A public policy is a deliberate endeavour by a government to address an issue that is of public interest by enacting laws, pronouncements and actions that are geared towards addressing the issue in question. A myriad of issues such as health, crime, education and even foreign policies can be addressed through public policy.
In setting up a public policy using the rational model, three steps are followed and in that order:
- Setting the agenda
- Formulating the option(s)
Depending on the policy’s technicality, availability of funds and magnitude or scope, the time needed for a new policy to be put in place may range from a week/weeks to months or even years.
Also, in making a new public policy using the rational model, three things come into play:
- The issue- this is the problem that requires attention by way of policy creation
- The player(s)- these are the parties, groups or individuals who are important in the
creation and implementation of the particular public policy
- The policy- this is the end product agreed for implementation by the government.
Social and Emotional Education Policy Using the Rational Model
The issue and setting the agenda- It is a fact that our educational system as it is today has failed to recognise the importance of social and emotional growth of school going children in preschool and all the way to high school. As a result of this failure, the system has been producing graduates who are deficient in skills to handle social and emotional issues that confront them in the later stages of their education at college or university and at their work stations later in their career lives. It is unfortunate that lack of this skills affects an individual’s personal relation and productivity for all their life. It is, therefore, an issue that should be solved soonest so as to enable students to develop these very important life skills so as to fully exploit their potential in peaceful and harmonious coexistence throughout their lives.
Formulating the options and the players to be involved- It is important that teaching and learning of social and emotional be introduced in schools to ensure an all-round development of children. While appreciating the fact that the educational sector is a very technical area, the issue of introducing such a new aspect demands that the stakeholders, particularly the policy makers and the teachers as the implementer, be involved in coming up with the syllabus and factoring the change into the current curriculum.
The policy and its implementation- The urgency on the part of the government to formally ratify this issue into a policy, and facilitating its implementation in schools cannot be overemphasized. However, the urgency should not overshadow the technicality involved. It is my sincere belief that with the government’s commitment to the issue, everything should be up and running in a less than six months during which time, all factors regarding its implementation will be discussed in forums that allow technical consultation among all the stakeholders. This will be to ensure the smooth take-off and the continuity of the policy.
Rationale of Using the Rational Model for this policy is:
- Easy consultation- As vast as it is, the education sector requires the consultation of only the technical. The rational model offers this opportunity.
- Time saving- Since it doesn’t require extensive consultation, the rational model saves a lot of time formulating and implementing a policy. Considering the importance and the urgency of this policy in the education sector, the rational model is the best to use.
- Expert decision making- The people and parties involved in the consultations are the experts in the sector and therefore, their decisions are the best for the sector. This is the basis upon which the rational model operates. This will be very important in making the policy on social and emotional education.
Cohen, Jonathan. Caring Classrooms/Intelligent Schools: The Social Emotional Education of
Young Children. Series on Social Emotional Learning. Teachers College Press, PO Box 20, Williston, VT 05495-0020 (hardback: ISBN-0-8077-4058-6, $54; paperback: ISBN-0-8077-4057-8, $24.95), 2001.
Fischer, Frank, and Gerald J. Miller, eds. Handbook of public policy analysis: theory politics, and methods. crc Press, 2006.