Agency 5: Life Plan

12 min read

All life forms on earth have an essential purpose: survival. What is true for plants and basic life forms is also true for humans. For us, however, survival is not about simply staying alive. It is about surviving, yes, but doing so by understanding our individual purpose and what we need to do to achieve it. The purpose is collective and personal as well. The community’s purpose is to achieve a high standard of living where people enjoy social and economic prosperity in harmony with nature. Individuals need to discover and understand their purpose within what the community envisages and define how they aim to achieve their purpose.

The community is dedicated to helping participants’ purpose in life, and thereafter, planning the journey that will take them to their destination. This involves identifying their potential and talents, the skills they need to acquire to reach there, and how they will acquire and use these skills. To help them with this, the Life Planning Agency (agency 5) engages participants from the moment they are admitted into the community, helping them with life planning, and identifying/ acquiring the skills they need to thrive.

The Life Planning Agency is the fifth agency in the community, and second in the District Bureau. Other agencies in the agency are Health, Food, and Nutrition (agency 4), and District Assets Leasing Agency (agency 6). The Life Planning Agency is served by an executive presidency, which sits in district building 5. Together with other executive presidencies in the district bureau, they form a bureau board. The agency also has a district presidency in each district. This district presidency, alongside those of agency 4 and 6 form a district board. There are 24 such boards, one for each district.

Life Planning

The individual success of participants is essential to the success of the community as a whole. [1] This can only be achieved through careful planning of each participant’s life, and ensuring that such plans align with what the community intends to achieve.

The process of life planning begins once a limited partner and their dependents have been admitted into the community. After their basic needs – setting up a business, receiving the necessary space, equipment, inventory, and accounts receivables, they can now move on to life planning.

Most of the life planning process is automated. Limited partners interact with the system without the intervention of captains or district presidents for life planning, unless where necessary. Life planning begins with a thorough assessment of what the participant possesses in terms of skills, training, and education. The system is based on an algorithm that considers the participant’s age, current circumstances, strengths, the community’s social and economic lay, and prospects, among other factors. [2]

Details of life planning

These factors are aggregated to give a comprehensive report, which by itself is not cast in stone and can be amended. The participant can change their report to a certain extent. In some cases, they may need the help of their captain or the district president for advice. Where they need specialized help, the district presidency recommends a list of consultants, from which the participant can choose whom they want to see for more help. The consultancy services are paid for by the participant.

The life planning report issued by the system, and probably amended by the participant, members of the community public service, or a consultant can now be implemented. The implementation phase is not done all at once. It is a process that cumulatively leads to where the participant ultimately wants to be and achieve.

Among other factors, the report covers the following aspects of a person’s life:

Friends/ social support system
Membership in clubs/ societies
Spirituality/ values
Life goals/ legacy
Community involvement
Economic:  Education and training
Professional development
Financial matters
Creative expression/ innovation
Mental/ physical health

Each of these aspects needs a separate plan, which is aligned with other plans for the participant, as well as other plans that may affect them, such as those made by other limited partners with whom they have social or business agreements. Life plans may evolve as circumstances change.


Community’s focus on education

Currently, and despite laws that compel people to at least secure an elementary education. 10% of the world’s population is functionally illiterate – unable to reasonably cope with daily living and work tasks. Illiterate people, or those with extremely low levels of education, have negative outcomes in almost every facet of life. They are more likely to live in poverty, suffer ill health, and lead socially unfulfilling lives. [3]

The community needs all limited partners, as an essential resource, to be at full employment always. This means developing and improving their skills through education. The community runs an education system that considers the importance of a formal, collaborative approach to education, and the independence of professors, teachers, and any other people who offer education as their stewardship. Each community runs a common education system that evolves to meet current and anticipated needs.

The Life Planning Agency facilitates and coordinates the education system. The agency, through district presidencies, ensures that there are sufficient educators and that they are sufficiently qualified. The agency also helps in connecting learners and teachers, through an automated system that also recommends where to go to for education, the rates, and the expected outcomes.

Unique aspects of education in the community

The most basic levels of education – kindergarten or nursery school, are mainly carried out at the hub buildings. Here, the children are closer to home, and only need to walk a maximum of 200 meters (660 feet) to their class. [4] Other levels of learning happen at the district buildings. Normally, every community will have an education system that includes elementary, middle, high school, and tertiary education.

The first three levels of education are harmonized across the communities, with slight deviations. The Life Planning Agency’s district presidents collect information on the efficacy of the current curriculum and make changes as necessary. The agency coordinates with teachers to ensure that they have the necessary skills to implement the curriculum.

The district presidency accredits teachers and other tutors based on pre-set criteria formulated by the executive presidency. The criterion includes, among others, the proficiency of teachers in the subjects they teach, past experience, and any other factors that may affect their ability to do their job.

