can be used in the formal and non-formal sectors.
The seventh benchmark concerns realistic financial costing. The education strategic
plan needs to be carefully costed, and realistic in terms of current and projected
levels of national budgets and donor funding for the education sector. Indicators
should include evidence of robust budget preparation and evidence of an efficient
financial management system in place.
The use of data in educational planning is the eighth benchmark identified as
important to assess national education strategic plans. The principle for this
benchmark is that the education plan should be based on recent educational data
that have been systematically collected, analysed, managed and reported.
Performance indicators include evidence of a trained data management officer
or unit and the existence of an Education Management Information System
Effective capacity building for all education personnel is the ninth benchmark. It
deals with whether the implications of the education plan for the training of

Puamau – Principles and processes of educational planning
education personnel are addressed and the development of effective training
strategies, particularly in the following four areas: the pre- and in-service education
of teachers; educational leadership, with a focus on ensuring that staff are
conversant with and committed to the strategic plan; educational planning; and
data management. Three specific performance indicators to demonstrate evidence
of adherence to this benchmark include: indication of levels and numbers of
education personnel to be trained, clear strategies on both pre- and in-service
teacher training, and evidence of capacity building programmes in place.
The final benchmark is the inclusion of a framework in the education strategic
plan that will be used for monitoring and evaluating. In particular, the plan should
contain a framework that allows outcomes-based judgements to be made about
the effectiveness of education provisions at all levels, and in all areas of the
curriculum. Performance indicators ought to include evidence of the following:
a national framework to assess student achievement; a performance management
system for staff; and a reporting mechanism on the success of otherwise of
strategies in the plan.
In this chapter, I have articulated the voices of planners and data managers
from the participating countries of the PRIDE Project at its first regional workshop
on principles of strategic planning. Additionally, I have discussed the 10
benchmarks developed at this workshop, which will guide the review of MoE
strategic plans.
The set of 12 principles of strategic planning developed in the chapter strongly
suggests that success in blending local Pacific ways of knowing with global
approaches is possible. The significance of this is the establishment of a distinct
Pacific body of knowledge on educational strategic planning, developed by Pacific
Islanders for Pacific Islanders.
The convergence of what can sometimes be regarded as two antithetical positions
such as the local and global has resulted in the syncretisation of what is best
from both ways of knowing. A critical thread emerging from the issues discussed
in this chapter is that global ways of thinking and doing should not overwhelm

Educational planning in the Pacific
the local and that cultural considerations should not be neglected but foregrounded
in all educational discussions, not just in strategic planning. Local cultural values
and ways of knowing and doing should form an integral part of strategic planning
processes. As the participants pointed out, strategic planning is not new in the
Pacific—our forefathers practised and lived it, as also does the current generation,
in traditional and modern settings. It is when we can analytically interrogate the
structures and processes inherited as a legacy of our colonial pasts and the current
impact of globalisation that we can develop the best of local and global practices.
It is therefore imperative that this collective process of critically analysing the
strengths and weaknesses of our educational systems should continue to build
on strengths without compromising local culture and ways of doing, and where
appropriate and likely to be beneficial, to ‘borrow’ best practices that work in
other places.

Tokai – Development of Fiji’s education strategic plans
The development of Fiji’s
three-year strategic plans for education
a case study
Epeli Tokai
This chapter provides a case study of how Fiji’s Ministry of Education (MoE)
developed two consecutive three-year strategic plans, the first for 2000–2002
and the current one for 2003–2005, for the development of the nation’s education.
It begins with background details on the development in 1997 of a Planning Unit
in the ministry and the responsibilities of the unit. It then outlines how a long-
term twenty-year plan was developed from which strategic plans were to be
derived. However, because a national election held under a new Constitution
brought about a pronounced change in government in 1999, the twenty-year
plan was shelved, while an Education Commission was formed and carried out
its work. The chapter then analyses the strategic planning process in more depth
and detail.
Educational planning in MoE has been an ongoing process. However, prior to
2002 the process was not carried out in a coordinated way, as each department
or section continued to develop its own plans separately. It was not until 1997 that
a post of Senior Education Officer (SEO) Planning was established within the
ministry. The appointee worked in the Research and Development Section (RDS)

Educational planning in the Pacific
which comprised the Statistics, Research, Development and Fijian Education units.
The addition of the Planning Unit aimed to strengthen the RDS and to ensure
that planning within the ministry was done in a coordinated way.
The SEO Planning is responsible for the overall process of educational planning
within MoE. S/He carries out project planning, budgeting, and national and sub-
national planning, and derives policy options based on data analysis and research.
However, because of the lack of institutional capacity within MoE, the planner
is also required to do additional duties as required by the head of RDS.
In 1999, with the assistance of an Australian consultant, the MoE’s long-term
plan, Education Fiji 2020, was developed. This long-term plan, which coordinated
the activities of all departments, sections and units of the ministry, was the first
such plan ever developed for the education sector.
How was Education Fiji 2020 developed?
The report Education Fiji 2020 (MoE, 1999a) was developed to give a clear
focus and direction for education in the Fiji Islands. It was a blueprint to promote
the very best education for the children and youth of Fiji and to help create a
more forward-looking and productive society. It contains a public statement of
the ministry’s purpose, direction and long-term educational goals, and provides a
twenty-year framework for educational planning at all levels. It was developed to
ensure that Fiji’s education system was responsive socially, culturally and
economically to the rapidly changing needs of the Fiji Islands.
This education plan was developed from an analysis of the existing strengths and
weaknesses of, opportunities for and threats to Fiji’s education system. An analysis
of the implications of all other government policies and plans was carried out, to
ensure the planning was done within the ambit of existing government policies.
Moreover, an analysis of international issues and directions in education was
also carried out to ensure the plan was aligned with international conventions
and recommendations on education such as UNESCO’s Education for All (EFA)
and its Learning: the treasure within (widely referred to as the Delors Report) (Delors

Tokai – Development of Fiji’s education strategic plans
An extensive consultation process, including consultations with community and
interest groups, was carried out across the ministry’s four divisions and nine districts,
to determine the required and preferred directions for education. This was done
to ensure the participation of all education partners in the development of this
long-term plan, so that they could share in the sense of ownership of the planning
Education Fiji 2020 sets out the objectives and proposed outcomes of Fiji’s
educational development over a period of twenty years. The objectives provide
a focus for the major activity areas in education and the outcomes describe the
desired results by the year 2020, providing a reference point against which the
education sector would be able to measure its success.
The document does not include strategies and performance indicators. Rather,
these were to be included in each of the three-year strategic plans the ministry
intended to develop as a series covering the twenty-year life span of Education
Fiji 2020.
However, the new government that came into office in 1999 decided to do away
with Education Fiji 2020, instituting instead an Education Commission. The report
of the Fiji Islands Education Commission/Panel, entitled Learning together: directions
for education in the Fiji Islands
, was finally completed in 2000 (GoF 2000), despite
the political upheavals in the middle of that year, and became a key document
influencing the development of the current 2003–2005 strategic plan.
The strategic planning process
As noted already, two education sector strategic plans were developed within this
framework, for 2000–2002 and 2003–2005 respectively.
The first of these strategic plans, a three-year mid-range plan for renewal and
development of the education sector, was intended to support the achievement
of the priority objectives and planned outcomes outlined in Education Fiji 2020.
It provided direction and guidance to MoE partners on priorities for action in
education over the subsequent three years (MoE, 1999b). In other words, it was
aligned to the 2020 document and covered the period 2000–2002, documenting

Educational planning in the Pacific
the implementation plan for the first three years of Education Fiji 2020 and seeking
to put it into action. It was developed from:
· an analysis of strategies required to achieve the outcomes specified in
Education Fiji 2020
· consultation with community and interest groups
· consultation at school, district and divisional levels to determine the
most pressing requirements and priorities
· an analysis of the implications of other government policies, including
the government’s Strategic plan for the sustainable development of the Fiji Islands.
The Chaudhry Government shelved the 2020 document in 1999, and after the
expiry of the 2000–2002 strategic plan, the MoE embarked on the development
of the current strategic plan, covering the period 2003–2005. During the initial
stages the ministry found that many of its planning documents had already gone
through extensive consultation with stakeholders and the community at large. In
addition, the government also had some documents highlighting the MoE as
implementing agency for some activities. All of these documents together were
influential in the development of the strategic plan. The MoE planning documents
· Fiji Islands Education Commission Report/Panel, Learning together:
directions for education in the Fiji Islands (GoF 2000)
· Action Plan on the Implementation of the Fiji Islands Education
Commission Report/Panel (MoE, 2000a)
· Blueprint for Affirmative Action on Fijian Education 2001–2010
· Action Plans on the Implementation of the Social Justice Act, 2001
· Education for All Action Plan (MoE, 2000b)
· Review of the 2000–2002 Strategic Plan (MoE, 2002b).
In recognition that MoE works within and serves the interests of the national
context, the ministry also aligned its strategic plan with several important
government documents, including:

Tokai – Development of Fiji’s education strategic plans
· The National Strategic Development Plan 2003–2005 (GoF, 2002a)
· The Twenty-Year Development Plan for the Enhancement of Fijians
and Rotumans: 50/50 by the Year 2020 (GoF, 2002b)
· The Social Justice Act, 2001. (see Government of Fiji, 2002c)
A consultation process across all sections of the MoE identified priority areas for
2003–2005. During the consultation, each section was asked also to look at all the
existing MoE planning documents and to identify possible priority areas for them.
After the consultation, the Planning Unit was given the task of developing the
strategic plan. The draft plan was again circulated to all sections for further
comments. Further revisions were made to the document before it was tabled in
a workshop organised for 35 senior MoE staff in October 2002. To demonstrate
the importance of the task, the workshop was organised at an out-of-town venue,
thus ensuring that senior staff were not distracted by other office work and
could focus their attention on the task at hand. Figure 1 provides an illustration of
the process involved in putting together the Ministry’s strategic plan for 2003–2005.
Figure 4.1 The Planning Process
National Plans
Fiji Islands
Social Justice
Education Commission
Action Plan
Action Plan
Ministry of Education
Strategic Plan
Blueprint for
Education for all
Affirmative Action on
Action Plan
Fijian Education
Ministry of Education
Corporate Plans
2003, 2004, 2005

Educational planning in the Pacific
As has been stressed, regular consultation was carried out throughout the planning
The education sector strategic plan for 2003–2005 (MoE 2002a) was put together
by the staff of the MoE, without assistance from donor agencies in terms of
funding or technical assistance. The exercise was seen as a good opportunity to
utilise expertise within the ministry and to ensure that the staff took ownership
of the plan.
Doing the planning in this way was a deliberate choice, a demonstration that
there is no single ‘right’ way to develop a strategic plan. Each ministry can, perhaps
best, tailor strategic planning models to suit the unique characteristics of their
organisation. A step-by-step process was not required here as the ministry had
planning documents already in place that influenced the development of the 2003–
2005 Strategic Plan. Ignoring these and going over the ground again would have
been wasteful of resources.
The consultation across all levels of the ministry ensured staff and stakeholder
involvement in the planning process. This is highly important, as the recognition
of staff and the valuing of their contributions ensures that they will have a
strong sense of ownership of the plan, particularly important when they are the
ones who will be involved with its implementation.

Kombra – Provincial-level educational planning – PNG
Provincial-level educational planning in
Papua New Guinea
practices, experiences and lessons
Uke Kombra
Educational planning is a management process that measurably and continuously
moves an educational organisation towards its ultimate vision. Papua New
Guinea’s vision for education is ‘to prepare and develop a literate, educated and
skilled person’ through planning and implementing the current education reform
policies. However, global and internal changes in politics, economics, social life
and techno-information, together with limitations in resources, inevitably affect
the ability of education planning to achieve its vision. The planning processes
that Papua New Guinea (PNG) provinces adopt and apply are crucial, as
ultimately, they affect the national vision.
This case study is based on material from a Master of Educational Administration
thesis (Kombra, 2003) investigating the effectiveness of provincial-level education
planning in Papua New Guinea in terms of its capacity to facilitate the strategic
national education reforms that commenced in 1993. The ultimate purpose of
the study was to identify the planning processes practised in the provinces and
to assess how well the planning tasks were carried out. In terms of methodology,
a triangulation approach was adopted through the use of a survey questionnaire,
semi-structured interviews and documentary analysis. The informants in the
study were education planners and advisers in the Department of Education
(DoE). An eight-phase educational planning analytical framework was used to
analyse systematically the educational planning practices of the provinces.

Educational planning in the Pacific
Research questions
The key questions that guided the research were:
1. What are the education planning practices in the provinces and how are
these tasks carried out?
2. What practices that enhance and sustain education planning are evident
in a province’s education planning process?
3. What practices that inhibit education planning are evident in a province’s
education planning process?
4. How could provincial-level education planning for the implementation
of education reforms in PNG be improved?
The main findings were presented by revisiting and addressing the themes of
the four research questions. Question 1 was addressed with a broad overview
pulling together data and material from the various aspects of the study.
Questions 2 and 3 were addressed within the context of the analytical framework.
Question 4 was answered by highlighting the weaknesses and possible actions
that could be taken to improve education planningin other words,
recommendations for future action were made.
Research Question 1
What are the education planning practices in the provinces and how are these tasks
are carried out?

Findings indicate that education planning is an important management task of
provincial education divisions. All provinces that have developed long-term
education plans demonstrate this. Data do not indicate any apparent consistency
in planning across the provinces. Nor is it clear that they use any contemporary
planning models or practices. Most provinces merely follow the National
Education Plan model, which in essence is an integration of different models.

Kombra – Provincial-level educational planning – PNG
Scrutiny of the data related to the 52 strategic planning tasks contained in the
analytical framework indicates that provinces knowingly or by default performed
strategic planning tasks. However, prevalent inconsistency existed in the efficiency
of task execution, as demonstrated by significant variations within provinces,
and between provinces and regions of the country.
Table 5.1 provides a summary of planning tasks and identifies whether they
were assessed as challenges or strengths. Planning tasks that were most challenging
for provinces were those indicated at the start and end of the analytical
framework, relating to setting of an ideal vision, environmental scanning,
implementation and monitoring, and evaluation phases. At the same time, the
four phases in between—setting policy goals, preparation of plans, designing
implementation and adopting plans—were strengths.
Table 5.1 Summary of planning tasks by phase, indicated as challenge or strength (%)
Not Sure Never Sometimes Often Always
1. Developing ideal vision
and Scoping
2. Environmental scanning
3. Setting policy goals
4. Preparation of the plan
5. Designing implementation
6. Adopting the plan
Implementa- 7. Implementation and
8. Evaluation

Educational planning in the Pacific
Research question 2
What practices that tend to enhance and sustain education planning are evident in a province’s
education planning process?

Research question 3
What practices that tend to inhibit education planning are evident in a province’s education
planning process?

