An educational plan refers to the efforts on planned and premeditated change to be brought about in the system of education for attaining relevant, pre-determined aims and objectives.
These changes are conceptualized with reference to specific objectives and need to be co-ordinated in relation to the objectives and conditions in other systems such as the social, political, economic, cultural and ideological systems.
Educational planning involves determining the priorities, policies, decisions and costs of the education system using foresight and keeping in mind the socio-economic and political realities of the country.
It signifies the process of setting out in advance a pattern of action to bring about changes as viewed by national policies and priorities by the closest possible articulation of means and ends.
Beeby (1967) defines educational planning as “the exercise of foresight in determining the policy, priorities and costs of an educational system, having due regard for economic and political realities, for the system’s potential for growth and for the needs of the country and of the pupils served by the system.”
UNESCO has analyzed the concept of educational planning and defined it as the application of education itself to instill in students a rational and scientific approach to problems.
Griffiths asserts that a successful educational plan is one that does not remain on paper but is speedily and efficiently implemented.
Knezewich defines educational planning as a purposeful preparation culminating in a decision which serves as the basis for subsequent action.
According to Coombs, educational planning in its broadest sense is 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.
A cursory glance at the preceding definitions reveals that:
(i) The aims of the plan should be clearly comprehended.
(ii) It revolves around sound and rational thinking.
(iii) It requires foresight.
(iv) Its implementation is very important to its success.
(v) Its success depends on the past legacy, stage of development of the nation and the determination for progress.