Organization of education

All education is private and run by limited partners who provide teaching services in collaboration. Limited partners are responsible for paying the fees for the dependents under their care.

The three levels of education – elementary, high school, and tertiary are all critical to the community’s success. Elementary and high school (kindergarten to Grade 12, or K12) is compulsory for all the eligible participants. This education happens within the community’s physical campus. This way, students stay at home, where their parents or guardians can access and monitor them easily.

Students learn in three 45-minute sessions per day, for 5 days a week. Unlike conventional education systems where children have intensive learning sessions, punctuated by lengthy holidays, the community has a year-round academic calendar.

The 45-minute sessions focus on reading, writing, and math. In any of these sessions, students can learn other subjects. For instance, history, literature, religion, and cultural studies can either be writing or reading exercises. Math, on the other hand, can encompass physics, chemistry, and arithmetic. Once the sessions are over, no homework is carried out in class. Students are expected to complete all their work in the classroom within the 45-minute sessions.

Before a teacher admits a student to their class, they can ask that they seek a test to qualify. The test will examine the potential student’s capabilities and therefore know not only whether or not to admit them, but also how to teach them once they do join.

Lessons and exams

Over the course of study, teachers will administer exams to their students collaboratively and harmoniously, to avoid disjointed examinations and quality issues. The exam scores will appear in a student’s profile, at their permission. Displaying these results is beneficial if a student wants to sign an agreement with another limited partner. For instance, this can help each party to make informed decisions about the capabilities of the other. The integrity of the exams is monitored and enforced by the Life Planning Agency. The agency acts through contractors who act as observers, and if necessary for other stakeholders, invigilators.

Before joining a teacher’s class, a student agrees to a pay-per-lesson arrangement. The student or that student’s guardian agrees to fees for a specific term as the teacher may decide. Terms can range from monthly, quarterly, or even annually. After every lesson, the system autocredits the teacher’s account. The system receives and verifies attendance registers to ensure proper payment.

The system allows students to have ample time for extra-curricular activities. Optional 45-minute sessions are available every weekday for students to play games, learn skills such as playing guitar or the piano, or participate in club activities.

Further education and working

Thereafter, students can go home, or work on setting up their businesses in readiness of being admitted as limited partners. Students are encouraged to set up a business by working as contractors as early as 12. They can take simple tasks such as delivering letters and papers, working part time in retail stores, or apprenticeships on painting and construction. The work may be to prepare their future careers, or, in the moment, to build up their savings so that they can have enough to invest into the community once they turn 18, and are admitted as limited partners.

Once students have cleared the 12th grade, they are strongly encouraged to continue with their education to develop careers and enable the community to achieve a high level of the human development index.

Inter-community universities are organized the same way as learning within the community. The universities are collaborations between various professionals under the facilitation of the Life Planning Agency. While universities are likely to have a large part of their operations being conducted virtually, where need be, a temporary physical campus can be organized in any of the district buildings or hubs.

Lifelong learning

Humans have a personal drive to learn, grow and improve themselves in their careers and personal lives. While lifelong learning (LLL) can be deliberate or inadvertent, the community is keen to ensure deliberate, progressive lifelong learning. LLL can either be formal, nonformal, or informal. [5]

LLL is self-initiated by the learner, and voluntary. It can be instructed by another person, such as piano lessons, or be self-instructed, such as teaching yourself to cook a new dish. Normally, LLL is different from formal learning. However, a doctor can take law classes to understand some aspects of their work, and even come out of it with a certification.

LLL is an important way of self-development. Through LLL, people can achieve personal fulfillment and enhance their self-worth, while improving their quality of life. It can also make them more competitive in their business, ultimately leading to superior service provision for participants.

Lifelong learning and life planning

In other words, in a rapidly-changing world, it is necessary to update one’s skills constantly, so that one can stay ahead of the curve. Change is constant, meaning new things to learn all the time. It is never-ending. Whether it is reskilling, upskilling, or just personal development in an unrelated area to your skills, it is vital for the participant, and the community.

The Life Planning Agency facilitates LLL through a number of measures. Just as is the case with academic scores and grades which are part of a limited partner’s profile, LLL achievements are also an important part of the person’s portfolio. This motivates them to not only constantly learn, but also do well. Learning is seen as a solid achievement, with the agency encouraging people to learn new skills and tackle new challenges.

The community is designed in a way that always motivates people to learn new things to serve an array of clients and work with new limited partners. Limited partners are encouraged to have at least 3 clients whom they work with simultaneously. This challenges people to continually learn so that they can have a wide range of skills within their profession. For instance, a teacher who specializes in math and physics can also learn some basic skills in computer engineering to better assist his clients and become more competitive.