These two questions were answered compositely under the eight phases of the
analytical framework.
Phase 1 Developing an ideal vision. The study revealed that provinces develop
vision and mission statements consistent with both provincial and national
government policies. On the other hand, it was found that not everyone that has
an interest in education is inspired to share the vision. As a result, there is a
decline in the stakeholders’ trust in government and education administrations
and subsequently, a dropping off in their identification with planning and policy
decisions. Wider stakeholder input and awareness of vision are needed to remove
the current fallacy that representation by stakeholders in authorities such as
Provincial Education Boards (PEBs) is sufficient.
Phase 2 Sector and situation analysis (or environmental scanning). Findings
indicate that provinces mainly establish their operating environment through
several generic data collection methods such as monthly school returns and
inspector reports or even petitions. Plans are subsequently developed to address
needs and concerns. However, the data collection process from schools is
unreliable and provinces do not consistently and systematically analyse reports,
especially qualitative ones. A lack of resources hinders physical visits to review
implementation levels and check reports. This situation encourages the chance
to fabricate data. Training of staff in environmental scanning techniques and
strengthening the capacity at district levels are immediate needs.
Phase 3 Setting policy goals. The study reveals that provinces often develop
policies sensibly based on their own needs and aspirations, and consistent with
national policies. Further, provincial governments develop and assign policies
and development goals, and task the education sector to achieve these. On the

Kombra – Provincial-level educational planning – PNG
other hand, some stakeholders do not always contribute to policy on critical
issues that will affect them directly. A lack of awareness of policies by education
authorities has on occasions led to political grandstanding. This leads to
politicians and bureaucrats scurrying to accommodate domino effects by shifting
resources, adjusting plans and so on. The DoE is at times limited by legislation
to correct some bad provincial government decisions, and thus other counter
mechanisms need to be considered.
Phase 4 Preparation of plans. It was found that when goals, programmes and
strategies are developed to meet provincial government policies, considerations
of resource and management capacity are kept in mind. However, sometimes
complacency creeps in, which inhibits consistent consultation with stakeholders
when resource gaps emerge. This situation forces planners to realign original
plans and strategies, and the resultant resentment can hinder implementation.
While provinces adopt and apply some cost effective measures suggested by the
DoE, there is still a need for more awareness to generate and harness potential
community resources.
Phase 5 Designing implementation. It was found that provinces develop flexible
long-term implementation plans for school restructuring, which encompass
other elements such as teacher deployment. A school plan software programme
(developed by the Facilitating and Monitoring Unit of the DoE) also enhances
planning. However, findings suggest that provinces would do well to
operationalise long-term plans into manageable annual plans, so that they can
focus on achieving certain parts of their plan incrementally. Doing so would
allow them to achieve the total plan more effectively. This operational planning
weakness was also noted in projects and some programmes within plans.
Secondly, political, resource and management instability in some provinces causes
wholesale changes in the implementation of plans, thus hindering systematic
implementation and making monitoring difficult.
Phase 6 Adopting the plan. The results of the study were consistent with the
literature that was reviewed in finding that planning committees and stakeholder
consultations at appropriate times help in approval of plans (McKinnon 1973).
All provinces have a written long-term education plan. It was found that

Educational planning in the Pacific
unapproved plans have been implemented, because a number of provinces’ plans
took more than a reasonable time before they were properly approved. This is for
reasons such as frequent changes in senior staff, provincial government suspensions
and provincial governments’ fear of resource implications. It is, in these
circumstances, ironic that frequently, provincial governments do not stop
implementation of unapproved plans. Two implications emanate from these
findings: first the implementation of education plans has no formal provincial
government commitment and so, technically the provincial governments are
not accountable; and secondly, unapproved plans leave a lot of room for undue
influence and change.
Phase 7 Implementation and monitoring. While the support of some provincial
governments and communities for provincial education plans is commendable,
it is partially due to their having advance awareness of the plans. When approved
and printed, plans normally are distributed to stakeholders, although costs may
limit a wider distribution, to rural areas in particular. The printing of significant
and relevant parts only is an alternative, if only for purposes of raising awareness.
The study also found that implementation of plans and their monitoring are
inhibited by a number of factors that hinder the whole planning process. The
high turnover of senior staff, remoteness of schools and a lack of resources are
just three hindering factors. Also, monitoring is rather sporadic, as opposed to
systematic and regular. This is most likely due to a lack of capacity, little or no
training of key staff and financial constraints.
Phase 8 Evaluation. Some provinces show in their plans explicit intent for
systematic evaluation using appropriate frameworks, but do not apply them
comprehensively, mainly because they lack the capacity and the time. It is assumed
that the multiple responsibilities that are the planners’ lot limit the time they
have at their disposal to give to planning activities. Nevertheless, general
evaluation of the sector, including plans, is carried out and reported at various
levels, including public forums.
Two remedies could help to produce deeper and impartial assessments: research
and the use of consultants. Recourse to these in the provincial cases is limited by
costs. Alternatively, prior to provincial forums, evaluations could be carried

Kombra – Provincial-level educational planning – PNG
out more prudently at each implementation level, such as districts, and education
sector levels. In addition, some hold the view that leaders, in fear of possible
effects on their career, deliberately avoid evaluations that may expose weaknesses.
Research Question 4
How could provincial-level education planning in the implementation of education
reforms in PNG be improved?

The study identified a number of problems as central to ensuring effective
provincial-level education planning processes in the implementation of education
reforms in Papua New Guinea. Recommendations following from the analysis
of the findings of the study, and categorised according to the eight planning
phases, are given in Table 5.2.
Implications for practice
The main contribution of this study to educational planning in developing countries
including the South Pacific region has been the creation of the analytical framework
(see Appendix 5.1) drawn from contemporary strategic planning models. This
was designed to help identify strengths and challenges in current planning processes
used by organisations and to help them survive and perform well in the current
challenging political and economic environment. Planners need to understand
the process in order to use this knowledge in improving education planning
Provincial-level education planning in Papua New Guinea has taken place
unsystematically (with the exception of efforts in the early 1980s) until the most
recent national effort, which primarily targeted the facilitation of education
reforms. The education plans of many of the provinces are due for review, and
other provinces are due to develop new plans within the next one to two years.
There have also been suggestions for district education plans (The National
Online, accessed 14 August 2002; Wari, 2000). Findings of this study have
implications for the imminent plans, and reviews need to take into account those
that are relevant to each province and level.

Educational planning in the Pacific
on practical
s vision to be
ant to pro
incial education staff
tion theme rele

y district and pr
vincial educa
aining of
- Use of techniques such as brainstorming, and slip/card writing to collect views from participating public to determine vision - Targeted awareness, e.g. reaching out to rural and illiterate population - P conceptualised each year and celebrated with national theme cum education week celebrations
- Provincial administrations and district budget and planning committees develop and sustain district infrastructure and resource capacity - A mandatory meeting held each quarter between key provincial staff and District Education Administrators, where a standard report on strategic areas is presented and discussed - Provincial education office planners design mechanisms to consolidate all quantitative and qualitative evidence that is gathered, and present analysis on a regular basis. - T environmental scanning techniques
- Provincial Education Boards institute mechanisms that make consultations and awareness mandatory in the development and implementation of policies - Quarterly provincial state of education reports be presented to stakeholders, including provincial government members - Strengthening persuasive power of DoE by instituting an implications incentive mechanism to encourage good practices in provincial education planning and policy implementation
- Consistent awareness and consultation of changes be made mandatory by PEB upon planning committees - Annual operational planning and regular plan reviews held to accommodate policy and resource shifts
by offices
or Action
education of
tions f
- the of vision
-Inconsistent and district - of systematic scanning techniques
- and consultation with stakeholders - awareness of policies and their
- with - Political instability and subsequent
and priority shifts
le 5.2

Phase 1 Developing an ideal vision and goals
Phase 2 Sector and situation analysis (environmental scanning)
Phase 3 Setting policy goals
Phase 4 Preparation of plans

Kombra – Provincial-level educational planning – PNG
ual stra
aluation and
in ann
in e
tion staff
key educa
vincial and district staff

planners and
planning pro
aining of
aining of
- T operational - Carry out proactive awareness of education policies and related education - Help planners to develop a better understanding of the political and social factors having an impact on planning
- Incentives to retain education planners and managers with experience
- PEBs ensure their committees’ effectiveness by making them more accountable via mandatory quarterly reporting - Targeted training in monitoring techniques and strategic interventions, - DoE, inspectors and provinces negotiate an understanding to involve school inspectors in monitoring, but without derailing them from their primary inspectoral tasks - Strengthening capacity of district education offices
- Provinces reduce assignation to planners of responsibilities unrelated - T post evaluation strategies - Divisional and sub-sector evaluations to be carried out prior to provincial summits
practical systematically
- Lack of focus and strategic direction to implement long term - Stakeholders not fully aware in their- - Instability in politics and social environment
- Lack of formal negotiation and writing skills needed to prepare - Lack of accountability requirements on some planning committees, resulting in their ineffectiveness.
- systematic monitoring and subsequent
Burdening planners with multiple roles eats into the time they - Time and costs limit comprehensive based - evaluate - Lack of time to report, and to receive sufficient feedback from the public in provincial-level evaluations cum summits
Phase 5 Designing implementation
Phase 6 Adopting plans
Phase 7 Implementation and monitoring
Phase 8 Evaluation

Educational planning in the Pacific
Political commitment and the availability of resources to implement plans will
often remain an uncertain element in provincial education planning in Papua
New Guinea. Mintzberg (1994), alluding to this fact, stresses the unreliability of
forecasting, and cites Ansoff ’s comment (1965) that while planning even for two
years is notoriously inaccurate, the alternative of not planning at all can be
catastrophic. Murphy (1991) emphasises that planning is not futile. The necessity
in the first instance is to develop short-term plans—one-year operational plans
that align with long-term plans. The former must be very short, but must
articulate targets, priorities and outcomes, assigned to each sub-sector each year,
based on actual resource availability.
A further practical implication is that to enhance the effectiveness of education
planning, the uncertainty of the political and economic environment, and the
management capacity of the implementing organisation, need to be examined.
Doing so requires education managers to have knowledge of strategic planning
scanning processes, an awareness of the political, social and economic
environment, and an understanding of a suitable, well conceived planning model,
in order to use this knowledge to enhance the provincial planning processes.
Implications for future research
In the study, it became apparent that a number of variables impinge on effective
education planning at the provincial level. These, succinctly, are: awareness and
consultation between education planners and stakeholders in education; training
and capacity sustenance of education planners and managers; capacity of district
education staff; selection of education planning technologies; leadership and
management; resource allocation and shifts; and external social, economic and
political factors. These variables individually or collectively invite further
A second area of research interest would be an evaluation of any of the practices
arising from the recommendations made in this study to improve the
effectiveness of education planning at the provincial level. Success criteria would
need to be formulated and a methodology framed to establish whether the
planned outcomes had been met.

Kombra – Provincial-level educational planning – PNG
In conclusion, education planning at the provincial level demonstrates strength
in some of the tasks, and challenges in others, both within and between the phases
provided by the analytical framework. The 20 provinces with long-range plans
have established goals and projections and have in this way provided some
organisational stability and vision. However, many provinces operate on
intuition or sporadic plans. The challenges identified in this study are partly a
result of the planning approaches provinces already have. Also, the challenges
are a consequence of both internal and external environmental factors such as
lack of resources and political support, high turnover of planners, lack of
awareness and consultation for creating visions and plans, and absence of
consistent good management.
Nevertheless, it is believed that the increasing challenges facing provincial
education administrations can be addressed by capitalising on their strengths
and minimising the weaknesses. Doing so would involve a paradigm shift in
their planning approach. It is imperative for education managers to turn to a
planning process that is proactive and forward-looking without losing the ability
to be reactive to situations, to adapt to changing conditions and to keep a shorter
time frame in mind as well.
It is the conclusion of this study that in addition to their long-term plans,
education administrators and planners in Papua New Guinea must consider
annual strategic operational planning. This would involve breaking down the
long-term plans into more discrete operational plans that will help to achieve
long-term goals. The analytical framework developed for this study might be a
useful guide in developing more meaningful planning strategies for education
reform in Papua New Guinea. Germane to this assertion is the advice that
education planners and managers would do well to take note of:
ownership of plans by stakeholders
awareness and application of bottom-up and top-down planning approaches
having tight links between goals/priorities and budget.
This includes realistic budgets and pragmatic strategies to cover resource gaps
developing contingency planning
initiating and gaining political support of plans.

Educational planning in the Pacific
Appendix 5.1
Analytical Framework – An Integrated Education Planning Process Model

Phase 1(or in 3). Setting an Ide al Vision
Macro - Micro


Phase 2. Sector & Situation Analysis
Challenges, Capa-
Internal &
Identifying Needs and Issues: SWOT; Defin-
bilities, and Op-

ing current Mission, vision, policies

Phase 3. S trategic Issues, Setting Policy Goals
Determining the vision, mission, Strategic Issues, Poli-
cies; Priorities, Defining Long & Short Term Goals
Phase 4. Preparation of Plans

Strategic Objectives; Implementation Programs;
Assess resource requirements; Setting micro priorities





Phase 5. Designing Implementation
Short term operational Objectives;

Short term operational Plans
d I


Phase 6. Adopting Plans

Official Endorsement

Phase 7. Implementation

Phase 8. Evaluation
and Monitoring
Continuous Formative Improvement
Implement and Monitor
Performance Reporting


Phase 8. Evaluation


Summative Improvement Performance Reporting
Source Author and integration of other authors’ models

Tokai – The role of data
The role of data in educational planning
Epeli Tokai
A good education strategic plan is one that is supported by relevant and up to date
data. Data may take a number of different forms, such as student achievement
information, census data, staff numbers and qualifications and the like. A body of
data, though, cannot be used effectively until it is turned into information, that is
to say data that have been organised and analysed and can be used for decision-
making. Chapman and Mählck (1993:1) note that:
many developing countries are now making substantial gains in developing
databases on their education systems. A considerable amount of attention
and resources are being devoted to the design and implementation of
educational information systems as a means of providing decision-makers
with more accurate, relevant and timely information for policy formulation
and planning.
In the Pacific region, donors such as NZAID, which has provided assistance
through funding and the provision of technical expertise to develop computerised
Education Management Information Systems (EMIS) in the Cook Islands and
Solomon Islands, and AusAID with assistance provided to Fiji, Kiribati, Samoa

Educational planning in the Pacific
and Papua New Guinea, to name a few, have placed an emphasis on the importance
of data to support strategic planning in education and in the decision-making
processes in those countries.
The Ministers of Education of the Pacific Island Forum Countries in their meeting
in Auckland in May 2001 emphasised that ‘in order to develop sound policy and
planning frameworks it is essential to improve data and information collection
and retrieval systems to provide accurate, timely and relevant data for informed
policy decisions’ (PIFS, 2001: 3). As a result of the agreement made by the
Ministers, the PRIDE Project, as stipulated in its Workplan for 2004, was mandated
to hold by the end of October 2004 a regional (Fiji) workshop on strategic
planning methodologies for basic education, including data collection and analysis
One of the specific objectives of the first regional workshop held in September
2004 was to provide specific training for National Project Coordinators (NPCs)
and data managers in strategic planning methodologies for education, and in
appropriate techniques for the collection, analysis and management of educational
data for planning purposes. Two and a half days were allocated for workshop
sessions. The main purpose of group discussions was for the participants to
share experiences regarding their progress and where they were in terms of
management and utilisation of data in each of the countries. In addition, the
session was used as a forum to identify issues and challenges as well as identify
what countries can do to improve the collection, analysis and reporting of data
to support planning.
The purpose of this paper is to describe and document the outcomes of the
data managers’ workshop sessions, which were conducted parallel with workshop
sessions for the PRIDE Project NPCs. After showcasing the Kiribati Education
Management Information System (KEMIS), it discusses progress of the
development of the Solomon Islands Education Management Information System
(SIEMIS). This is followed by an analysis of the challenges faced by data managers
in the collection, entry and analysis of data. A preliminary overview of measurable
indicators is also provided.

