Conceptual framework for policy formulation in education
A pol icy change is a response to a problem or set of problems in the sector and, must, therefore, start with an analysis of the existing situation of the educational sector and its context. In addition to the analysis of the sector itself, policy analysis should consider a number of aspects of the social context, including political, economic, demographic, cultural and social issues which are likely to affect the decision making and even implementation processes of the education sector.
The general character of a country (i.e, location, geography, population, culture and social stratification patterns) has obvious implications for educational policy formulation and implementation. This makes the process of educational policy making more difficut It in a number of ways. Typically different groups have different values about the role of education. Insofar as education represents access to economic and political powers, then different access or interest in education also means differential access to power.
Resulting conflicts and struggle is particularly acute in India which consists of variety of socio- cultural and econom ically disadvantaged sections of popu lation. The distribution of access to basic educational facilities across the states is unequal and uneven.
Therefore while formulating the education policy, the differential educational development across the states have been kept in consideration and therefore emphasis has been on the reduction of regional, social and gender disparities.
• Political context
An analysis of the political environment is necessary for an understanding of the national decision making process, the comparative value of education, and the role . that education must play in the socio-political process. In a democratic country like India, various political parties have been coming to power and have been defining educational goals and priorities as per their political ideology. They have been implementing various programmes to achieve the target set in their educational policies.
• Economic context
Before formulating the educational policy an assessment of financial and human resources is essential. It is important to estimate the financial resources of the country in order to assess what the economy requires from the education sector and what the education sector expects to face from the rest of the economy, particularly in terms of general infrastructure and financial resources.
Variables such as demographic shifts, urbanisation and migration coupled with likely growth in various sectors of the economy will have a significant impact on labour markets and consequently on needs for education and skill training. The level of economic development will set enormous constraints on the capacity of the education system to build schools and to expand. It is difficult to build schools without the necessary economic infrastructure. For example, the Education Policy of 1968 proposed that 6% of GDP should be spent on education and till date we have not been able to spend more than 3.8% ofGDP on education. Therefore, it has not been possible to provide schools with adequate infrastructure and other facilities.
The level of economic development also sets the range of possible taxation by the government, which in turn influences educational expenditures. For example in India 2% of taxable income is towards the educational cess for elementary education and I% is towards the educational cess for secondary and higher education.
The economic growth rate is important not only for estimating the likely need for certain kinds of skill but also for estimating the future amounts of slack resources. This is necessary because, as the rate of growth increases, more funds are often made available to education; in the similar way, as it decreases, the allocations to education are among the first cut.
• Diagnosis of educational scenario
Educational policy analysis starts with an identification and understanding of the major sectoral issues relevant to the country. These issues may be explored under different categories:
(i) available access to educational opportunities and how to further improve it,
(ii) equity in the distribution of educational services,
(iii) structure of the education system,
(iv) internal efficiency like drop out rates, repetition rate, transition rate, promotion rate, etc.,
(v) external efficiency, and
(vi) institutional arrangements for the management of the sector.
While analysing the above issues the analysis should reflect on the progress made over the years as the meeting of one educational need or solution of one problem frequently creates another. For example, the expansion of the system and the provision of new facilities naturally lead to issues about the quality of the education provided and the capacity of the, educational system to handle a larger education system. A historical and evolutionary perspective on the dynamics of policies across time allows the educational plannets and policy makers a better understanding of why a particular policy is being advocated at that moment. By studying the past, one also estimates the time required to achieve the goals set by the policy.