Educational Planners Go Back to School

Article excerpt

IN a modern building not far from Unesco's, Headquarters in Paris, forty-four men and women from all regions of, the world are following a rigorous nine-month training programme covering the design, implementation and evaluation of strategies and plans for the development of education.

All the participants are specialists who hold key positions in educational planning or training in their respective countries. One has been responsible for the evaluation of Rwanda's educational reform programme; another is deputy director of educational planning in Oman; a third is a section chief at the State Education Commission in China; a fourth is responsible for the development of basic education in Brazil.

They have been selected from a large number of applicants to participate in the twenty-fourth annual training programme organized by Unesco's International Institute for Educational Planning (IIEP). The Institute, which celebrated its twenty-fifth anniversary in 1988, has so far trained some 850 specialists from 129 countries. It is acknowledged as the world's leading training institution in its field.

The annual training programme acquaints participants with the most recent ideas and practices concerning the relationships between the educational system and economic, technological, social and cultural development. It is also designed to improve their knowledge of methods of administering educational systems as well as diagnosing and forecasting techniques.

in practice this means that a statistician from Ghana, grappling with a problem of cost analysis and budgetary processes in his country's technical education sector, can compare his experiences with those of colleagues from Brazil, Finland and Indonesia. An economist from India, who is particularly concerned with the relationships between education, employment and the labour market, is able to discuss her problems and learn from some of the solutions already worked out by her counterparts in Canada, the People's Democratic Republic of Korea or Senegal.

The first phase of the 1988-1989 programme took place last September in the home countries of the participants, who began to study specially-produced teaching materials designed by the Institute to update their knowledge of basic educational planning concepts and techniques.

The training methods at the Institute are based on team work and the active involvement of each participant in exercises which, as far as possible, reflect actual working conditions. Simulation exercises, seminars, and work in small groups are combined with lectures, discussions, study visits, computer work and the presentation of experiences in different countries.

During the final stage of the programme, scheduled for April and May, each participant will have the opportunity to make an in-depth analysis of an educational problem concerning his or her country.

The annual training programme is only one component of the IIEP's training activities, however. Each year the Institute organizes several intensive training courses on particular aspects of educational planning and administration, such as the evaluation of educational systems, the utilization of microcomputers in educational planning or the financing of vocational and technical education. …