Tokai – The role of data
The Kiribati Education Management Information System (KEMIS)
KEMIS uses an Access database to store data gathered from schools from year to
year; analyse data so as to identify trends and changes in the education system;
produce statistical reports and charts to help with planning and education
management; and produce UNESCO EFA Indicators.
This database was funded by AusAID and implemented by UniQuest, a University
of Queensland company, and the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports
(MEYS), Kiribati. KEMIS was designed in outline in September 2001 and
developed in detail during a three-month period from November 2001 to February
2002. It was developed using the standard Access software and was customised
to permit the analysis and presentation of data and the making of effective
decisions about the strategic development of the education system. Mrs Era
Etera, Education Officer Statistics, Kiribati, and Rebecca McHugh, Project
Coordinator, UniQuest, showcased KEMIS to the participants.
The KEMIS project goals
The goals of the KEMIS Project are to establish a useful, powerful and efficient
system for managing data and information at MEYS; make use of modern
technology consisting of a database system and computers; and ensure KEMIS
is a resource from which everyone in the MEYS can benefit.
Previously, data have always been available about the education system in Kiribati.
However, these were entered and stored in Excel. As a result, data retrieval was
slow and the storage of data was not satisfactory, which contributed to the loss
of several years’ data. KEMIS has been designed to solve all these problems. A
lot of quality educational data has now been collected, entered and stored in
KEMIS, all of which can be retrieved at the press of a button.
Data entry, analysis and reporting: what can KEMIS do?
Three years of data, 2002–2004, have now been entered in the database. KEMIS
now holds a lot of information gathered from every school in the country. Data
in KEMIS can be used to generate reports on school resources, facilities and
conditions of facilities in each school, and make comparisons among schools,

Educational planning in the Pacific
villages, islands and by districts. In addition, other data stored include, among
other things, the number of pupils and teachers, ages by enrolment, participation
by gender and qualification of the teaching staff. The database also stores detailed
information about school enrolments, including the number of enrolments by
age, class level and gender. These figures can be compared among schools, islands
and districts. The database also has data about how many pieces of furniture
each school has in its rooms, and all of the different types of furniture each
school has.
The outlook for KEMIS
As survey data are entered each year, the understanding MEYS staff have of
the education system in Kiribati will become more and more detailed and in
particular, the staff will be able to do the following: make comparison by year;
track growth and changes by district, island, village and school; monitor rates of
non-attendance, repeating and enrolments; evaluate the conditions and future of
the teaching profession; and see trends in the participation of students by gender,
ethnicity and other categories of analysis.
Plans for Solomon Islands (SIEMIS)
There is a clear weakness in education sector management in Solomon Islands in
regard to education data collection, data analysis and reporting. While there are
some data available on schools, teachers and students, they are mostly incomplete
and fragmented. The Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development
(MEHRD), with AusAID assistance, commenced in 2001 with the development
of the database required to manage school returns and other data used to monitor
and plan the development of the system (Solomon Islands Government, 2004).
This work has been continued with the support of the EU, but the task remains
incomplete, because the ministry is unable to process rapidly or report completely
and accurately on the status of the education system. The ministry has sought
assistance from NZAID and EU to establish a fully integrated Education
Management Information System (EMIS) based on the model recently established
in Kiribati.

Tokai – The role of data
NZAID and EU have agreed that they will jointly finance the project, the purpose
of which is to design, develop and establish an effective EMIS for the Solomon
Islands. The system will provide information in a format that will enable the
managers of the education system at national and provincial levels to undertake
specific analysis of trends and needs and to use these analyses to make effective
decisions regarding the development of the system and, in particular, the allocation
of resources.
The project started in May 2004. The first component was the review and re-
design of MEHRD’s existing survey instruments and the completion and costing
of hardware and software specifications for the project. The other components
will include the following: software design; hardware and local and wide area
network; data entry, analysis and reporting; training and capacity building; budget
process synchronisation and resource allocation; and strengthening of the planning
and statistics unit.
The completion of the SIEMIS will allow for the collection of more detailed
and accurate school, student and teacher data and the improvement of its analysis
and reporting, to facilitate the achievement of objectives of the Education Strategic
The challenges of data collection
Sharing of approaches and instrumentation
The group discussions focused on the following questions:
1. What system/instrument is used for collecting educational data?
2. What type of data do you collect?
3. How often are the data collected and updated?
4. Do you have a centralised database system? If yes, what program do
you use?
5. Does your Ministry have a separate/special unit responsible for data
collection and processing?
6. Discuss the techniques used for dealing with non-responding schools.

Educational planning in the Pacific
The answers to the above questions are discussed in detail below.
What system/instrument is used for collecting data?
All countries use school questionnaires or survey forms to collect data, as indicated
in table 6.1. These forms are sent to schools for principals to fill in. Completed
questionnaires are then sent back to the district, provincial or central education
office, depending on which office is responsible for data entry. However, in
Palau questionnaires are sent out electronically to all schools and completed
forms are sent back electronically to the central office.
Table 6.1 System/Instrument for Collecting Data (at September 2004)
Cook Islands
Excel, Word and DOS
School questionnaire survey form
currently being upgraded
to Access program
Access program
School questionnaire survey form
Pacific Education Database
School questionnaire survey form
Management System
Access program
School questionnaire survey form
Marshall Islands
Pacific Education Database
School questionnaire survey form
Management System (PEDMS)
School questionnaire survey form
School questionnaire survey form
Pacific Education Database
School questionnaire survey form
Management System (PEDMS)
Papua New Guinea Access program
School questionnaire survey form
Access program
School questionnaire survey form
Solomon Islands
Access program
School questionnaire survey form
Excel and Word
School questionnaire survey form
School questionnaire survey form
Access program
School questionnaire survey form
Access program
School questionnaire survey form

Tokai – The role of data
What type of data do countries collect?
Data collected range across such matters as student information, teacher
information, school information, school facilities, financial information, school
equipment and furniture, curriculum and school support staff. The range of data
collected depends very much on the needs and the size of the particular country.
What was common in most countries was that each country had two databases,
one specifically for general school information and the other for student
examination results (external examination results). Databases of the second type,
which are established mainly because of the confidential and sensitive nature of
the students’ performance data, may be located within the Curriculum Development
Units or with the Examination Sections or Monitoring and Evaluation Divisions
within the Ministries of Education (MoEs).
How often are the data collected and updated?
Frequency of data collection varies from country to country. In some, data are
collected annually while in some, collection occurs quarterly, depending on the
urgency of the data required.
Do you have a centralised database system? If yes, what program do you use?
It is interesting to note that some small countries still do not have a centralised
database system (see table 6.1). Countries with a computerised database have Excel,
Access or DOS programs. Countries that do not have a centralised database system
store and access their information manually, which is a very time consuming process.
Does your Ministry have a separate/special unit responsible for data collection
and processing?

Some countries, especially the smallest island states, do not have a separate statistics
unit to collect and analyse data the responsibility is simply added to the workload
of another department. As a result, the statistics area is often neglected. In Nauru,
for example, the MoE does not have a statistics unit and national statistics are
coordinated by the National Statistics Bureau.

Educational planning in the Pacific
Discuss the techniques used for dealing with non-responding schools.
Data need to be improved and updated. All too often school data are collected by
non-motivated and uninterested teachers and principals, who may or may not
send the questionnaire to the MoE. Non-responding schools was a common
problem highlighted by some countries. There were several techniques listed by
the groups to deal with non-responding schools, the common ones including:
· sending reminder notices by official memo, phone, fax or e-mail
· site visiting by the education staff to collect questionnaires
· citing non-responding schools in the performance evaluation of the
school principals
· surcharging school principals and making deductions from their salary
· withholding government grants to non-responding schools.
Data entry and analysis
The questionnaires are sent to the schools to be filled by the principals. The
completed questionnaires are then sent to the District Education Office, the
Provincial Education Office or to the central office for data to be entered into the
There was a consensus on the need for a common approach as to the type of
computer program used, though the database design must be unique to each
country. This would ensure uniformity in the training of data managers and
would enhance countries’ ability to help and to learn from each other, as there
are elements in the database common to all the countries.
Education ministries in each of the 15 countries use their database to report on
the development of education in their countries. The medium of reporting varies
from country to country but some of the common ones include the publishing of
annual statistics reports/digests, annual reports, reports to UNESCO and other
organisations, and ad hoc reports using information from the database.

Tokai – The role of data
The group also highlighted the need to have timely, relevant and accurate data to
support the work of educational planners. Planners need baseline data against
which to measure performance. The group also pointed out that planners must
have the necessary skills to access data from the database and to analyse and report
on that information.
Discussion to identify challenges for data managers listed the following common
· lack of personnel within the ministry
· in many cases, lack, in people responsible for the database, of the necessary
skills in data analysis and reporting
· the perception that managing the database is additional to their workload,
meaning that at the end of the day, the database is often neglected
· duplication of roles, for instance when departments collect their own data
· urgent need for data managers to be trained in the analysis and reporting
of data
· need for training for principals and other data providers on how to
fill out survey forms.
From the preceding discussion, it is evident that all the countries should have well
trained data managers in the area of data analysis and reporting, in order to provide
relevant and timely information to assist planners and decision makers make
informed decisions.
How do we achieve maximum synergy between the collection,
management and reporting of educational data and strategic planning?
Data Collection
As indicated, the most common method of data collection is the use of school
questionnaire survey forms. In some countries, responsibility for data collection
falls on a central unit in the MoE; in others, schools themselves take on this

Educational planning in the Pacific
Some common issues highlighted in the group discussions include difficulties in
obtaining timely and accurate data, and the relevance or completeness of data
being gathered. As well, there is a need to incorporate different kinds of data (e.g.
examination and finance data) into school data sets. In some cases, data auditing is
not carried out or not emphasised, because of system limitations or time constraints.
It seems that data managers have been doing many different kinds of analysis
(even if they have not been calling it analysis). Some common approaches in data
analysis include: comparisons (among schools/regions etc.), reporting to
benchmarks/strategic plans, and reporting on year-on-year trends. Another issue
is that of problems in the data gathering stage impacting upon data auditing and
analysis, especially when survey forms are not returned or not filled completely, or
data providers provide the wrong information.
The data cycle and strategic planning
If the data cycle is running well, its outputs will be useful for strategic planning.
For the data cycle to run well, there needs to be good communication and
cooperation between data providers, data managers and data users (planners). In
addition, for all players in the cycle to fulfil their roles, they need to have their
needs met.
Data provider needs
Data providers (e.g. principals) need training to make the collection process (filling
in of survey forms) as clear as possible. They need to know where their
contribution fits in. In addition, data providers need feedback and exchange of
information, especially in the form of data relevant to them, and they need to
have their time constraints recognised.
Data manager needs
Data managers need clarity of objectives and requirements, and they need to be
involved in the strategic planning process or at least to have a very clear
understanding of its objectives. In addition, they need support for the audit
process and they need training in data collection, data auditing and analysis, and
data reporting.

Tokai – The role of data
Data user needs
Data users need quality data (timely, accurate and relevant) that they can have
confidence in. They need data providers who are responsive to ad hoc requests.
Furthermore, they need to have an understanding of the data input and analysis
Understanding of roles
All players (data providers, data managers and data users) need to have a clear
understanding of what their roles are. It is important that in order to achieve
synergy between collection, management and reporting, data managers and the
planners who will be using their data decide together on the following:
Who is responsible for analysis (first level and second level)?
What are the objectives for the analysis and reporting processes?
What format and layout should be used for reports?
Who can receive what information?
Who has access to what kind of data?
Data managers and strategic planning
The development of strategic plans is a key feature of the PRIDE Project and
an opportunity exists now for data managers to be a part of this process by being
involved in customising, analysing and reporting to those strategic plans. The
process of developing the strategic plan, or at least the process of developing
the indicators, must include data managers.
Another opportunity for data managers to be a part of the process is to arrange
for them to sit down with planners and take them through the data cycle as it
exists, pointing out where changes can/should be made in order to meet strategic
planning needs. This has an added advantage of giving planners a thorough
understanding of the data process that data managers know so well but planners
may not be familiar with. If planners know the process and the kind of
information that is available, they can make more and better use of data.

Educational planning in the Pacific
The development of measurable indicators to evaluate the extent to
which strategic plans achieve their objectives: a preliminary overview
What is an indicator? According to Sauvageot (1997: 16), an indicator may be
defined as:
a tool that should make it possible to have a sense of the state of an education
system, and also to report on that state to the whole of the education
community, in other words to the whole country. One misunderstanding is
very important to avoid: an indicator is not an elementary item of information.
It is information processed, so as to permit the study of an educational
The characteristics of a good indicator include its relevance, ability to summarise
information without distortions, precision and comparability, and reliability. A
good indicator should do the following:
measure how far or how close one is from an objective
identify problematic or unacceptable situations
meet policy concerns, and answer questions leading to its choice
compare its value to a reference value.
Sauvageot (1997) further emphasises that in order to construct a good indicator,
one has to be able to identify the most interesting phenomena to measure, which
will depend on the individual country’s choice, as inspired by the objectives of its
education policy. For example, the enrolment rate (net enrolment and gross
enrolment) in primary education is a good indicator. But when a country has a
full school attendance, much of its importance as an indicator is lost.
In summary, indicators play an important role in the monitoring and evaluation
of the functioning of the education system. In addition, indicators must also aim
to describe the education system.

Tokai – The role of data
This chapter has provided a description of the outcomes of the discussions of
the 15 data managers who attended the first PRIDE Project regional workshop
in September 2004. In particular, the Education Management Information Systems
in Kiribati and the Solomon Islands were discussed. As well, the challenges that
data managers face in the Pacific in relation to data collection, entry and analysis
have been articulated.

Educational planning in the Pacific
Strengthening education management
information systems
better use of data for better strategic planning
Rebecca McHugh
Throughout the Pacific region the delivery of public education is guided by strategic
planning, carried out by Ministries of Education (MoEs) working towards the
achievement of broader national development goals, and within frameworks set
by national planners. Education Strategic Plans (ESPs), while reflecting national
development priorities, often incorporate broader global initiatives for access,
equity, quality and efficiency in public education provision, such as the UNESCO
Education for All (EFA) framework and the United Nations Millennium
Development Goals (MDGs).
ESPs have enormous scope and impacts. At the highest level an ESP can be seen
as guiding the human resource development of an entire country. At a sectoral
management level ESPs must consider how to direct the spending to areas of
strategic priority; how to allocate scarce resources most efficiently; and how to
prepare for future expansion and growth while equitably extending access to
education to the whole population. At an operational level, strategic plans give
consideration to, amongst other issues the relevance and currency of curricula
and assessment or evaluation; the professional development needs of the teaching
service; the condition of public school facilities, including providing for their

McHugh – Strengthening education management information systems
ongoing maintenance; and providing maximum learning opportunities for students
with diverse interests and abilities.
Education strategic planners in the Pacific face a combination of challenges that
is not common elsewhere in the world. For example, most Pacific education
systems have to meet the varied needs of populations that are growing rapidly; are
spread across several different islands, often at great distances from each other, or
in mountainous areas, often accessible only on foot, after hours’ or days’ walking;
have different levels of technological capacity; and include a diversity of cultural,
linguistic and religious perspectives.
In order to make effective policies and decisions that reflect broader national
strategies, and incorporate internationally recognised measures of quality, access
and efficiency in public education delivery, education sector strategic planners
need to have the most complete information about their education system.
Information in various formats underpins sound decision making and effective
planning. Raw data from school surveys, stakeholder feedback, aggregated and
summarised sector statistics, maps, trend analyses and projections can all help to
form a comprehensive picture for the education sector of existing capacity,
priority needs, areas for growth and expansion, disadvantaged groups and success
Effective strategic planning requires the ready availability of accurate and relevant
information. A well-functioning Education Management Information System
(EMIS)—by which is meant the people, processes and technologies involved in
collecting, processing, disseminating and acting on information about the education
sector—will produce accurate information, in formats relevant to various
stakeholders, within useful timeframes.
This chapter discusses ways of maximising the utility of education sector data,
by improving the data quality, to support strategic planning and policy making. In
the first section, the chapter considers the role of an EMIS in producing quality
data. The three main stages of an EMIS cycle—data collection, data treatment
and data use—are then considered in turn, and various means of strengthening
each part of the cycle are discussed.

