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THE SECTORAL APPROACH TO DEVELOPMEN PLANNING

Educational planners have always recognized the fact that they are not dealing with
a closed system. Education as a sub system of society affects and is affected by
other sub-systems.
Graduated have to be geared in number and qualification to manpower requirements ;
the intake of students into the
educational system is determined by population pressure plus a host of social and
economic development outside the system; curricula and learning objectives should
dovetail with die skill requirements and attitudes students will need as income
earners
and members of their community, ,new schools cannot be built where roads do not
exist; qualified teachers are difficult to find if
salaries in other professions are more attractive, and so forth. Many other
examples could be added to drive home the point
that educational plans can neither be conceived nor carried out in isolation.
Yet, despite such insights, education is still largely comitted to what is commonly
called the sectoral planning approach. It shares this fate with such other sectors
as the health sector, the agriculture sector, the labour and employment sector,
industry, public works, and other departments or ministries in the government
structure. We have all become so used to this set-up that we have altogether
stopped questioning whether if is rational or not.

The Questions We Fail To Ask Include


(a) Why do we conceive and plan a particular educational programmed in district X
of our country not so much in relation to what else goes on in that district (road
building projects, setting up of a new industry, plans for a number of rural health
centers, land reform and establishing the establishment of co-operatives etc.) but
primarily as .an outgrowth of some larger educational plan devised at a desk in a
provincial education office, or by a planning division in the Ministry of Education
?
(b) Does it make sense to have different .sectional plans prepared by different
Ministries, if in reality these sectors are inseparable element of the same
development process- with people’s helath, their education and training the roads
they use, the jobs they do, the fields they irrigate, and the values they hold all
being threads of thesame fabric?
Historically, the sectoral approach to planning has, of course, been consequence of
the Rowing specialization and division of labour which became necessary as
societies began to industrialize, and which enabled both the people and their
governments to cope with increasingly complex tasks. But it in now appears that the
sector co-ordinating mechanisms devised to hold together the highly specialized and
differentiated sectoral structures which we see in most present-day government are
no longer adquate.

Sectoral plans, however well designed and smoothly executed, fail when co-
ordination with other sectors is deficient. The agriculture
Ministry provides all farmers in district X with new high yield variety grains, but
the Industry Ministry puts up the needed fertilizer plant two years too late. The
Health Ministry sets up a string of rural health centres, but fails to find doctors
willing to' go to the rural areas, because universities still orient their medical
students towards an urban career. TheEducation Ministry establishes technical
colleges in backward provinces, but all this acliieves is a massive exodus of
technical graduates to the capital, because industrialization schemes continue to
bypass these provinces. In al these causes, the fault lies less with die
differentÿsectoral plans as such lhan with the apparent lack of co-ordination among
than.There may not be enough integration even between different elements in one
sector.
For example, the curriculum of general secondary school may not meet the
requirements of higher education institutions.
Disappointment with sectoral planning approaches isleading many people to call not
only for a new philosophy, but also a pragmatic reorientation of planning
practices- in education dnd else where. The concept of integrated development
planning is seen as providing answ CT. Integrated development planning recognizes
the limitations of
after-the-fact co-ordination at the time of implementing pre-established an plans.
In its place, due emphasisis laid on process integration where in the co-ordination
begins very early at theStage when the plans are being conceived and formulated. In
integrated development planning at the national as well asthe sub-national level, a
proposed activity or program is
judged not from the point of view of its consistency with a larger sectoral plan
but, first and foremost, from the point of view of its usefulness as part of tike
integrated package of development programs envisaged for a particular region. Let
us now considerthis approach in more detail.

INTEGRATED DEVELOPMENT PLANNING


While the wide-spread disappointment with sectoral planning practices provides the
general background, there are at least five more specific reasons why the concept
of integrated development planning is now gaining currency in many developing
countries:

(a) The growing discontent over regional disparities within countries both
economically and socially, accentuates the need for
concentrated development efforts in backward regions. A special case is opening up
of new resource region, following the discovery
of oil or mineral deposits. Understandably, governments are anxious to speed up the
development of the infrastructure town building, the; allocation of secondary
industries, education and health provision_for such regions in a single integrated
program.

