STRATEGIC MANAGEMENT OF PRE-SCHOOL EDUCATION INSTITUTIONS IN NORTHERN LITHUANIA: THE CONTEXT OF STRATEGY SWOT ANALYSIS
The strategic priorities of a pre-school education institution do not always correspond to the goals, objectives of national education and training institutions and consumer needs. Strategic plans often deviate from reality because neither the school nor the kindergarten can plan their financial or human resources on their own. In strategic management, the differences between the priorities of the institution and the society create operational gaps, therefore it is necessary to identify the most important directions for the improvement of strategic management. The article analyses the significance of strategic management of pre-school education institutions, SWOT analysis factors. The aim of the research was to reveal the factors determining the strategies of pre-school education institutions and the directions of activity improvement by performing the analysis of the external environment and resources.
Research methodology. The strategic plans of 55 pre-school education institutions in Northern Lithuania were analysed (from January to March 2021), in which the SWOT analysis ensuring the relevance of the research data was presented. Qualitative access was chosen for the research by applying the comparative method when information obtained from various sources, social systems are combined. This allowed to choose the general features and characteristics of the analysed object, to identify differences and similarities, the peculiarities of specific analysed objects. The conclusions drawn from the identified features are the result of comparative analysis. The method of content analysis enabled objective and systematic investigation of the features of the text, generalisation of information, and formation of appropriate conclusions.
The results of the study revealed that the strategy, as a document, is an appropriate tool in the process of management of pre-school education institutions, but it is not emphasized or often applied in the real activities of educational institutions. The SWOT analysis of the strategies of pre-school education institutions in Northern Lithuania reveals that the strengths of institutions are mostly highlighted, i.e. creation of a safe, constantly renewing aesthetic environment, adapted to the needs of community members, qualified teachers and specialists, promotion of children’s health, development and implementation of health programs. The following weaknesses of the activities of pre-school education institutions are emphasised – the lack of projects and funding, insufficiently safe outdoor and indoor environment, insufficient involvement of parents in the activities of the education institution. The most common threats are the dominance of the older team and the lack of young teachers, the deteriorating health of children, the growing number of children with special educational needs, negative social changes (migration, emigration), and the lack of teachers motivation due to excessive requirements. The strategies emphasize the opportunities for the activities of pre-school institutions - participation in international and cooperation projects, systematic professional development of teachers.