Educational planning in the Pacific
Education management information systems and quality data
An EMIS should not be thought of as a technological solution alone. It is the
information system that facilitates the communication flows needed to manage
an education system. An information system therefore includes all of the people,
computer applications and other communications technology, processes, policies
and procedures involved in making sure that the right information flows to
people who make decisions and take action within the education sector.
Thinking about an EMIS in this way reveals two vital features of an information
system. First, it is about much more than simply technology. While a good EMIS
computer application can make the job of collating, analysing and reporting on
education sector data much easier, it cannot function effectively without well-
informed people and well-structured processes around it. Secondly, a good
information system is about effective communication and information flows:
information needs to flow up to decision makers and down to action takers
equally smoothly. The people involved need to have opportunities to contribute
to the information system as well as make use of the information it produces.
The processes by which data are gathered, collated, organised, stored, analysed,
shared and acted upon need to be logically structured and well organised.
Information systems should support an entire network of education sector
stakeholders, at the level of strategic planning, at the level of information
management, and at the grass-roots operational level. An EMIS should take raw
data about the education system, and through analysis and interpretation, turn it
into useful information that can be acted upon.
Information in its various forms supports strategic planning in three main ways.
First, it acts as a diagnostic tool that forms the basis of plan development.
Secondly, it acts as a monitoring and evaluation mechanism that enables planners
and policy makers to assess how well the ESP is achieving its stated goals. Finally,
information is the means by which education sector needs, achievements and
development can be communicated to the many stakeholders in public education
(Carrizo, Sauvageot & Bella, 2003).
As a diagnostic tool, information enables strategic planners to assess the existing
capacity and characteristics of the education system. This assists with setting

McHugh – Strengthening education management information systems
priorities for future development, identifying areas of greater need or strategic
priority for resource allocation, and developing timelines and action plans for the
phased implementation of the over-arching ESP goals.
As a monitoring and evaluation mechanism, education sector data provide a
means by which progress towards ESP goals can be measured. Effective strategies
can be identified and replicated, unsuccessful interventions can be re-assessed
and redirected.
As a reporting and promotional tool, education sector data enable strategic planners
to inform education sector stakeholders of the state and progress of ESP
implementation. Data can be used to promote and encourage community support
for education institutions. Data also are the means by which accountability and
transparency in education sector spending and resource allocation can be
For information to fulfil all of these important roles effectively, it needs to be
based on good quality data. Quality data can be thought of as having three key
attributes: it is accurate, relevant and timely.
Data accuracy
Education planners need to have confidence in the data they will use to develop
national strategies and action plans. The broader community of education sector
stakeholders needs to feel confident in the data in order to believe that national
strategies are driven by objective diagnostic processes, effective analysis and
monitoring systems, and transparent and accountable decision making. If data
are accurate, comprehensive and truthful, information users will have confidence
in them. Data need to be verified and audited thoroughly, as well as analysed
correctly, in order to be accurate.
Auditing data involves identifying obvious errors, investigating outliers (i.e., results
that seem unusual compared with the rest of the data set) and ensuring the
comprehensiveness of the data collected. It is important not only to audit and
cleanse data but also to make clear and public the processes by which they have
been audited and cleansed. This is especially true in situations where data are

Educational planning in the Pacific
being used to guide resource allocation decisions. If stakeholders, policymakers
and planners are presented with a data set that they can feel confident reflects to
a significant degree the reality of the situation at hand, they will feel happier with
decisions being made based on that data.
Data relevance
The relevance of data to strategic planners will depend on many things. First, in
order to be relevant, data collection, analysis and reporting processes need to
reflect the structure of the national education system in question. While it is
important to be able to feed information and major findings into regional and
international monitoring and reporting fora, ultimately first priority should be
given to making sure that information is gathered and presented in ways that are
relevant to the local context and the priorities of national strategic plans. If an
ESP is in place then indicators of progress towards the achievement of the
central goals of that plan should be used to guide data collection and analysis
processes. If the data being gathered can ultimately be analysed and used to
report against those indicators then the reports produced will be extremely relevant
to strategic planners assessing progress to date and articulating subsequent actions
to be taken.
Ensuring the relevance of data for users is also about tailoring and shaping those
data to suit the information needs of their intended audience. Good quality data
will be grouped, analysed and summarised in different ways so that information
users can quickly get what they need to know from reports. For example, members
of the national government may need only high-level summary reports on data
that have been gathered, whereas school management boards may be more
interested in detailed operational-level information about schools in their local
area. Data relevance as a facet of data quality is therefore also about being able
to provide different types of information to different audiences according to
their needs and interests.
The issue of data relevance is also connected to considerations of who should
have access to what kind of data, and making sure that information goes out
only to relevant audiences. Politically sensitive or personal information should

McHugh – Strengthening education management information systems
not be distributed outside of the MoE without high-level clearance. For example,
personal data about teachers should be kept out of the public eye, and should
have only restricted circulation even at the MoE.
Data timeliness
Timely data are both current and available when needed. Current or up-to-date
information strengthens strategic planning processes because it enables planners
to base future initiatives on what they know to be existing capacity and realities in
the education sector.
Timely data are available when they are needed most—in time for planning and
budgeting processes. National timelines for budget preparation should determine
deadlines for the EMIS process. This means time has to be allowed for data to
be collected and processed well ahead of planning and budgeting processes, so
that the information being fed into those processes is both current and available.
When timely, accurate and relevant data are fed into an EMIS, the people and
processes in place to analyse and interpret those data turn them into information
about the education sector that can be used for strategic planning. The flow of
data and information through an EMIS can be seen as moving through three
main stages: data collection, data treatment, and information production and
dissemination. These three stages work in a cycle through which information
flows promptly to people who need or seek it. Considering each stage in turn
reveals several useful ways in which the cycle can be strengthened to improve
the accuracy, relevance and timeliness of the information that is produced by
the system and fed into policy-making and planning processes.
Stage one: data collection
S y s t e m
(a) People
The people involved in data collection are principally school administrators and
data collectors from the MoE. At the schools themselves data are collected and
aggregated in order to fill in MoE survey forms. At the MoE an equally important

Educational planning in the Pacific
role is played by the people who distribute, gather, collate, file and check surveys.
Data are sometimes also gathered from sources outside of the MoE and school
system, such as other government agencies.
(b) Process
The information exchange at the data collection stage is usually a process of
teachers assessing their own records and then completing a school survey form
based on those records. This generally happens annually, although in the case of
some records, such as attendance data or examination data, collection processes
may occur more frequently. It is also a process of disseminating, collecting and
verifying the return of school survey forms and other data records. For example,
some data may come from sources outside the MoE, such as population data
gathered through a national census, or payroll data gathered from a public service
commission or similar government agency.
Typically an EMIS application is in place at the data collection stage to enable the
gathered data to be entered into a computerised system for collation, analysis
and storage. This is usually a database kept at MoE head office, but can also be
more decentralised, with survey returns being completed and returned by schools
to a Provincial Office or other intermediary branch of the MoE. Many schools
are also using computers to manage and store their own records. A more advanced
EMIS may have online data collection options available.
Strengthening the data collection stage
As data quality at the data collection stage is principally determined by the
information exchange between school record keepers and MoE data collectors,
a practical means of enhancing an EMIS is to find ways of strengthening both
the practice of record keeping at schools and the processes and tools involved in
collecting those records from schools.

McHugh – Strengthening education management information systems
School record keeping
The quality of data collected by MoE survey tools is entirely dependent on the
quality of data kept at schools. A good starting point for improving the data
collection process, and in that case the quality of the data gathered for the purposes
of planning, is therefore to improve record keeping processes at schools themselves.
Record keeping at schools impacts upon data accuracy, timeliness and relevance.
If school records are well organised, the accuracy of survey completion is
improved: surveys are more likely to be filled in completely and without guesswork,
and MoE data auditors will be able to verify the accuracy of school survey
returns quickly by viewing school records. If records are structured along similar
lines to the survey instruments themselves then the available information at the
school will be directly relevant to the information required by surveys. Well
managed school records also assist with timely completion and return of surveys,
because they make it an easy task each year to complete the surveys.
There are several ways to improve record keeping at the school level to ensure
that data collected from schools through annual survey forms and other means
are of good quality. Schools can be provided with a standard tool for collecting
and aggregating school-level data to ensure that enrolment data and teacher
information are captured succinctly and accurately from year to year. The tool
should match the content and structure of the MoE annual school survey form,
so that completing the survey form each year is a simple task of transferring
details from school records to the survey form. Providing such a tool also ensures
that schools can maintain their own record of growth and changes at their
institution over time.
To ensure that record keeping systems developed for schools are used effectively,
it is important to train teachers in their use. Similarly, when the MoE school
survey tool has been designed, a short training course in how to complete it
should accompany its introduction to schools. Training minimises the chance that
the tools will be misinterpreted or misused. Training programmes also create an
opportunity to inform school-level data providers about the purpose of the data
collection process and how the data they provide will be used. This will help to
encourage ownership of the EMIS at the school level and gives data providers at

Educational planning in the Pacific
this level a better idea of the kind of information that can be available to them
should they require it.
If training programmes covering school-level record keeping can be added to the
curriculum at teachers colleges and universities, as well as teacher in-service training
programmes, good record keeping practices in schools will be sustained into the
future. These established training events are also opportunities to demonstrate
how information flows through the national EMIS and how school data are used
to support ESP development and implementation.
Ensuring that information produced by the EMIS feeds back to data providers
also encourages ownership at the school level. When reports are being produced,
sending data in meaningful formats back to the people who provided them in the
first place will strengthen the EMIS in many different ways. First, data providers
will know that they receive returns from the system they contribute to. Data
providers will also be able to see how the information they contribute to the
system is used, and how it is ultimately beneficial to both the system and themselves
to provide quality data. Furthermore, if schools receive reports back from the
MoE they will be better able to start using the information in their own strategic
planning and development processes. A simple fact sheet summarising the school’s
data—in comparison to a local area average for example—will give planners at
this level something to work with and more incentive to contribute to the system.
Reports also can be disseminated to communities via schools. In situations where
community financial support for schools is essential for covering annual operating
costs, providing information to communities is a good way to demonstrate that
community efforts are worthwhile and are making a difference.
Supporting and assisting school record keepers also will enhance the quality and
efficiency of collection processes. School record keepers need to have their time
constraints recognised. If schools can be advised in advance that a survey will
occur during a certain time period, then principals can plan for the event by
making time available and scheduling other events around the survey. Busy times
of the school year, such as beginnings and ends of terms, should be avoided as
far as possible for collection processes. Similarly, school survey forms should be
designed so as to reduce the amount of effort required to complete them.

McHugh – Strengthening education management information systems
Some facts about a school do not change from year to year, such as the size of
the school site or the number of toilet blocks at the school. If known facts about
a school that are unlikely to change annually can be pre-printed into school
survey forms then the person completing the form will not feel that they are
unnecessarily repeating themselves year after year. Recognising the time constraints
on school record keepers and making efforts to reduce the amount of work
required to provide information can encourage full cooperation with data
collection processes because information providers will feel as though their role
and needs have been recognised.
School survey tools
In addition to solid record keeping practices at schools, the data collection process
is dependent upon having effective data collection tools to transfer the information
from its source to data managers and data users. Data collection tools also impact
upon the accuracy, relevance and timeliness of information produced by the
In order to gather accurate and relevant data, data collection tools need to be
designed with the information needs of strategic planners and other education
sector stakeholders in mind. This will ensure that the questions asked on the
surveys will capture all of the information that is needed at the data analysis and
reporting stages of the EMIS cycle.
For survey tools to gather data in a timely fashion, the physical timing of the
survey needs to be considered. If information is required from the system annually
at the time of budget production, then the whole cycle of survey distribution,
collection and analysis needs to be complete before budgeting each year. The
timing when information is needed in order for it to be current and useful should
determine the timing of any regular data collection processes.
It is often difficult to achieve 100% survey returns from schools within the
required timeframe for data collection. MoE data collectors will often have a
difficult time gathering the final few outstanding surveys. Data collectors can be
supported in various ways to assist with achieving 100% survey returns. They
need to have adequate resources to make contact with non-responsive schools

Educational planning in the Pacific
through site visits, radio broadcasts or telecommunications. MoE staff, including
senior officers, can demonstrate their support by encouraging school principals
to comply with data collection efforts whenever opportunities arise through
workshops, in-service and other training programmes or planning sessions. The
requirement to complete annual school surveys can be included in the position
descriptions of school principals or as key performance indicators during
performance review processes. In extreme cases, penalties such as withholding
funds or supplies can be applied to those schools failing to return surveys to
MoE within required timeframes.
Data collection processes conducted by the MoE also should be well coordinated
to ensure that multiple surveys are not being sent out each year by different
divisions, with overlapping areas of inquiry. This is important for eliminating
duplicated effort at the MoE, and is a more efficient way of using resources
allocated to information gathering and research. Coordinating survey efforts
also assists information providers at schools. If head teachers and principals are
receiving several surveys a year from the MoE and other education sector
stakeholders they will probably be less inclined to complete the surveys carefully,
as they will begin to feel that they provide endless amounts of information with
seemingly little result. Similarly, if it is possible to coordinate with other education
sector stakeholders who might be conducting surveys, such as NGOs, donors,
and other government agencies, benefits will be gained through information
sharing and the more efficient use of scarce resources.
To maximise the quality of data gathered during the data collection stage of an
EMIS, it is useful to focus efforts on improving record keeping practices at
schools and ensuring the relevance and effectiveness of MoE survey tools.

McHugh – Strengthening education management information systems
Ways to Strengthen the Function of the EMIS at the Data Collection Stage
• Strengthen record keeping at schools
• Ensure teachers and principals are trained in record keeping
In designing school record keeping tools and MoE data collection tools,
bear in mind the need to make them translate easily to one another in
both structure and content
• Ensure school teachers and principals have input into the design of
both record keeping tools and school census survey tools
• Reduce the repetitiveness of school surveys
• Coordinate research activities at MoE to ensure schools are not receiving
multiple surveys each year with overlapping areas of inquiry
• Schedule survey activities appropriately to ensure the information
gathered will be available when needed, i.e. in time for budgeting
• Ensure data collection tools are asking the right questions to capture
the information needed post-analysis
• Support data collectors in their activities by encouraging timely, accurate
and comprehensive survey returns
• Include the completion of annual school surveys as a position
requirement for school principals or as key performance indicators if a
regular performance review process is in place.

