A Gude To Strategic Planning for Higer Education دليل التخطيط الاستراتيجي في المؤسسات التعليمية

A Gude To

Strategic Planning for

African Higher Education Institutions



Fred M. Hayward and Daniel J. Ncayiyana


Jacqueline E. Johnson



We have written this guide on the fundamentals of effective strategic planning for

colleges, universities and technikons to provide information, suggestions,

strategies and guidance to help higher education institutions in the complex,

often frustrating, yet crucial, area of strategic planning. Much of the material

presented here grows out of our work on strategic planning with universities and

technikons in South Africa and Namibia over the last 15 years plus experience in

the United States and elsewhere in Africa. We have tried to provide insights from

what we have learned, strategies that have been effective, approaches that might

enhance your efforts, and ideas that might help institutional leaders navigate the

difficult terrain on campus as they seek to mould consensus, build commitment,

and foster enthusiasm for both the strategic planning process and the plan itself.

This guide is designed to:

provide basic information about strategic planning;

suggest why thoughtful, focused strategic planning is vital to the successful

operation of a college, university or technikon;

help prepare you for some of the major challenges of strategic planning;

present an overview of the framework and stages of the planning process;

recommend who should be involved in the process and clarify their roles;

provide tools that will help make the strategic planning process work; and

highlight approaches, key conditions and elements for strategic planning


Strategic planning is guided by fundamental assumptions about the functions

and roles of higher education in society and, most importantly, about the vision,

mission, goals and place of that specific institution in society. In this sense, no two

strategic plans will be the same. Each will be defined by the mission it sets for

itself, its current capacity, its goals for the future, the accuracy of its assessment of

the environment, and the effectiveness of its implementation.

Higher education institutions continue to be among the oldest surviving

institutions in the world because they provide for a broad range of the needs of

successful societies. Among their vital functions are: the advancement and

transmission of knowledge, learning and wisdom; opportunities for intellectual,

ethical and skill development of individual students; the provision of an engine

for the nation’s development and growth; service as a repository of a society’s

knowledge and culture; the provision of key links to economic, social and political

development to members of the society; and contribution to the well-being of the

community, the nation and societies internationally.

This broad range of functions suggests, however, that no one institution can fill

them all. Indeed, in this complex age, we know of no single institution that

succeeds in doing so, nor is there reason to believe such an institution would be

desirable. The implication, therefore, is that institutions of higher education and

their strategic plans must reflect the breadth of needs and goals through:

differentiation of functions and specialisation between institutions;

a focus on functions seen as primary to the mission of each institution;

recognition of a wide range of societal needs for training and development;

awareness of the continually changing needs of students and citizens for

lifelong learning

specialisation of research and experimentation, in at least some institutions,

to deal with the rapid pace of change and new opportunities created by them;

an openness to outside scrutiny; and

recognition that the success of higher education is dependent on individual

creativity, an openly competitive environment, and an educational culture

that fosters new knowledge and technological excellence.

The critical role of tertiary education in the development of any society has been

highlighted in a recent World Bank report.

1 The authors note that, ‘… knowledge

accumulation and application has become one of the major factors in economic

development and is increasingly at the core of a country’s competitive advantage

in the global economy’.

2 They continue by pointing out that:

… the role of tertiary education in the construction of knowledge economies and

democratic societies is now more influential than ever. Tertiary education is indeed

central to the creation of the intellectual capacity on which knowledge production

and utilization depend and to the promotion of lifelong learning practices

necessary to update one’s knowledge and skills.

The authors stress that:

Developing and transitional countries are at risk of being further marginalized in a

highly competitive world economy because their tertiary education systems are not

adequately prepared to capitalise on the creation and use of knowledge.


These comments emphasise the importance of higher education and highlight

the need to focus and plan carefully for the future. It is in this context that we have

written this guide.

This booklet reflects our personal experiences and viewpoints as educators

and administrators, drawing heavily on our South African and American

experiences. We hope that, as with our previous booklet,

Effective Governance: A


Guide for Council Members of Universities and Technikons


, readers will draw from

this what is useful, ignore what is not, and make suggestions about useful

additions and improvements.

We hope you will find this guide useful as you lead or participate in the critical

work of strategic planning, helping to build on your institution’s strengths, and

focusing on the goals and strategies that will help your institution make a major

contribution to higher education and national development. Our efforts are

designed to stimulate debate about and inform the mission, vision, goals and

planning process, and to help create the conditions needed to provide the

ongoing change needed to make tertiary education institutions like yours the

driving force in the knowledge production and dissemination so central to

national development.

Dr Fred M. Hayward

Dr Daniel J. Ncayiyana

Author: د. عبدالرحيم محمد عبدالرحيم

دكتور عبدالرحيم محمد عبدالرحيم استشاري التخطيط الاستراتيجي وقياس الأداء المؤسسي والتدريب عضو هيئة تدريس (منتدب) – كلية المجتمع – دولة قطر drabdo68@yahoo.com www.dr-ama.com

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