On Friday, June 28, 2024, the Center for Educational Improvement and Quality Assurance (CEIQA) of St. Mary’s University conducted a half-day training session on annual plan preparation and implementation at the Syndicate Room.  

Ato Shegaw G/Medhin, Director of CEIQA, led the meeting, emphasizing the critical role of planning in guiding the University’s daily activities and resource allocation. He detailed the steps and tools involved in plan preparation, implementation, and revision at SMU. Key elements of the annual plan include defining desired outcomes, outlining steps to achieve these goals, setting timelines, assigning responsibilities, and identifying required resources. He also stressed the importance of using the University’s five-year strategic plan, previous year’s performance reports, and Government regulations as key sources for preparing annual plans.

The plan preparation process at SMU is consultative, involving input from all members of an office or department. Once a draft plan is prepared, it is reviewed by CEIQA for technical accuracy. After incorporating feedback, the revised plan is submitted back to CEIQA, which then organizes an annual plan review session with all planning heads and top management. This session, scheduled for the end of September, ensures that all plans are aligned and comprehensive.

Ato Shegaw also explained the purpose and timing of plan revisions, typically conducted after midyear monitoring. Revisions may be necessary to add new activities, cancel unfeasible ones, adjust budgets, or update indicators based on new insights. The revised plans are submitted for approval in mid-April and finalized by the end of April.

Reporting is another crucial aspect of the planning process at SMU. All planning units must produce various reports, including activity reports, monthly performance reports, and annual performance reports. These reports serve as a means of verification and help track progress toward the University’s goals.

The meeting concluded with an interactive discussion, where participants asked questions and shared their views and experiences on planning and reporting. Suggestions included considering awards for high performers, maintaining the format for annual performance reports, and utilizing technology like One Drive and Microsoft 365 for documentation and reporting.