Educational planning in the Pacific
Stage two: data treatment
(a) People
The treatment of data once they have been collected is often performed at the
MoE by data managers, planners, statisticians or researchers.
(b) Process
Raw data need to be treated in order to be useful for planning and budgeting
processes. They need to be summarised, categorised and interpreted. They also
need to be verified and cleansed. Data treatment therefore involves twin processes
of data auditing and analysis.
There is often a computerised system, such as a database, to facilitate data entry
and analysis. Data auditing processes will generally also employ communication
technologies to follow up data providers to verify the information they have
provided. An effective EMIS computer application will also incorporate data
auditing tools to assist with verification and cleansing processes.
Strengthening the data treatment stage
At the data treatment stage data quality is mostly affected by how effectively the
data that have been gathered can be audited and analysed. Strengthening auditing
and analysis processes that take place at the treatment stage will therefore have a
great impact on the usefulness of the information produced by the EMIS for
strategic planning and policy making.
Data auditing
Auditing data is necessary principally for ensuring the accuracy of information
being used for strategic planning, but it can also have an impact upon whether or
not good quality information will be available in time to be useful in planning
processes. Data that are incomplete, inconsistent or contain major errors will

McHugh – Strengthening education management information systems
produce inaccurate information about the realities of the education system.
Auditing data is important to ensure that people can have confidence in the
information they are using to make decisions. The processes of checking the
accuracy of available data can be time consuming so sufficient time needs to be
allowed for it in order for good quality data to be available for policy making,
budgeting and planning cycles.
The more complete a data set the more accurately results will reflect the reality
of the education system. One first important step for cleansing and auditing
information gathered at the data collection stage is therefore to check whether
or not all surveys have been collected and included in the data set that will
undergo analysis. In the case of data collection processes that aim to capture
only a representative sample, it is still important to make sure the targeted sample
area or population was comprehensively surveyed. In particular it is vital that no
major sub-group within the education sector is under-represented.
Data auditing processes should also involve weeding out any obvious errors and
inconsistencies in the data. There are several ways in which this can be achieved.
First, data collection tools themselves can have consistency checks built into
them to verify how accurately they have been completed by schools. For example,
if a school survey includes a table to capture total school enrolment numbers, as
well as tables to capture enrolments by class level, then the total school enrolment
figure should match the combined total enrolments reported at each class level.
A quick and effective means of checking whether surveys have been accurately
completed is therefore to check through similar information reported in different
sections of the survey to see whether or not it is consistent. An effective EMIS
computer application will automate this process so that it can be done instantly
for the whole data set.
Another way to check data for inconsistencies or errors is to show it to someone
who is very familiar with the data in question and would therefore be able to spot
information that is amiss. For example, MoE officers who are particularly closely
involved in a particular sub-sector of the education system, such as primary
schools or schools in a particular province or district, will most likely have used
data from that sub-sector over several years. If those officers have an opportunity

Educational planning in the Pacific
to view data during the auditing processes they may be able to spot unusual findings
straight away, on the basis on their prior experience and knowledge of the sector.
Data auditing is also about finding and investigating outliers, or results that seem
unusual compared to the findings from the rest of the data set. Comparing
results from individual schools against national, provincial or regional averages is
one way to discover any outliers. Data that seem to be completely out of step
with average figures may be incorrect or incomplete. They may have been entered
incorrectly or they may have been reported untruthfully. In some cases outliers
do not indicate inaccurate data, they may simply be exceptional cases. However,
this is in itself useful information to have, as investigating an exceptional case
will sometimes reveal success stories that can be replicated to produce successes
elsewhere. In the opposite scenario, investigating an outlier may reveal severely
disadvantaged groups in the sector that need to receive additional support from
the MoE as a priority.
Data also can be checked for accuracy against other sources as part of the audit
process. For example, teachers’ reported salaries can be cross-checked against
MoE teacher payroll data. Similarly, school site and infrastructure data can be
cross-checked against information available at the national Ministry of Lands or
equivalent agency. Historical data can also be useful for cross-checking data.
Analysis of year-on-year trends may reveal anomalies or strange results occurring
within a certain year that can then be investigated.
It is also a good idea, as part of the auditing process, to institute a practice of
school site visits for a certain percentage of schools each year (selected at random)
to verify that surveys are being completed accurately. The size of the sample of
schools selected randomly for a site visit will depend on financial and human
resources available to the auditing process. Even if it is a small sample, however,
if it is truly randomly selected it will be useful for data auditing in two ways: first,
from the results of the site visits (i.e. the extent to which schools are completing
survey forms honestly and comprehensively), how accurately the rest of the
schools are filling in their surveys can be inferred; secondly, the randomness of
the sample will encourage schools to complete surveys properly in case they are

McHugh – Strengthening education management information systems
To strengthen data auditing processes further, and therefore enhance data quality
for strategic planning purposes, support should be given to the individuals who
carry out those auditing processes. One key way in which data auditors can be
assisted in their role is by ensuring that enough time and resources are allocated
to this vital stage of the EMIS. Data managers will sometimes encounter feelings
of irritation or annoyance from data providers, as they are seen to be ‘checking
up’ on people or re-hashing the data collection process after it was thought to
have been completed. Data managers can therefore be supported in their role by
being given endorsement from senior MoE officers. If data providers know that
the auditing tasks being undertaken by data managers are an important and
necessary part of the information system, they will be more cooperative. Many
education systems have inspectors or advisers who regularly visit schools. If
these professionals are trained and given additional time for visits to verify data,
it will reduce the need for additional resources.
It is not enough just to institute rigorous data auditing and cleansing processes;
the processes employed should also be documented and made public. Adopting
this practice will increase the confidence that people have in the body of data
and therefore encourage them to make use of it.
Data analysis
Data analysis is the part of the data treatment stage that converts raw data into
useful information products. The people, processes and technology involved in
data analysis impact on the accuracy, relevance and timeliness of information in
several ways.
Analysing data involves grouping and summarising data as well as performing
calculations on the data to produce statistics. Data analysis therefore has a huge
impact on the accuracy of reports that are produced based on the gathered data.
If data are analysed incorrectly using incorrect formulas or inconsistent processes
of categorisation, the results that are reported will be flawed.
Data analysis processes will also affect the relevance of information being produced
by ensuring that information reaches strategic planners and other sector
stakeholders in formats that are meaningful and well-targeted for different

Educational planning in the Pacific
audiences. Thus the analyses performed on data need to group and summarise
those data in response to stakeholder information needs.
Thorough analysis of data and its compilation into useful reports and information
sheets take time. If raw data collected from data providers are to be converted
into useful information that can be fed into strategic planning processes then
sufficient time needs to be allowed for analysis to take place. If analysis is rushed,
or skipped, data may be available in time for planning purposes but it will be less
useful to planners if it is has not been structured and organised properly.
When data managers plan how they will go about collecting and then processing
education sector data, they need to know, in order to structure their activities
effectively, what kind of end product is expected from them. It is impossible to
design a survey without knowing what information is required by data users.
Similarly, analysing data and sorting it into categories require first knowing what
kind of reports are going to be useful. In order to support data analysis processes
it is important therefore to provide data managers with clear objectives for those
processes and ensure good understanding of what is required by way of reports
and other information products. This information needs to reach data managers
well in advance of data analysis processes, and ideally should be fed into data
collection processes so that data collection tools can be designed to capture all of
the detail that will be required at the analysis stage in order to produce the
required reports.
Data managers often come to know the education system extremely well as they
are constantly gathering and processing information from its sub-sectors. Frequently
therefore data managers will come across useful, unusual or revealing facts and
results in the data that may not have an obvious use or may not ever be requested.
If data managers can have a clear and non-threatening path by which such items
can be reported on or fed into policy making and planning processes, these novel
findings will be more likely to come to light.

McHugh – Strengthening education management information systems
Similarly, data managers should have input into the creation of major statistical or
information publications, as their experience in processing data will no doubt
mean they are aware of several interesting ways in which the facts can be presented
to illustrate different viewpoints.
At the data analysis stage, in order to enable a more accurate assessment of other
results, it is useful to be able to separate out the results of those surveys that are
likely to skew the data set. For example, if the high schools in a capital city are
considerably larger and better equipped than those anywhere else in the country, it
is useful to be able to display information about those schools separately from the
information about other schools. Otherwise, national average enrolment rates,
teacher qualifications or infrastructure figures could be skewed by the larger
institutions’ results and more interesting pictures about what exists outside of the
capital may be obscured.
An effective EMIS computer application will also make the task of data analysis
easier and more efficient. An EMIS application should be capable of aggregating
and disaggregating data, performing calculations on the data set automatically,
and comparing and cross-analysing schools data with other data from within the
MoE and from other ministries and sector stakeholders. Not all data managers
and data users have a background in statistics, and so a good EMIS computer
application should be able to perform accurate statistical analyses for them.
At the data treatment stage, obtaining quality data that will be useful for strategic
planning purposes essentially involves working with data managers to strengthen
data auditing and analysis processes. In addition to instituting rigorous data auditing
and effective analysis processes, it is important to make sure these processes are
known to information users so that they can feel confident in the information
they are basing their decisions on.

Educational planning in the Pacific
Ways to Strengthen the Function of the EMIS at the Data Treatment Stage
• Audit the data and make public the processes that were used to do so
• Support data managers in their role as data auditors by allocating
appropriate time and resources to the audit process and by making it
clear to data providers that the audit process is as necessary and important
as all other processes in the EMIS
• Ensure data managers are clear on the objectives and requirements of
the analysis being performed
• Ensure correct formulas and processes are used to make calculations
• Have an effective EMIS computer application to conduct analyses.
Stage three: information production and dissemination
(a) People
Information users are a diverse group with diverse needs. This group includes
MoE planners and policy makers, other government agencies, civil society groups,
donor agencies, and data providers and managers. From the MoE perspective
this is the stage of the cycle at which the quality of information available becomes
most important for planning and policy making purposes.
(b) Process
At the information use stage of the EMIS several reporting processes take place.
First there is, internally at the MoE, a process of reporting on data and
disseminating information about the data analysis findings. Secondly, and generally
concurrently, there will be processes of external reporting taking place to
disseminate education sector information more broadly to education sector
stakeholders outside of the MoE, such as other agencies of government, civil
society groups and international donor agencies. Finally, the information use stage
of an EMIS is about feedback cycles, including providing information back to

McHugh – Strengthening education management information systems
data providers and managers, and reviewing and gathering feedback about the
collection and treatment processes in preparation for the next EMIS cycle.
(c) Technology
At the information use stage a range of technologies may be employed to
disseminate the information that has come out of the collection and treatment
stages. The main technology involved will most probably again be the EMIS
computer application that conducts data analysis and then produces reports in a
variety of formats for the diverse audience of education sector stakeholders. Other
technologies that may be involved in information use are communication
technologies, such as radio or television, to disseminate and publicise the
information that has come to light.
Strengthening the information production and dissemination stage
The final stage through which information flows in an EMIS involves the
production and dissemination of findings from data analysis, and acting on that
information as it feeds into planning and policy making processes. Examining the
ways in which reports are produced and information is disseminated at the data
use stage of the EMIS cycle illuminates several means by which the utility of
data can be enhanced for the purposes of strategic planning and policy making.
As noted earlier, relevant reports are reports that meet the various information
needs of the many stakeholders in public education, and reflect the structure,
content and priorities of the national education system and ESP. Reports will
generally be accurate if they have been based on well audited data that have been
analysed correctly. Ensuring the timely availability of reports supports strategic
planning and so reporting processes need to be scheduled ahead of major planning
and policy making cycles.
To improve the usefulness of reporting outputs for strategic planning purposes,
it is important to make sure that a wide range of reports is available to information
users in formats that target their particular information needs. Annual statistics
year books provide a good overview of the whole education system but this should

Educational planning in the Pacific
not be the only way in which education sector data are available. Producing a suite
of reports on the education system that might include, for example, summary fact
sheets, detailed reports on different regions within the country, or different levels
within the education system, maps, and operational level reports for individual
schools and communities, will enhance the relevance to stakeholders of information
produced by the EMIS.
It is also a good idea to make sure that information presented in reports is
accompanied by interpretive remarks and explanatory notes. This will minimise
the extent to which information that is presented is misinterpreted by information
users who are unfamiliar with education sector data, and make it easier for
information users to understand quickly the implications of the data they are
being shown.
It is also important to remember at the reporting stage that information users
will have both predictable and ad hoc information needs. It is vital therefore to
have flexibility in reporting systems so that non-routine information requests can
be managed or dealt with as well as more routine enquiries. Flexibility is also
important for ensuring that reporting tools can grow and change with the education
system, and reflect shifting priorities that may emerge from reviews of ESP
implementation progress.
Similarly, information users should have the opportunity to make suggestions
for and provide feedback on reports that are produced by the EMIS, to provide
further assurance of the relevance of those reports to sector stakeholders.
Reviewing reporting processes to incorporate stakeholder feedback will also reveal
which reports are in high demand, and which, if any, are unused. Unused reports
may be unnecessary, or may not be presenting information in relevant formats.
They may be reports that are available but are not acted upon effectively.
Conducting stakeholder feedback sessions and reviews of information usage
can help to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of report production.
Information dissemination
People will need to know what information is available in order to know what they
can ask for. If an effective EMIS has not been in place before, or has not been

McHugh – Strengthening education management information systems
around for very long, it is likely that information users are used to having to make
decisions based on intuition and experience. A well-timed launch or publicity event
to encourage people to make use of the information available will encourage a
culture of decision making based on EMIS information outputs. Inviting
stakeholders to make use of information also encourages information sharing
such that when education data need to be cross-referenced against other sources,
those sources may be more amenable to sharing their data.
The flow of communication through an EMIS will also be more effective if systems
are in place to ensure that relevant information gets to the right people. On the
one hand this means creating communication channels between data managers
and information users to ensure people know when and how to obtain the
information they want. On the other hand it means keeping private and secure
any sensitive or personal information that is not meant for public consumption.
Putting in place clear procedures for giving out information will ensure that the
right information gets to the right people when they need it and when it is
appropriate for them to have it.
Ways to Strengthen an EMIS at the Information Production
and Dissemination Stage

• Promote availability of information and the nature of information
• Target reports and other information to the audience
• Ensure data users have opportunity to provide feedback on information
provided and feed their information requirements into the data collection
and analysis stages
• Periodically review the reporting process to identify frequently used and
unused reports
• Ensure a computerised EMIS includes flexible reporting formats
• Make use of available communication technologies to disseminate key
facts more widely
• Restrict access to private or sensitive information.

Educational planning in the Pacific
Reduced to its most basic elements, education strategic planning consists of an
analysis of the present state of the sector, the articulation of a vision for the
future of the sector, and the development of operational plans towards the
achievement of the future vision. Through its impacts on national human resource
development, an ESP will have implications beyond just the education sector.
A well functioning EMIS will support strategic planning by ensuring that analysis
of the present state, and operational plans to guide the future development, of
the education sector are based on timely, accurate and relevant information
about the education sector. To improve data quality for planning purposes, it is
useful to consider the various stages through which information flows in an
EMIS, from the perspective of its human elements, processes and technology,
to determine means of strengthening various aspects to improve the information
An EMIS is an information system and therefore should facilitate better
communication and information dissemination within the education sector. In an
effective information system, data collection, analysis and reporting processes
work in a cycle to produce information in response to the needs of various
stakeholders. The cycle needs to create opportunities for input by stakeholders,
from data providers to strategic planners. The people who contribute to the
system should also be able to benefit from the information it produces. The
processes involved in capturing raw data and turning them into useful information
for strategic planning should be developed with the needs and constraints of the
people involved at each stage in mind.

Fasi – The role of assessment
The role of assessment
in eductional planning
‘Uhila Fasi
In order to understand the role of assessment in educational planning, it is
important that planners first understand the principles of assessment and how
assessment data and information are obtained. They have to understand the
processes involved in assessment as well as the various assessment activities and
their characteristics, and how they are related to the data and information that
are released for public consumption. They must look behind the data and they
must understand, or at least be aware of, the different stages the data went
through before assuming their final form as information. Then, and only then,
will planners be able to make informed, valid and meaningful interpretations of
the information that subsequently lead to good decision making and planning.
This chapter is in two parts. The first focuses on assessment and planning, how
they are related and how they fit in education. The challenges education faces
today in relation to assessment and planning will be discussed and an attempt will
be made to address the current situation in the Pacific region. The second part
deals with examination marks. The meaning(s) of the ‘mark’ awarded at the end
of a course will be discussed and analysed in order to assist educational planners
in the interpretation and usage of examination and other assessment information.

