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A powerful tool for situational analysis and strategic approach is the SWOT analysis also known as SWOT Matrix, SWOT analysis.
The SWOT analysis has reached nearly half a century of successful application in various fields both academic and business. Widely used under the managerial approach of situational diagnosis and strategic analysis along with other tools such as PESTLE analysis and the Michael Porter five forces model.
The SWOT analysis is a diagnostic tool external and internal factors affecting the performance of any organization, project or work system. The SWOT matrix as a managerial tool allows to dis-aggregate between favorable and unfavorable aspects both internal and external to the organization and based on its statement formulate a strategic and tactical framework of action.
As a managerial and tactical diagnostic tool applicable at all levels, SWOT analysis can be tested in schools to increase their strengths, reinforce their weaknesses, capitalize on opportunities, and circumvent or define action frames that allow them to face their threats.
Let’s see how to apply SWOT analysis in a school.
SWOT example of a school
The High Seneca Township in Seneca Ilinois conducted its own SWOT analysis and found among his strengths to the availability of a trained and oriented to the development of young, first – class facilities, availability of financing and personnel. Opportunities include extra-academic and local support programs, such as weakness, the high turnover of teachers and bandwidth problems in connections, and poor local planning as a threat.
This is an example of what the application of a SWOT matrix can discover in a school, in this case in a secondary school. But what must be done specifically to apply the SWOT analysis in an elementary education institution.
How to apply SWOT analysis in a school?
For pestleanalysis.com the SWOT analysis is a basic guide to identify the strengths and opportunities, weaknesses and threats of a school. That is, what factors promote a good environment, what aspects should be improved, what circumstances may favor or disfavor the image and management of the school.
The SWOT analysis will allow teachers, directive and administrative body to glimpse and understand the competitive advantages as well as detect and minimize the factors of instability in the educational institution.
The internal strengths section of a SWOT analysis should look inward at the educational unit. This is the section where a college would identify the internal strengths it possesses.
For example, some strengths that a school can muster are:
- Richness of curricular activities
- Highly trained teaching staff
- High student retention rate
- Low number of students per teacher
- High graduation rates,
- Good sponsorship, financial backing
- Good ubication
- A competitive academic environment.
Once strengths are discovered, they are maintained, strengthened, and turned into competitive advantages.
The weaknesses section of a SWOT analysis should also look into the school. This is the section where a college would identify the internal weaknesses, imbalances, or Achilles heel it faces.
For pestleanalysis.com, weaknesses can be dark areas where the campus board does not want to see, they should not be a reason for shame, they must be clearly identified to achieve a strengthened school.
Common weaknesses in an educational establishment are:
- Low employment rates after graduation
- High turnover of teaching staff
- Short staff
- Lack of preparation of academic staff.
- Lack of co-curricular activities
- Lack of funding for sports activities and other programs
- Excessive enrollment
- Low school pride
- Inappropriate behaviors of children and young people.
Discover the opportunities
To continue applying the SWOT analysis, the opportunities section of a SWOT analysis should look at the external environment of the school. Opportunities should involve local factors that could lead to growth or improvement in the conditions and climate of the school.
This is the section where a college would identify opportunities for growth or improvement. For example, some schools mention in this section:
- A potentially large and fundamentally well-trained student body
- Cultural environment: seminars and conventions, or competent universities
- Support from local government and other public institutions
- Sponsorship of local businesses
- High offer of extra-academic programs
- Natural environment that encourages high interaction and awareness.
Finally the threats section of a SWOT analysis should also look at the external environment of the school. Threats should involve distant local factors that could cause atrophy, decline, or damage to the school image or environment.
This is the section where a college would identify threats that could harm current growth or status quo. Some schools elementary and secondary listed in section threats :
- Community apathy towards school
- social erosion and constructive wear
- The high costs of health care
- Dissatisfied former students,
- Weakened local economy
- Increase in direct competition and online courses
- Government meddling
- Lack of support from the environment
With the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats fully worked out, this information is summarized and printed on a graph or matrix. It is important the call and the commitment of all stakeholders and members of the educational community to define actions that promote the favorable findings and deter the weaknesses and risks.
The ultimate aim of applying the SWOT analysis in a school is to undertake a framework of actions to improve the present and future situation of the school as a center for the preparation of promising young people.