Now that the Education Sector Plan (ESP) and its operational plan have been developed, Section 5 focuses on implementation of the operational plan. The tools in Section 5 build on the guidance provided in the IIEP-UNESCO and GPE’s Guidelines for Education Sector Plan Preparation (page 25) and MOOC Module 5.
As mentioned in Section 4, to operationalize the Education Sector Plan (ESP) over the medium term, the ESP is often translated into an operational plan which is generally two to three years in length. See Figure 1. Development of a robust operational plan increases the probability of successful implementation because the plan specifies the entity responsible for implementation of each activity as well as each activity’s timing, cost, sources of financing, and related outputs.
This multi-year action plan is then often broken down into an annual operating plan (AOP). AOPs identify the performance indicators and targets that will be achieved in the upcoming budget year. Often, the activities that will be undertaken, when these activities will need to take place, and who will be responsible for these activities is specified. The annual work plan serves as the basis for periodic progress reporting so that monitoring the medium-term plan implementation can later occur. AOPs should be closely linked to annual budgets, but these two processes are often disconnected, with AOPs being prepared without considering the resources that will be available. It is therefore important to create coherence between the structure of the plan and the structure of the budget.
A key question is who is responsible for the overall implementation of the plan and who is responsible for specific programmes. Implementation arrangements need to also clearly articulate roles and responsibilities to ensure accountability across all levels of government. It may be necessary to set up new structures in order to coordinate implementation at different levels.
Successful implementation of pre-primary activities requires effective coordination and alignment across all levels of government (from the national to local levels) and should be informed by the implementation arrangements established as part of the operational plan. As described in the Build to Last Framework, in many countries, the governance of pre-primary services is often decentalized/deconcentrated. At central, regional, or district levels, implementation responsibilities, including plan monitoring and oversight, need to be clarified to make sure that lower-level activities are being implemented and to determine whether any corrective actions are needed.
In addition to ensuring that there are proper implementation arrangements in terms of ensuring responsibilities and accountability at all levels of government and considering capacity at the subnational levels, it is also important to consider strategies for the various activities being implemented.
It is recommended to refer back to the tools in Section 4 as a starting point for Section 5. Section 4 focuses on putting together the ECE components (ECE strategies, activities, indicators and targets) of the ESP in the operational plan. In particular, it may be useful to refer to and use Tool 4.2 (Checklist: ECE implementation feasibility and capacity appraisal for the ESP) as you further work on your implementation plan.
The tools in Section 5 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.
Implementation and monitoring and evaluation processes are closely linked and interdependent in nature. How the implementation process takes place will require an iterative approach in leveraging the different sections of the toolkit.
The overall objective is to ensure effective implementation of ECE strategies and activities as articulated through the ESP operational plan.
To achieve this objective/these objectives, the following actions should take place:
- Review financing options
- Strengthen considerations related to subsector coordination
- Address considerations related to subnational implementation
- Learn about best practices regarding implementation of ECE Core Functions