Educational planning in the Pacific
Assessment and planning
In order to appreciate fully the relationship between educational planning and
assessment, we should be fully aware of the reasons why we plan and why we
assess. If we know the reasons why we plan, then we should be in a better
position to find ways to make our plans effective and our objectives achievable.
Similarly, knowing the reasons why we assess gives us a better understanding of
the principles of assessment and the various ways and techniques of assessment.
Further, planners will appreciate the meanings behind the marks and results
awarded at the end of the course, and thus they will be assisted by them in
making informed decisions during the planning process.
Why do we plan?
In all education systems, there is a continuous effort to improve the quality of
education. There is an ongoing drive to devise educational programmes at all
levels to meet the rising demands for relevant education and to combat
contemporary problems that threaten the future livelihoods of school-age citizens.
Appropriate and effective educational programmes are also desperately needed
to address social, economic, moral and spiritual issues that are so prevalent in all
Pacific island nations today.
Careful and effective planning is therefore necessary to improve the quality of
education. Planning also is needed to monitor educational quality. Good planning
practices will enable the system to detect whether the standard of education, as
shown by various indicators, has improved, has deteriorated, or is not changing
at all. Governments view the performance of their education systems as strategic
to economic and social development. As such, planning is essential for the process
of putting relevant educational programmes in place with the goal of improving
quality. With careful and proper planning, quality can be achieved as well as
being monitored to ensure that it is maintained.
Today, there is a growing demand from all sectors of society for increased
monitoring and accountability to improve educational quality. People need to
know how well their children are doing and how well schools and systems are
doing in achieving anticipated educational outcomes. Students’ achievements need
to be considered within the context in which learning takes place, in order to

Fasi – The role of assessment
provide a fuller picture and make more sense of the multitude of factors that
influence the quality of education. Educational indicators need to be identified
and validated before information pertaining to educational quality can be gathered
and analysed. Students’ achievements and levels of performance are the chief
indicators of educational quality, and the way they have been used, in the form
of assessment results, has been the subject of public debates and controversy.
Since assessment provides the vehicle for measuring and monitoring student
achievement, it is vital that any planning on matters relating to quality of education
should incorporate the data and findings revealed by assessment.
This leaves planners with challenges in their endeavour to capture educational
quality. Questions that planners may need to address include: What does quality
education mean? What do we need to do to improve the quality of education?
How do we monitor the quality of education over time?
Why do we assess?
The traditional role of assessment is to measure students’ achievements in terms
of the curriculum requirements, mainly for the purposes of ranking and selection.
Assessment has been known as one area of education that is resistant to change
because it has always been difficult to move away from its traditional roles. The
current global trend is towards an approach where assessment is becoming more
and more an integral part of the teaching–learning process. This entails significant
changes not only in the way in which the assessment process is carried out but
also in the way the results are being used.
An impact of the global movement is the redefinition of the purpose of
assessment as ‘assessment for learning’ rather than the traditional purposes of
‘assessment of learning’ and ‘assessment for ranking’. The emphasis here is more
on using the assessment information to improve student learning, rather than to
rank and discriminate between students.
It is imperative that planners and decision-makers are fully conversant with the
assessment process and the roles of assessment. They need to know and
understand what is involved and what the various components of the assessment
data represent. The formative and summative certification and quality control

Educational planning in the Pacific
roles of assessment need to be understood, to avoid using the wrong data for the
wrong purposes, which may provide misleading information not only to parents
and other users of assessment results, but also to planners. Assessment has the
dual role of providing evidence about the status of student learning and acting
as a regulatory process with the purpose of informing stakeholders about how
well students learn and how effectively teachers teach (Pongi, 2004).
Formative assessment provides feedback to students and teachers about ongoing
progress in learning. Results are used for improving teaching and learning either
through modifications to the teaching practice and programmes or through some
intervention measures to facilitate and enhance the learning capability of the
learners. Summative assessment is used when there is a need to provide summaries
of the nature and level of students’ achievements at various points in their
schooling. This usually takes place at the end of a course of study or when the
students leave school. The certification role of assessment involves providing a
summary of students’ achievements for the purpose of selection and qualification
(Pongi, 2004). Assessment also provides information and evidence for judging
the effectiveness of schools and of the system as a whole. This way, it acts as a
quality control mechanism.
In most education systems the summative and certification roles are dominant.
This is to be expected of systems where opportunities are limited and selection
and screening for various purposes play major roles in determining the
effectiveness of the functions of the system. Formative assessment is not
systematically practised, in the sense that most systems have not recognised and
implemented it nationally but still adhere to summation and certification as the
official evidence of education. With the recent advent of assessment for learning
there are indications that formative assessment will be widely accepted as a more
reliable and valid way of recognising students’ achievements as well as improving
the quality of education. Central to all education systems are its students, and the
state of any system is reflected in the quality of students it produces. The role of
assessment therefore in the ‘production’ of students is of utmost importance.
This, then, is the source of the need to be cognisant of assessment processes and
the principles represented by different assessment data.

Fasi – The role of assessment
It would make the job of education systems, and particularly of educational
planners, much easier if there were clear objectives about what to plan for. Planners
also need to know whether their objectives are achieved. If quality education is
the objective, and improvement in school quality is a necessary component of
development strategies for the future, then obviously the indicators of such
planning are the students, teachers, schools, and the system as a whole. Traditionally,
a good student is defined as one who does a good job at high stakes examinations.
A good teacher is someone who can teach students to do a good job in these
examinations. A good school is one with a high ‘pass’ rate at high stakes
examinations, and a good system is one that can do a good job in screening people.
These definitions have influenced the direction of educational planning for a long
time. Improving pass rates and the selection of a small proportion of the student
population to elite educational institutions continue to be the ultimate goal of
planning. Little consideration is given either to the actual learning processes or to
the quality of teaching. Good teachers are supposed to produce good examination
results, and planning favours schools with high pass rates. The current global drive
to develop forms of assessment for learning that focus on the ongoing monitoring
of student learning in order to address their weaknesses, nurture their strengths,
and enhance the teaching–learning processes in a formative way, is an area that
planners should directly address.
Assessment and quality education
It is evident that the quality of education in the region is a concern despite
efforts at international and regional levels to address the issues associated with
educational quality improvement. It is not always easy to identify what the
problems are, and unless they are identified it would be almost impossible to
come up with solutions. There is therefore a need for education systems and
planners in the region to take heed and come up with ways of identifying key
problem areas as well as realistic strategies to address them.
Assessment is one mechanism used in monitoring the quality of education. But
the success of such monitoring attempts depends largely on what we mean by
‘quality’. Quality needs to be clearly defined and its characteristics identified. Student

Educational planning in the Pacific
achievement is a key indicator of educational quality, and as such, priority should
be given to how well students perform and how effective schools and systems are
in achieving intended outcomes. Student achievement should be considered in the
context of the environment in which learning takes place. The community, the
nature and resources of the school, the teachers, the learning resources, the
curriculum and support, and teaching methodologies are some of the contextual
elements that should be considered when monitoring and assessing students’
Performance in high stakes examinations is often taken as an indication of quality.
But this should not be confused with real performance. Real performance is the
actual normal everyday performance of the student. The weaknesses and strengths
elicited through formative activities reveal the true level and standard of
performance as opposed to the ‘quick fix’ results obtained in high stakes
examinations. In this way, students can be assisted and problems remedied
according to the outcomes of the assessment activities. Assessment provides the
mechanisms and platform for measuring and monitoring student achievement
over time. To understand and evaluate the quality of education, we need not
only quantitative measures but also a more vivid picture of the unique and
complex character of the educational systems.
Planners therefore need to come up with specifics on how to improve or achieve
quality, and to propose initiatives that would enable the issue of educational
quality to be measured and monitored solely for the purpose of improvement.
Assessment, when implemented properly, could provide such initiatives by focusing
on a student’s true performance and how to improve learning and teaching rather
than on the politics of ranking and comparing relative performance of students,
schools and systems. Such traditional, narrow approaches to assessment are still
the stumbling blocks to effective planning. The misconception that the pass rate
in high stakes examinations reflects quality is another old-fashioned belief that
contributes to the continuing resistance of some people to the new approaches
in assessment.
Proponents of the modern view of assessment, a view that all planners should
seriously consider, advocate that assessment is an integral part of the teaching–

Fasi – The role of assessment
learning process where the emphasis is on using assessment information to improve
student learning. It is also a regulatory process to inform and assure stakeholders
of how well students learn and teachers teach. The information provided by
assessment is crucial in developing strategies to improve the quality of educational
programmes, and hence the quality of education as a whole.
The current situation in the Pacific region
The following discussion provides a summary of the current situation in the
region as far as assessment, its roles and its usages are concerned. First, there is
limited information on the quality of student learning achieved by both teachers
and the education system in general. This leads to a lack of understanding of the
link between assessment and better learning, particularly on the part of teachers,
who may be unaware of the specific weaknesses and strengths of students in
relation to the expectations of the curriculum.
Secondly, education authorities lack information on teaching and learning in the
early years. This has led to the absence of established strategies to monitor
students’ achievements throughout primary schools.
Moreover, the heavy emphasis on high-stake examinations encourages rote learning
of examinable areas at the expense of other curriculum areas. Because teachers
are expected to prepare students for these examinations, there is little concern
with whether or not ‘deep’ or ‘real’ learning has taken place in the process.
Matching what students have achieved and what the curriculum expects is also a
problem. Many students fail to achieve the outcomes specified in the curriculum.
And yet they are allowed to be socially promoted by being moved up the ladder
without achieving the curriculum outcomes.
A public perception that is difficult to dislodge is the perception that assessment
is a process for ranking students to facilitate selection. Related to this is the
misconception that the results of students’ performance in high-stake examinations
are a good indicator of the standard of the education system and the quality of

Educational planning in the Pacific
Planners and educational authorities therefore need to look for alternatives to
high stakes examinations and focus on quality of students’ true performances
rather than relative performance. They need to realise that assessment has the
ultimate purpose of improving learning and teaching, and hence the quality of
education. There is also a need to understand which students learn best under
what conditions, and what problems they have and in what area. The question to
ask is ‘what is better’ rather than ‘who is better’. Assessment should be viewed as
providing information for monitoring how changes to any input in the education
system affect student achievement and performance. This needs improving
expertise in assessment to provide valid and reliable information about student
achievement. Without expertise, teachers and planners will continue to use the
wrong methods and data for the wrong purpose.
Examination marks: what is behind the numbers?
Education planners and decision makers base their work on the final results
reported when the examination results are released. But these marks, in numerical
form or letter grades, are produced through a process intended for national or
regional (or international) ranking and selection, and therefore the marks have
gone through processes designed for those purposes. They reveal nothing about
the quality of education or the true performance of students or the actual quality
of learning and teaching. Planners and policy makers base their decisions at the
national and regional/international levels of reporting. What they need to do in
order to make valid and appropriate planning decisions is to interrogate and
investigate those marks to reveal the true performance of students. They need
to know something about the quality of the data they are using.
They should first ask questions about the validity and reliability of the data.
They need also to ensure that the data are accurate and relevant to their planning
tasks, which means they have to avoid using data produced for different purposes.
If they are planning for quality education, they should use data produced for
that purpose, and not results produced for ranking, selection or any other purpose.
To do this, they need to go down to the school level, the class level and to the
individual student level. This is where formative assessment and assessment for
learning come in. The data from such assessments are valid, reliable, accurate
and relevant as far as true performance is concerned.

Fasi – The role of assessment
Figure 8.1 shows the levels of reporting that planners need to be aware of when
collecting data.
Figure 8.1 Levels of mark reporting
regional / international
In figure 8.1, the data available for planners are in the upper box. The levels in the
lower box are those from which they need to obtain data in order to make informed,
relevant, valid and reliable decisions and planning.
Consider the following situations:
Situation 1 The cut-off mark for entrance to a certain prominent high school
increased from 315/400 in 2002 to 356/400 in 2003.
Situation 2 The overall mean for Mathematics in the School Certificate
examination has dropped from 35 to 31.
Situation 3 The percentage of students ‘passing’ the national examination
increased from 25% in 2001 to 35% in 2002.
Situation 4 The top student this year in the national examination is from
School X, and his total mark is 489/500. Last year the top student
was from School Y, and her total mark was 470/500.

Educational planning in the Pacific
The situations above were taken from real examination results. The conclusions
drawn by decision makers were as follows:
Situation 1 The quality of primary education has improved.
Situation 2 Students these days have poor mathematical abilities.
Situation 3 This is a reflection of the improvement in teachers’
performance and qualifications.
Situation 4 The quality of education has improved, and School X
is a better school than School Y.
These examples demonstrate the danger of drawing conclusions from processed
assessment data contained in official reports, and the myths that result from
such unvalidated interpretations. Take Situation 1 for example. The purpose of
the examination was for ranking and selection, and marks are good only for
those purposes. The increase in the cut-off mark could be attributed to any
number of reasons. Two obvious reasons are: the school may have reduced its
intake, or the examination papers may have been easier. But the figures in the
official reports say nothing about these factors.
Similar arguments can be made about Situation 2. One cannot justifiably say
anything about the mathematical abilities of students without having in-depth
knowledge and understanding of the learning and teaching processes that actually
went on in the classroom. The drop in overall mean could have been a result of
a faulty examination paper, in which case students were not at fault. Alternatively,
it could have been an after-effect of social promotion that resulted in a very
bottom-heavy cohort that pulled down the mean. There are many more possible
causes, but they are all masked by the single mark or grade reported at the end,
and can only be unmasked by tracking the marks down to school and individual
The conclusions for Situations 3 and 4 are clear cases of unsubstantiated,
unreliable, invalid and misleading statements. A ‘pass’ is determined by the
authorities. Marks have been subjected to multiple stages of manipulation, and
therefore have been transformed substantially from their original form. The

Fasi – The role of assessment
increase in pass rate is a function of the selection and ranking processes, and not
of the quality of teaching.
In Situation 4, the performance of a single student cannot be used to make
conclusions about a whole school or a whole system. But these were what decision-
makers said and what planners used. These erroneous and uninformed actions
give more reasons to interrogate and analyse the data presented in official reports
before using them for decision-making purposes. It is equally important that
relevant information is made available before further decisions are made.
The functions and purposes of assessment need to be understood by educational
planners. The processes involved and the characteristics of assessment data should
also be considered before decisions are made. They must ensure that the data
and information are real, valid, relevant and reliable. The purpose for which the
marks are to be used must be clearly defined, and the appropriate form of the
mark used. Planners must look behind the data in official reports to obtain the
most appropriate information for their tasks at hand. When higher quality data
are used, the quality of planning will improve, resulting in education of a higher
quality and citizens of an enriched standard.

Educational planning in the Pacific
Educational planning in the Pacific
a way forward
Seu‘ula Johansson Fua
So, what does it all mean then? How do we move the discussion forward from
conceptualising a Pacific way of planning to operationalising the principles of
planning, the benchmarks, and the lessons learnt from the case studies? And how
do we maximise data utilisation in educational planning? Where do we go from
This book has reviewed several key ideas about educational planning in the Pacific.
The intention has been to present a Pacific way of planning in education that will
bring together what is best of Pacific and global practices. Throughout this exercise
the premise has always been that Pacific values are central to the process of
educational planning. Without this, educational planning in the Pacific will remain
foreign and will fail to benefit children of the Pacific—who, after all, are intended
to be the first rank of beneficiaries.

