2.2.2 Targets, benchmarks and timelines
To know if a policy is working (achieving objectives) it is helpful to establish targets, benchmarks and timelines to measure progress. In addition to general objectives (such as improving teacher quality, reducing teacher attrition or absenteeism, and increasing access to instructional materials), it is generally advisable to set indicative targets and benchmarks (such as the percentage of qualified teachers recruited, the number of teachers undergoing professional development, teacher salaries at comparator levels with other professionals, and the number of teachers with basic learning aids). More specific targets or benchmarks allow progress to be monitored more easily and efficiently. Targets are formulated over a given timeline that includes both intermediate and final targets. The timeline is most useful if it is aligned with the national education plan and accounts for both short-term priorities (teacher recruitment to fill all identified shortages) and the long-term nature of educational planning and outcomes (years to educate and properly form a good teacher) (IIEP and GPE, 2012: 12–13; UNESCO, 2012a: 23–25; UNESCO, 2010: 26–27).