(b) The increasing concern over ecological imbalances in some regions, coupled with
need for environmental management to
prevent congestion, population, exhaustion of natural resources and des.Tuction of
cultural amenities.

(c) The realization that excessive rural-urban migration hampers development


prospects both in the departure and destination areas,
and tha: deliberate settlement programs must be lunched in line with the productive
potentials varioussub-national regions,

(d) The need for concerted action by several ministries around certain priority
programs, e.g. family planning; employment and income distribution; vocational
upgrading of the labour force; the development of appropriate technology, etc.

(e) The exserience of planners which suggest that macro plans becomes implementable
only if elaborated into program and
projects at the level of-reÿions, provinces, and districts.
All these various concerns tend to explain the fact that attempts at integrated
development planning are gaining momentum in quite a number of Asiai countries.

INTIGRATED DEVELOPMENT PLANNING AT THE NATIONAL LEVEL


Most natio lal development plans are to a certain extent, integrated plans. They
spell out certain general objectives which should be
accomplish by the nation as a whole during the plan period. To achieve this, the
planning is usually coordinated by a national planning agency directly responsible
to the chief executive of the nation (President or Prime Minister).
But although national plans usually cover all aspects of economic and social
development, and have chapters on all important sectors, that, byitself, does not
make them integrated development plans. There is a very important difference
between individual sectoral plans bound together in one volume and an integrated
plan where interactions and jnterlinkages among different sectors are properly
brought out to ensure a co-ordinated effort. '

To bring about this co-ordinated effort, the national planning agency has an
extremely responsible, time-consuming and difficult job to do. It has to scrutinize
the sectoral plans with the view to ensuring:
(a) that all sectoral programs and projects contribute in a tangible manner to the
country’s overriding development objective.
(b) That sectoral' programs and projects which are mutually supportive receive
proper emphasis, while those that are inconsistent or even mutually defeating are
dropped or reconsidered.
(c)That “missing links”are identified-programs or projects that occurs in non of
the sectoral plans, but which would help to irtegrate and reinforce exciting
programs and projects which ate that present disjointed.
(d) Tiat sectoral programmes and projects are synchronized with regard to the eas
in which they are to be launched, as well as to their timing. The latter many
require that programmes A and B ase started simultaneously, or that tp’ogramme A
must have already produced results before foeti ne programme Bbegins, or vice
versa. ;
Whether national development plans remain a compilation of sectoral plan
submissions, or can be forged into genuinely integrated plan of action, depend,}
largely on foe power, competence and authority of foe national planning agency vis-
vis foe ‘sectoral’departments or ministries.
Recent years l ave seen this power enhanced in most Asian countries.
What started out as poorly staffed, adhoc bodies with very limited authority have
in many cases' grown info such all important nervecentres of national development
planning asipdonesia’s BEPPENAS, Malaysia's EPU, India’s planning Commission; foe
Philippines’s NEDA or Pakistan’s Plannings Commissions.
However, a number of problems still block the way to integrated development
planning at foe national level. These problems include foe following:
(a) The authority of national planning agencies is, as a rule/, restricted to foe
so-called development budget. The vast resources allocated under each department’s
or ministry’s recurrent or routine budget remain, if not unplanned; certainly if
sufficiently integrated. Criteria to specify what is to be included in the
development budget arid what is to be left to foe recurrent budget are often fluid
and arbitrary.
(b)- Naipnal planning agencies frequently lack foe independent and comprehensive
information network on which planning
has to be based. Dependent on data supplied by sector, they are not always stole to
verify foe premises on which sectoral
plans are built. Also they fend to be weak at the “diagnostic stock-takfog”stage of
foe planning process and reluctant to make foe hard decisions which their
integrative functions often requires.
(c) In federal structures, and in countries where planning is becoming increasingly
decentralized, national planning agencies may be immobilized by lack of proper
representation at the sfate, provincial or district level.