4.1 Key phases

This section synthesizes numerous and contested models of policy development to provide a framework for the policy development process.Footnote 28 It presents the model below as an analytical tool to help policy-makers identify the key elements in formulating policy. However, it should be recognized that policy formulation and implementation is rarely a technical-rational exercise. Rather, it is an inherently political process. Policy-making as such is characterized by social conflict and struggles, as well as trade-offs between competing priorities and goals. It involves contestation between social forces and movements at all stages of the policy processes, from agenda-setting to formulation, adoption and implementation. This means that popular struggles can shape policy-making and policy outcomes, and can modify the teacher policy as contained in official texts.

Contestation about what constitutes policy, and therefore what should be included in any teacher policy, reflects different views of what is desirable and what is feasible. Rizvi and Lingard (2010) note that values are central to policy-making. A policy in the form of a text or document reflects particular values and is the ‘authoritative allocation of values’ (Rizvi and Lingard, 2010). As a value-laden exercise, policy development is a normative process in which certain voices are privileged while others are more marginalized, reflecting power differentials in society. This section therefore begins with a discussion of stakeholder participation in general and teacher involvement in particular. Meaningful consultation and participation of all stakeholders, particularly those who are marginalized, is crucial to all aspects of the policy development process, particularly during the agenda-setting phase.

The above discussion suggests that developing a policy is not a simple and straightforward process. The policy life-cycle approach suggested below should therefore be understood as an analytical tool to assist ministries in formulating policies. This framework should be used as a flexible guide to developing a teacher policy and not as a rigid, prescriptive model to be followed in a narrow and linear fashion. It should be emphasized that the phases suggested are often iterative and overlapping, and are not sharply distinguishable as is often implied. Public policy-making as argued above is a complex, multi-layered, and iterative activity, with often multiple policy initiatives underway simultaneously (Badat, 2014).

4.1.1 Consultation — ongoing and meaningful throughout the policy process