What is a program goal?

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A program goal is a short, concise, general statement of the overall purpose of a program.


Here are some characteristics of a program goal:

  • It is usually not phrased in quantified terms. An exception might be when a numerical goal is set which is a metaphor for a qualitative state such as "a high rate," "universal,” or "substantial.”
  • It should be sufficiently "definite" that it points clearly to the ensuing program. The following goal statements illustrate cases of goals which are too vague and are therefore not satisfactory goal statements.

    • The goal of this program is to do some literacy work.
    • The goal of this program is to help the people of Lasa province with some of their problems.
  • A program goal should point towards some long term effect, change, or purpose. A good program goal has "strategic" force to it. A goal of "printing 60,000 pieces of literature" may be a very commendable literacy program goal, but it lacks strategic force. What is the literature to accomplish? What is its purpose in the broader scheme of things? How will it be used?

Here are some examples of well-defined literacy program goals:

  • Develop a basic adult literacy program for the people of the Highlands Province.
  • Mount a campaign to promote the use of available literature in the Wabe language.
  • Organize a five-year pilot program in mother tongue education for the children of Lasa Prefecture.
  • Develop a program to teach Quechua speakers who are literate in Spanish to read material in Quechua.
  • Develop an initiative to achieve 90 percent literacy among the adults of the country.
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