Fua – A way forward
What does it all mean?
In the opening chapters Bob Teasdale and Priscilla Puamau presented exciting
and thought provoking ideas about educational planning in the Pacific. Reflections
brought forward in these two chapters question old notions of planning and
assumptions about existing educational structures.
‘A Sea of Islands’
Bob Teasdale entreats a careful and critical questioning of colonial assumptions
about the Pacific and its educational needs. He recalls Hau‘ofa’s (1993) concept
of ‘a sea of islands’ emphasising a holistic approach to thinking about Pacific
people and their endeavour to share the ocean that is within—‘Oceania is us. We
are the sea, we are the ocean’ (ibid.: 16)— the ocean within us. And the ocean that
is of them—‘people from the sea, kakai mei tahi’ (ibid.: 8)—people of the ocean.
This concept of a ‘sea of islands’ brings to light several of the key ideas that the
PRIDE Project wishes to encourage in our thinking about educational planning
in the Pacific. In thinking about theocean within us’ it recognises Pacific people’s
strong sense of spirituality, sense of belonging and sense of connectedness with
nature. These beliefs, particularly spirituality and connectedness to nature (ocean
and land), are the core of Pacific people’s identities. It means that Pacific people
through their identification with nature are connected to their ancestors who
have come before them and their children who will come after them. This sense
of identification reflects a way of thinking that is interconnected rather than
fragmented, where knowledge is passed on from one generation to another. And
in the process of transmission, knowledge evolves, thereby recognising each
generation’s contribution to weaving this Pacific mat of knowledge. In such a
way of thinking there is recognition of a unity of knowledge. This way of thinking
is broadened by the subsequent concept of ‘people of the ocean’. The strong sense
of connectedness to nature is enlarged to include a sense of connectedness to all
other people who share the same ocean. It is an engulfing and inclusive belief
about being, and about being with others. It recognises the centrality, for Pacific
people, of social relationships. Such social relationships exhibit all that is significant
to Pacific cultures—predominantly values of respect and reciprocity.

Educational planning in the Pacific
When Bob Teasdale brings to mind Hau‘ofa’s concept of our ‘sea of islands’ he
argues for Pacific educational planners to centre their planning in Pacific
epistemologies—Pacific ways of thinking and knowing. Interestingly enough, as
he points out, current global thinking is increasingly being driven by post-
structuralism and post modernism. A Pacific way of thinking recognises the
relativity of knowledge, the reality of the spirituality, and more holistic and
integrated ways of thinking and knowing. Similar concepts can be identified in
Hau‘ofa’s ‘sea of islands’ and it is within this point of overlap that staff of the
PRIDE Project hope that educational planners may construct a Pacific way of
planning that captures the essence of Pacific core values and best practices that
can be integrated with current global thinking.
Principles and benchmarks
To begin this obviously challenging task, participants from 15 Pacific countries
came together during PRIDE’s first regional workshop in Lautoka to work on
principles they thought would be pertinent to educational planning in the Pacific.
Additionally, they finalised a list of draft benchmarks that they agreed were
essential to constructing strategic plans for Pacific education systems.
Priscilla Puamau in her chapter presents a comprehensive summary of agreed
principles of planning, as well as the benchmarks constructed during the workshop.
I will not dwell much on this list as she has already raised several thought provoking
questions regarding assumptions about the consultation process, use of foreign
consultants and donor assistance. However, I would like to draw attention to
several key principles of planning—namely values, vision and leadership—
comment on what they mean, and suggest implications for educational planners
to ponder upon.
Much discussion has centred on principles of planning and Pacific values, but
what do values mean? Why is it important that the principles of planning be
based on Pacific values? Values and principles are concerned with people’s belief
systems, cultural identities, ideas and behaviours that are intrinsically desirable.
While the subject of human values is often left to theologians and philosophers

Fua – A way forward
to ponder, it exists within every realm of our daily lives. Our values define how we
see the world, how we relate to those around us, and how we perceive ourselves in
our various social roles. Subsequently, certain values come to define social, political
and economical structures in our broader societies. Education is one such
organisation that is loaded with values, from its organisational structures, to its
classroom practices, to the curriculum that we teach our children.
It has been identified in chapter 3 that such values as respect, reciprocity,
spirituality, importance of land, environmental and social sustainability,
relationships, participation/consultation, capacity building, resourcefulness,
accountability, practical and context-specific training, consensus, ownership and
good leadership are pertinent to educational planning in the Pacific. The list may
seem exhaustive, but the components vary from personal and social values such
as respect and spirituality to more organisational values such as accountability
and capacity building. Similarly, the list includes traditional Pacific core values
such as respect and reciprocity as well as emerging global values such as
sustainability and accountability.
Taufe‘ulungaki (2002: 19) argues that one of the core challenges for Pacific
education today is to clarify:
[t]he value systems which underpin political, economic, educational and civil
institutions, which largely determine their visions, structures, processes,
programmes and outcomes.
The value systems that have come to define education in the Pacific are based
largely on western philosophies of education. The value dissonance that exists
between western-derived values in our educational structures and our Pacific
social values continues to foster inequalities and marginalisation in our society.
Research recently conducted on the decision-making processes of Tongan
principals highlights the value dissonance that exists between organisational policies
and those espoused by the community (Fua, 2001). Taufe‘ulungaki (2002) argues
that this value dissonance needs to be resolved. She points out that continued
efforts to introduce good governance and better accountability, to create more

Educational planning in the Pacific
‘democratic’ organisations, to ensure sustainability and more resources, and to
develop appropriate policy frameworks, will remain ineffective, as these activities
are simply perpetuating the very system they try to improve.
It is with this in mind that, as educational planners and policy makers, we come to
think more critically about the values that underpin our educational structures,
processes and programmes.
There is an understanding that Pacific cultures to a large extent share common
core values. Such core values include relationships, respect, reciprocity,
participation, resourcefulness and the value of land. There is also the
understanding that while Pacific people share common core values, there is
variation in how each value is espoused through each culture. What is not always
recognisable, however, is that there are value disparities within cultures and,
more importantly for this discussion, there is divergence between societal values
and organisational values. Findings from recent research on educational
administration in Tonga illustrate tensions and conflicts that are directly caused
by the value differences that often go undetected in our Pacific organisations (Fua,
2001; 2003). There is a need for further articulation of espoused social values and
values within educational organisations. Further to this, it is essential to recognise
that in any effort to align organisational values with societal values, the very process
of value transfer should be reflective of Pacific epistemologies.
Vision and leadership
What is a vision worth pursuing? King Taufa‘ahau Tupou I of Tonga once said
that his ‘people will perish for the lack of knowledge’. Tupou I envisioned a
learned people for his country. Over a century later, Tonga has successfully
entrenched formal learning into its culture. Schooling has become an intrinsic
value in Tongan society. Parents will sacrifice meagre financial resources to send
their sons and daughters to the best schools in Tonga and to overseas universities
to gain ‘ilo (knowledge) and become poto (skilled). King Tupou I’s vision has been

Fua – A way forward
Undoubtedly, others will ask ‘what type of knowledge has been achieved?’ And ‘at
what socio-economic and political cost?’ Without doubt, there have been numerous
problems along the way within the education system as well as in communities.
Issues of assessment, curriculum, teacher education, administration, financing and
others abound. But, at the end of the day, Tongans have cultivated a desire for ‘ilo
and to be poto.
Priscilla Puamau, in her chapter, listed ‘Strong, objective and visionary leadership’
as one of the 12 principles of planning put forward by PRIDE participants.
Participants at the Lautoka workshop recognised the importance of leadership
to the process of planning and consequently the role that leadership plays inthe
shaping of a vision for the organisation’. However, the principle of visionary
leadership did not transfer over to the benchmarks listed in Puamau’s chapter.
There are several reasons why visionary leadership should be further articulated
and made deliberately apparent within any form of strategic planning.
Much of the literature on visionary leadership can be traced back to the ‘Effective
Schools Movement’ in the 1970s. The argument behind this movement is that
much of a school’s success depends on the principal’s leadership and attitudes
about learning. Recent research, however, brings the focus to the visionary
attributes of leaders and describes them as facilitators of the school community’s
‘collective vision’ (Rossow & Warner, 2000: 11). Visionary leadership is concerned
with recognising and reflecting on the challenges of organisational change as well
as embracing a learning culture. Visionary leadership is about critical reflection
on what is real and projecting a better reality. Crucial to this type of leadership is
the notion that the leader possesses a clear philosophical educational platform
(Rossow & Warner, 2000). The visionary leader must be clear about his/her
personal and organisational vision, without which visionary leadership cannot be
Is this the type of educational leadership we envision for our Pacific schools? If
this was what we meant by ‘visionary leadership’ then we need to clarify what are
our schools’ collective visions. The first step to such a task would then be for
educational leaders to clarify their own personal vision and subsequently an
organisational vision for the various organisations in their education system.

Educational planning in the Pacific
Vision building is an essential task to claiming ownership of any strategic plan. It
involves not only the recognition of personal and organisational vision but also
the collective vision of the entire community that has vested interests in the school.
Central to vision building is consultation with stakeholders both within and
surrounding the organisation. Nowhere else in the process of strategic planning is
consultation more important than in the process of vision-building. When
stakeholders—internal and external—recognise the vision as part of what they
desire, then ownership of the plan begins to take place. When parents are convinced
of the direction taken in their children’s education, they will support the plan at
whatever cost.
However, the failure to build a clear collective vision further perpetuates one of
the key struggles for Pacific education—‘lack of ownership by Pacific people of
the formal education process’ and consequently the ‘lack of a clearly articulated
vision for Pacific people’ (Taufe‘ulungaki, 2002: 2). Taufe‘ulungaki goes on to
argue that:
because they [Pacific people] do not own the process, educational visions and
goals tended to be defined by external sources, as is the case today and has been
since the introduction of formal education. (2002: 2)
If we as educators are serious about taking ownership of our education systems
as well as our strategic plans, we need to have a clearly articulated vision for our
children and their learning in the Pacific.
Added to this, we also need to have a clear articulation of what educational
leadership means for us in the Pacific. If we accept that vision building is central
to ownership of a strategic plan, then I would argue that leadership is the essential
criterion for the achievement of the plan. There are several reasons why we
should be more earnest in our endeavour to be clear in our definition of
educational leadership for the Pacific.
First is our context for educational leadership. Most descriptive of our times is
the demand for change—social, political and economic—from local, regional
and global forces. The context within which educational leadership is being practised

Fua – A way forward
is, more than ever before, in a constant state of flux. The list of benchmarks and
principles that has been constructed for strategic educational planning in the Pacific
clearly reflects the various forces that are demanding our attention, especially the
need to build pride in cultural identity while striving to teach skills for life and
work in a global world.
On another front there is the push to align education strategic plans with national
development plans as well as with regional and international conventions such as
Education for All (EFA) and Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). There is
also the need for capacity building while remaining fully cognisant of the limited
budgets of local Ministries of Education, when their priorities are often far
removed from the professional development of current staff. The continuing
brain drain of capable teachers to other shores also is a continuing challenge.
Similarly, there is the push for access and equity for special needs students as
well as other minority groups, yet the reality is that even with the current school
population, solutions to issues of access and equity have yet to be fully realised.
As educators we do not have to analyse the list of principles, nor the benchmarks
we have constructed, to know the reality of our schools. Parents are demanding
greater involvement in the education of their children. With increasing school
fees, parents are also demanding an education that is relevant and worth their
investment. Community expectations are also changing, demanding greater moral
leadership from teachers and principals. Correspondingly, the nature of teaching
and educational administration are also changing: while Ministries of Education
are demanding greater ‘professionalism’ from teachers, incentives such as salary
and other benefits are not at all forthcoming (Fua, 2003). And at the centre of all
these concerns are the students. The students of today’s Pacific schools are not
the same as those of 10 or 20 years ago. Television, internet, media, travel, satellite
channels and a whole host of other global influences are all competing highly
successfully with parents and teachers for the attention of our children and youth.
For educational leadership to be contextual to the Pacific, the changing social,
economic and political dimensions of our educational organisations and our
schools need to be understood. The changing nature of the educational terrain
demands that educational leaders—more than ever before—be convinced of their

Educational planning in the Pacific
vision and their leadership. It is the commitment of Pacific educational leaders to
their vision that will mediate global influence and protect local cultures in our
schools. In today’s schools, educational leaders have to rise to the challenge and be
the ‘gate keepers’ of our children’s futures.
Secondly, there is an urgent need for the development of Pacific educational
leadership. Our educational leaders can no longer stand submissively while foreign
consultants come and go, nor can they allow donor agencies to continue directing
the next agenda. Neither can they just ‘talanoa’ by sitting around the kava bowl
and paying lip service to ‘doing it the Pacific way’. Our educational leaders have
to know more about the changing educational terrain at all levels, local, regional
and global.
We can begin by asking what we mean by Pacific educational leadership. In my
view it is fundamentally about relationships. Results from a recent study on Tongan
educational leadership showed that:
Principals’ conceptualisations of educational leadership are not only defined by their
past socialisation processes but also in response to contemporary social and economical
changes within Tongan society. Results of the study show that incumbent principals
are changing their leadership practices, although slowly; there are changes in
relationships with stakeholders and in decision-making processes . . . principals are
recognising that it is within their relationships with stakeholders that they can draw
strength to influence their leadership practices. (Fua, 2003: 353)
If we look back at the values that have been identified as those of the Pacific, we
can clearly identify the centrality of ‘relationships’ to Pacific society. Similarly, if
we recall Hau‘ofa’s (1993) ‘sea of islands’ it likewise speaks of the importance of
relationships for Pacific people. Perhaps, then, in our attempt to define Pacific
educational leadership, be it at school or Ministry level, we may begin by thinking
about relationships of principals and leaders with students, teachers, parents and
other stakeholders.
Without doubt, much thinking and research need to go into finding
conceptualisations and practices for Pacific educational leadership. Pacific
academics must work closely with practitioners to develop this field. Areas such
as problem solving, decision-making processes, communication strategies and

Fua – A way forward
relationship building demand all of our attention. Through the development of
Pacific educational leadership, we will know more about leadership behaviour and,
more importantly, gain significant insight into the mind of the Pacific educational
leader. By taking a cognitive perspective to studying educational leadership in the
Pacific, we will gain an understanding of why educational leaders make certain
choices and use particular decision-making processes, and how they process
information. Additionally, from a cultural perspective, we can gain greater insight
into the tensions that exist within our education systems, tensions that reflect our
struggle to merge local realities with global demands. By developing educational
leadership through cultural perspectives we will also know more about the use of
Pacific values and epistemologies that will guide our schools. I strongly believe
that by equipping our educational leaders with the ‘right’ tools, we will be putting
them in a better position to meet local demands as well as respond to the onslaught
of globalisation.
From conceptualisation to operationalisation
There is a saying in Tonga: koe lau pe ia (it is just talk). How do we move from just
talking about strategic plans to making them a reality? How do we move from
conceptualisation to operationalisation of Pacific educational strategic plans? How
do we ensure that our plans are reflective of the Pacific and that they are not just
another imported crate of cheese from New Zealand, Australia or Europe?
Fiji and Papua New Guinea Case Studies
Earlier chapters by Epeli Tokai and Uke Kombra present case studies of recent
educational planning in Fiji and Papua New Guinea. Each shows a response to
unique demands within the particular country. The Fiji study reflects the Ministry
of Education’s attempt to recapture a plan that had been hijacked by politicians.
Fiji’s case reminds us of the various forces that can play havoc with even the
best laid plans. The size and diversity of Papua New Guinea always present the
local educator with interesting challenges, challenges that other Pacific Island
states can look to for insight in addressing their own problems. Uke Kombra’s
chapter provides a comprehensive outline of an approach to provincial planning
for Papua New Guinea, and much can be learnt from it.