Officing the district and executive presidencies

As indicated elsewhere in this article, the Life Planning Agency is the 5th Agency in the community. Its executive presidency has offices in district building 5. District presidencies of the agency have offices in every district building alongside those of the Health, Food, and Nutrition (agency 4), and District Assets Leasing Agency (agency 6).

The executive presidency’s offices in district building 5 are as illustrated:

The district presidencies’ offices in every agency are as illustrated:

During quarterly conferences, district presidencies and the executive presidency sit in the highlighted seats:

The 24 agencies are organized in rows and columns. Beyond working in their bureau (row), agencies also interact extensively within their column. An overview with links to the 12 agencies in the Human and Financial Capital Department is here, and an overview with links to the 12 agencies in the Process and Property Department is here.
Representations of hierarchical- and matrix-type organizations.
The structure of a hierarchical-type organization is shown on the left, and that of a matrix-type organization is shown on the right.

Some additional notes/definitions from an earlier version of this page:

  • By giving participants the opportunity to develop their careers through academic advancement and professional certification, the community will enable them develop more realistic career goals. This is also important for participant satisfaction in the community, when it is assumed that increased learning will give them a better chance to exploit the opportunities offered by the system (BerkeleyHuman Resources. Berkeley: University of California – Berkeley, 2018).
  • The dossier which the system will generate for the participant will be in some respects similar to automated personality tests. The tests are currently used by companies to better understand their employees’ needs, and enable them plan their careers better. However, they do not have the emotional intelligence required to carry out accurate assessments. In the community, this might require the district president’s intervention to be fully practical (Morgeson, F., et al. “Reconsidering the Use of Personality Tests in Personnel Selection Contexts.” Personnel Psychology 60 (2007): 683–729).
  • Beyond the profit and legal requirements for insurance to exist, the service also serves as a safety net. Insurance helps protect society from dramatic loss that would effectively prevent the sufferer from ever recovering. An example is given of families which, though they live a decent middle class life in a developing country, are pushed back into poverty by a medical emergency, for instance (Olson, D. Insurance as a Social Good. 09 11 2016. 17 06 2019).
  • The insurance policy will need to change to reflect changing health prospects in participants. This will help the community deal with the rising healthcare costs, while continuing to offer the participants the appropriate healthcare cover needed. Inversely, those who have better health prospects are expected to pay less, since their chances of falling ill are less (Rezayatmand, R. “Patient Payment and Unhealthy Behavior: A Comparison across European Countries.” Biomed research International (2017): published online).
  • The community will doubtlessly attract people from different backgrounds, who are expected to live and work together. The use of art as a cultural exchange tool cannot be understated. The Life Planning Agency will look to promote interaction with art, even in instances where the participants involved have other stewardships (Brault, S. Determined to Increase the Impact of the Arts on Society. 17 01 2017. 16 06 2019).
  • Accreditation works as a quality assurance measure. The party being accredited is also able to use the certification as a marketing advantage. Assuming that the Life Planning Agency will partner with other accreditation bodies for uniformity, the service will give community businesses with accreditation international recognition needed to boost its reputation (IAS. Why Accreditation? 2019. 17 06 2019).
  • It is important to give education stakeholders the chance to have their say when developing curricula and education standards. This enables them to own the process, and have more motivation in improving it to meet their needs. A public participation exercise in the community will bring together the stakeholders, and give them the additional advantage of being on the same level, that is, there will be no overriding voice, but rather, a consensus-building exercise to forge the best way forward (Young, J. “Teacher participation in curriculum development: What status does it have?” Journal of Curriculum and Supervision 3.2 (1988): 109-121).
  1. Life Planning is not an attempt to map out every aspect of a person’s life. Rather, it is a generalized guide that seeks to help a person understand their purpose in life, and what they need to do to achieve it.
  2. Existing apps use algorithms to help people plan their day-to-day tasks and general life goals. The life planning agency would normally use such apps for general planning before the limited partner examines the report and possibly make any revisions they see necessary to help them achieve their goals better.
  3. Whereas up to 99% of people in the West, Asia, and Latin America have some reading and writing ability, more than 20% are functionally illiterate, meaning that their reading and writing skills are inadequate in working and carrying out daily chores. Life Planning Agency aims to eliminate functional illiteracy.
  4. The longer the distance a student moves from home to school, the lower their academic performance is likely to be. A study in Germany found that long distances from home to school cause fatigue and kill concentration. The result is poor academic performance.
  5. Formal learning is programmed and leads to certification, such as a high school diploma or degree. Nonformal learning is also programmed but does not have any certification at the end of it. Informal learning takes place in the course of daily activities at home, at work, or during leisure.