Following the Education Sector Analysis (ESA) (see Section 2), the work on developing the Education Sector Plan (ESP) begins. Section 3 focuses on establishing the vision for the ECE subsector for the Education Sector Plan (ESP) (more specifically, phases 2-4 of Figure 1). The tools in this section are based on and give practical supports for the guidance provided in the IIEP-UNESCO and Guidelines for Education Sector Plan Preparation (pages 17-22) and MOOC Module 4.
The tools in Section 3 support the development and/or strengthening of the ECE components that will inform and feed into the Education Sector Planning (ESP). In working on this section, your goal is to articulate a vision for the ECE subsector. You will do this by formulating ECE strategies, activities, indicators and targets. Examples of ECE simulation models are also provided to help you understand how to estimate costs of the ECE strategies and activities.
Refresher on the Education Sector Plan
As this toolkit emphasizes, your ECE content is one part – a crucially important part – of the overall Education Sector Plan (ESP). The Education Sector Plan (ESP) is a strategic document that offers a vision for the whole education system and identifies the ways to achieve the vision. It provides a long-term vision, with medium-/long-term policy priorities (set as overarching goals) and related strategies (developed into programmes) that include the activities (that operationalize the strategies). The expected results (outcomes/outputs) are measured through indicators against targets that are set – these are summed up in the results framework. Figure 2 provides a visual of the overall architecture and different levels and components of the Education Sector Plan (ESP).
There is no prescribed way to structure the Education Sector Plan (ESP), but it may be advisable to structure it by subsectors (pre-primary, primary or basic, secondary, vocational, adult, tertiary). For each subsector, the challenges that the ESP will address can then be categorized into thematic areas (access, quality, etc.).
Whatever the structure of the Education Sector Plan (ESP) (either by subsector or by theme), this Section 3 focuses on the development of the key ECE strategies, activities and their associated targets and indicators, all of which can be integrated or translated into the Education Sector Plan (ESP) structure. This focus is coupled with a related focus on how to simulate costs for the ECE components, so as to test their financial feasibility. Note that we assume that ECE policy priorities will have already been set, as they are often influenced by national development priorities and international commitments – for ECE, such policy priorities should be aligned with:
- national and subnational education and policies and plans and public statements of intent, as well as other cross-sectoral national policies or plans for early childhood development that include policy intent for ECE; and
- global and international development frameworks, such as the SDGs and Education 2030, with particular attention to SDG 4.2, which sets forth a target of at least one year of quality pre-primary education for all children.
As emphasized throughout this toolkit, preparing the Education Sector Plan (ESP) – and the ECE components of that plan – is an iterative process. During that process, regular consultations with education stakeholders are often needed to define and refine strategies, activities and targets. For example, strategies may need to be reconsidered when the detailed activities are being developed, while strategies and their related indicators and targets may need to be revised after being tested in the simulation model against available and expected resources. As such, the tools in this Section may be referred to or used throughout this iterative process.
It is recommended to refer back to the Build to Last conceptual framework (in Section 1) and the Pre-primary Subsector Analysis Tool (in Section 2) as a starting point for Section 3. The conceptual framework identifies the key building blocks of an effective ECE subsector and proposes a framing of elements (core functions, enabling environment factors, guiding principles) that can be followed for developing the ECE components. The Pre-primary Subsector Analysis Tool may be used to identify the underlying challenges of the ECE subsector (i.e. root causes of the ECE problems/issues). Uncovering such underlying ECE challenges is a first step towards developing ECE strategies to be included in the Education Sector Plan (ESP).
The tools in Section 3 may be used even if your country is not currently engaged in an Education Sector Plan (ESP) development process. The tools are also relevant and applicable in the context of developing ECE plans in general – for example, they may be used to support the formulation of an ECE plan for a funding/grant opportunity, or for guiding a subsector reform.
It is also useful to refer to and use tool “4.2 Checklist: ECE Implementation Feasibility and Capacity Appraisal for the ESP” as you develop and strengthen the ECE components. Tool 4.2 may be helpful in conducting an initial feasibility and alignment check of the ECE strategies, activities, indicators and targets. Tool 4.2 will also be used as part of Section 4 in the context of a final review and appraisal of the ECE components.
Section 3 Objectives
The overall objective of Section 3 is to set the ECE vision for the ESP. To achieve this, you will need to formulate robust strategies, activities, indicators and their associated targets in response to the ECE subsector’s underlying challenges. These components will then be integrated into the Education Sector Plan (ESP) (which can be structured either by subsector or by themes).
To achieve this objective, the following actions should take place:
This action supports the selection and prioritization of ECE strategies that address the underlying challenges of the ECE subsector. The ECE strategies are then translated into activities that will be set out in the operational plan.
This action supports specifying the indicators and targets that will be used to measure progress towards achieving expected results (outcomes/outputs). The indicators and targets are then translated into a results framework.
This action supports understanding the initial, proposed costs of different ECE strategies. Such understanding will be essential for determining trade-offs and readjusting strategies and their targets as needed.
Section 3 Tools
The tools featured in this section will support ECE TWG stakeholders establish the vision for the ECE subsector for the Education Sector Plan (ESP).