Educational planning in the Pacific
The case studies gave me an opportunity to reflect on the operationalisation of
the espoused principles of planning and subsequent benchmarks in the planning
process. There are several points I would like to highlight from the case studies.
Central to both of them is the need for consultation, and I wish to probe this a
little further. Uke Kombra in his chapter also talked about monitoring and
evaluation, and I would like to reiterate the importance of this phase in any planning
cycle. I would also like to add to the discussion two other points for consideration:
learning organisations and building relationships.
Communication strategy
If there is one concept that is evident throughout the discussion on principles of
planning and the development of benchmarks, and reiterated in the case studies,
it is that of consultation. ‘Consultation’ seems to be in vogue at the moment. The
process of consultation seems to be the justifying mechanism for ‘democratic
process’, ‘ownership’ and ‘doing it the right way’. Unfortunately, as evident in the
case studies and in other discussions in this book, consultation seems to occur
either at the very beginning of the process of planning, or sporadically at various
stages during it. The consultation process seems to be mainly with stakeholders
outside of the organisation, with less consideration given to internal stakeholders.
My concern here is that we talk about consultation and all its supposedly ‘saving
graces’, but we do not factor in ‘consultation’ as a systematic component of
planning. By developing the process of consultation as a component of planning,
we give due recognition to the importance of information usage within
organisations as well as internal and external communication. Consultation when
regularised, focused and fully incorporated into the administration of the
organisation can be articulated through a communications strategy.
A communications strategy is a way to utilise and systemise information gathered
through consultation and other forms of communication, in order to operate a
plan. To operationalise a plan, to turn the plan from paper into activities, it is
essential that an organisation set up a communications strategy. A communications
strategy will not only breathe life into a plan but, more importantly, will manage
the flow of information, which is the lifeblood of any organisation. Without
information people are not connected to organisational visions, plans and goals,

Fua – A way forward
and consequently are disconnected from the organisation. Information can be
empowering, thus encouraging engagement, loyalty and commitment, but it also
can be disempowering, resulting in disengagement, detachment, indifference and
lack of commitment.
The setting up of a communications strategy should be seen as one of the initial
phases of a plan, thereby providing direction for remaining activities. A
communications strategy can be closely aligned with the vision and guiding values
and principles of the overall plan. The communications strategy should clearly
recognise the different levels of communications that operate within a given
organisation: external, internal, informal, formal, horizontal, vertical, explicit and
implicit. The communications strategy also should recognise the different tools
and modes of communication used within the organisation as well as the different
venues where communication takes place. With a comprehensive communications
strategy tailor made for it, an organisation will be able to gather relevant, timely
and often hidden information.
A communications strategy is to be differentiated from the gathering of statistical
data as described in earlier chapters by Rebecca McHugh and ‘Uhila Fasi. These
data are particular to quantitative analysis of the outcomes of the education
services that are provided. The communications strategy suggested here is
particular to the everyday operation of the organisation. It will give educational
administrators insights into processes that eventuate in outcomes based data.
Information gathered through a communications strategy will add depth to the
analysis of end result data collected about enrolment, assessment, retention and
teacher movement. With a well set up communications strategy, trends in teacher
movement and student retention as well as other movements within the
organisation can be detected earlier. With a well-defined communications strategy
an educational leader will know how to resolve a conflict before he/she receives a
letter of resignation from a teacher, at which point there is little he/she could do.
One of the principles listed in earlier chapters is the need for our educational
plans to be flexible and realistic. I think that with a clearly defined communications
strategy information can be filtered through to inform educational planners and
leaders on what is real and what is not within their plan. Further to this, educational

Educational planning in the Pacific
administrators may also get a sense of how flexible they may need to be in response
to emerging issues. A well-defined communications strategy will help keep the
plan flexible, real and sensitive to a changing terrain. It will not only inform planners
of how the plan is being implemented, but it will also inform educational leaders
on many fronts, particularly in problem solving and making decisions. Informed
leaders make informed decisions.
Building relationships
Crucial to the setting up and operation of a communications strategy is the
building of relationships within and outside the organisation. We of the Pacific
do not have to look too far to see the benefits that are brought about when
relationships are harmonious within our extended families and communities. When
relationships are in agreement, cultural and familial responsibilities and obligations
are easily met. In our social relationships, our values of reciprocity, love, respect
and tolerance are clear guidelines. Admittedly, there are times when relationships
are strained and decisions are questioned, but ultimately, through dialogue,
consensus is reached. They say in Tonga that the wealth of a person is his/her
kainga extended (family); it is from them that support and loyalty are drawn. The
importance of relationships to Pacific culture lies in the value of social capital
over economic capital.
Earlier in this chapter I talked about Hau‘ofa’s (1993) concept of a ‘sea of
islands’ that also speaks to the common ocean that we share as people of Oceania.
The ‘sea of islands’ concept also promotes the value of relationships for Pacific
people. I have also proposed that we consider ‘relationships’ as one of the
fundamental concepts of educational leadership in the Pacific. In raising the
importance of relationships, I am also proposing that we consider building
organisational relationships as a key tool in operationalising our strategic plans.
Transferring the fundamental conceptualisations of societal relationships into our
organisations can help build sound organisational relationships into our education
systems. Here I am proposing that we transfer the values that underpin societal
relationships—such as reciprocity, love, respect and tolerance—into our education

Fua – A way forward
It is a common practice within Tongan organisations that staff members collect a
certain amount of money from every pay cheque to contribute to a social fund.
This fund is used when a member of staff has a funeral or a wedding, so that staff
can contribute. In Tongan funerals it is common to see a whole organisation
presenting gifts of tapa, mats and money to a fellow employee. On such occasions
the organisation becomes another social unit as it assembles behind a long line of
familial clans to pay tribute.
Through this one example, we can see how members of an organisation observe
the values of reciprocity, love and respect in a cultural and social context. This
also speaks to the fluidity of movement between the structures of our
organisations and our social units, a movement that we as educational
administrators are not always aware of and unfortunately, others discourage
altogether. By recognising this movement we not only build relationships within
the organisation but also build bridges between organisational context and societal
context, thereby minimising the gap between these two structures. When we
consciously move towards building authentic bridges between organisations and
wider social units we do not have to spend so much time talking about ‘consultation’.
Rather, through the process of weaving relationships between organisation and
community, we complete a mat upon which we will later sit down to hold dialogue.
By using guidelines from our social relationships to inform us in building our
organisational relationships we will be engaged in blending the local and the global
and consequently making our schools into Pacific schools.
Further to this, by closely aligning our organisational relationships along the guiding
principles of our social relationships we are also exhibiting ‘pride in cultural
identity’. We cannot seriously expect our children to take pride in our cultural
identity by singing national anthems and raising flags! We have to lead by example
and we can begin that by honouring our culture in our organisations.
The communications strategy proposed above hinges on well-articulated
organisational relationships. When relationships within any organisation or any
social unit are in agreement, information is shared more easily and quickly. Similarly,
when relationships are in harmony, the consultation processes, decision-making
processes and problem-solving processes are more efficient and effective.

Educational planning in the Pacific
Relationship building within organisations is crucial to the vision building,
organisational analysis, implementation, monitoring and evaluation phases of any
plan. Building organisational relationships that reflect our cultural values is an
investment that cannot be ignored or forgone.
Learning organisations
Central to this book is the search for Pacific approaches to educational planning.
In implementing this approach we maintain Pacific cultures while we select best
practices from a global perspective. At the centre of this approach is a greater
realisation of our Pacific cultures in our organisations.
Epeli Tokai in chapter 4 presents a framework for planning based on a cyclical
process of continual planning, implementation and evaluation. This strongly
suggests a need for a learning organisation constantly to upgrade, develop, re-
evaluate and adapt to the changing nature of its environment. Similarly, Uke
Kombra suggests further research in order to understand other variables in
educational planning better. Through his own research, Uke Kombra has been
able to define specific variables essential to educational planning at provincial
level for Papua New Guinea. Tokai and Kombra both have presented chapters
that demand our educational organisations to be constantly improving and seeking
out new ways of doing things.
I commented earlier on the characteristics of visionary leadership, stressing that
it involves encouraging learning organisations. Similarly, I have also proposed
that we develop our understanding of educational leadership in the Pacific. Along
similar lines, I also put forward the proposal that we develop our understanding
of educational organisations in the Pacific. To do this we need to think of our
organisations as learning organisations, thus encouraging growth, development
and most importantly, research. Thus, in operationalising the plan, there is need
for careful documentation by using a communications strategy to document
processes and evaluate our own progress. A learning organisation would also
promote professional development at all levels, as well as a strong commitment
to capacity building. Consequently, the educational planner in operationalising
the strategic plan needs to think of cultivating organisational cultures and the

Fua – A way forward
provision of an appropriate organisational climate that will encourage organisational
learning. When an organisation promotes the building of relationships and develops
well-defined communications strategies that are founded on visionary leadership,
it thereby encourages learning cultures within organisations.
Monitoring and evaluation
In recent years debate over educational policies has moved from input- to outcomes-
based policies. The growing focus on outcomes policy comes from an increasing
concern with gaps and mismatches between investment in education and producing
skilled people for the labour market (Mingat, Tan & Sosale, 2003). For us here in
the Pacific, our limited resource base, as well as the growing demands from donors
to display evidence of investment, has forced educational planners to plot in some
form of indicators for the evaluation and monitoring of their plans.
However, the question that we are now left with is how do we monitor and evaluate
our plans? Uke Kombra’s chapter outlines problems with monitoring and evaluation
and has suggested ways of addressing these problems. Kombra has addressed
these problems thoroughly. I would, however, like to raise a few additional points
in order to illustrate linkages with the discussion earlier in this chapter.
I suggest that with a well-defined communications strategy and a predisposition
towards developing a learning organisation, the task of monitoring could be
carried out more effectively and efficiently. With a clearly articulated
communications strategy, information—both informal and formal—can be
channelled back into the monitoring mechanism more fluidly and regularly.
Monitoring then becomes part and parcel of the general administration of the
plan, as it provides regular feedback. It is anticipated that when monitoring becomes
part of the administration, it becomes less burdensome for staff members. Similarly,
with the task of evaluation, when the communications strategy is well articulated
and regulated, it can provide timely and well-defined information for evaluative
purposes. It is also important to evaluate against organisational vision and to
maintain observation of the changing nature of the educational terrain. Further,
it is also important that the evaluation process is sensitive to outside changes and
thereby informs the organisation in a timely manner.

Educational planning in the Pacific
The success of gathering authentic, reliable and timely data for monitoring and
evaluation tasks again hinges on well-defined communications strategies and
organisational relationships. These two variables rest on the shoulders of an
informed educational leader, who has articulated these concepts in the strategic
Where do we go from here?
Unlike my seafaring ancestors who conquered Oceania by reading the stars and
ocean currents, I am not sure where to go from here. But I am convinced that
with further research we will once again be able to read the stars and feel the
currents thereby once more designing our own course of action.
We need to further our understanding of Pacific educational leadership, perhaps
not just from a cognitive perspective but also from cultural and historical
perspectives. We certainly need to equip our educational leaders better for today’s
demanding educational terrain. And we cannot do this by mere wishful thinking,
or by asking donors to supply another workshop.
We also need to know more about the ‘colours of our organisations’. In order to
make our schools reflective of Pacific values we need to understand our
educational organisations—perhaps the last of the colonial legacies. How can we
make our educational organisations Pacific organisations? How can we bridge
the gap between societal cultures and organisational cultures? I have suggested a
closer alignment of societal relationships with organisational relationships. But
much needs to be done before existing tensions between organisations and
communities can be eased. How can we construct learning organisations that will
be responsive to the changing nature of our times? And how can we maintain
cultural development in light of the push for economic development?
Undoubtedly, more questions need to be asked and much work remains to be
done. What this book has provided is a collection of thoughts on Pacific educational
planning that will help us to keep pushing forward our ideas about educational
planning in our region. This book is certainly a useful start to a discussion that will
continue to grow as we learn more about leadership, administration, organisations
and planning, and about ourselves as people from a ‘sea of islands’.

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Appendix A
Appendix A
List of participants, first PRIDE Project regional workshop,
Lautoka, Fiji – September 2004
National Coordinators
Data Managers
Cook Islands
Ms Repeta Puna
Ms Maria Enetama
Director of Planning
Statistics Officer
and Policy
Federated States of
Mr Aier Willyander
Mr Burnis Danis
Micronesia (FSM)
Post Secondary Administrator
Assessment and Evaluation
Mr Filipe Jitoko
Ms Betty Kalou
Deputy Secretary for Education
Assistant Senior Education
(Special Projects)
Mr Matana Anterea
Ms Era Etera
Education Officer, Primary
Education Officer (Statistics)
and Junior Secondary
Mr Nauto Tekaira
Senior Education Officer
Marshall Islands
Mrs Glorina Harris
Mr Stanley Heine
Actg Assistant Secretary for
Testing Specialist
Elementary Education
Mr Jarden Kephas
Ms Tryphosa Keke
Secretary for Education
Acting Principal
Ms Tiva Toeono
Mr Kennedy Tukutama
Director of Education
Administration Manager
Mr Emery Wenty
Mr Raynold Mechol
Director of Education
Chief, Division of Research
and Evaluation
Papua New Guinea
Mr Uke Kombra
Mr Pala Wari
Assistant Secretary –
First Assistant Secretary
Planning, Facilitating and
Policy and Planning,
Monitoring Division
Research and Communication

Educational planning in the Pacific
Mrs Doreen Roebeck-Tuala
Mrs Lufi Taule‘alo
Assistant Chief Education
Assistant Chief Executive
Officer for Curriculum,
Material and Assessment
Schools Operation Division
Solomon Islands
Mrs Mylyn Kuve
Mr Ben Karai
Director, Planning
Principal Planning Officer
Coordination, Research Unit
Ms Lili Tuioti
Ms Hana Atoni
Education Advisor
Data Officer
Mr Tatafu Moeaki
Ms Pelenaise To‘a
Deputy Director of Education
Education Officer
Ms Katalina Taloka
Ms Valisi Tovia
Senior Education Officer
Curriculum Officer
Mr Antoine Thyna
Ms Fabiola Bibi
Policy Analyst
Senior Statistics Officer

Appendix A
a (PNG),
asiti Nala
ea (Kiriba
e‘alo (Samoa),
tana A
Uke K

viti (PRIDE),
aki (USP), Kenn
Titilia Ului
okai (PRIDE), Luf
(Solomon Ids),
ander (FSM), Maria Enetama (Cook Ids),

Burnis Danis (FSM)
ari (PNG),

Nauto T
Mylyn K


ala W
o (Fiji),
ai (Solomon Ids), Epeli
Bibi (V
Cass (PRIDE),

y Heine (Marshall Ids),
asiah Muralidhar (USP),

u), Lib
Appendix B
(Cook Ids), Ben K


phas (Naur
xson (USP), Stanle
Lautoka, Fiji, 1–8 September 2004
y Elder (USP), Filipe Jitok
alou (Fiji)
The PRIDE Project regional workshop,
udh Singh (USP), Shrini

e Co
rden K


a (Kiriba
y (FSM), J
Era Eter
aukafa (PRIDE), Henr

a Singh (MoE),

Seu‘ula Fua (USP), Betty K
ynold Mec

olden J
ris (Marshall Ids),
Leonitasi T

y W
w (L–R)

w (L–R)

e r
Glorina Har

easdale (PRIDE),
ont ro

Priscilla Puamau (PRIDE),
Lili T

Document Outline

  • Preface
  • Contents
  • Portraits of the contributors
  • Abbreviation
  • Introduction
  • The big picture International perspectives on education for planners
  • Global perspectives on strategic planningin education
  • Principles and processes of educationalplanning in the Pacific
  • The development of Fijisthree-year strategic plans for education
  • Provincial-level educational planning inPapua New Guineapractices, experiences and lessons
  • The role of data in educational planning
  • Strengthening education managementinformation systemsbetter use of data for better strategic planning
  • The role of assessmentin eductional planning
  • Educational planning in the Pacifica way forward
  • References
  • Appendix A
  • Appendix B

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