Mon | Mar 19, 2018

Data Collection In Schools to be Standardised

Published:Wednesday | May 13, 2015 | 12:00 AM

THE MINISTRY of Education has indicated that it intends to do away with paper-based methods of data collection in schools.

This, it said, is a part of the education transformation process that will address the duplication of efforts and the lack of access to real-time data required by the ministry to make critical decisions.

Responding to queries from The Gleaner, Dr Franklin Johnston, senior adviser in the Ministry of Education, said the ministry is currently implementing an enterprise school-management system that will address the weak data-collection methods in schools.

"The Ministry of Education is in the process of implementing an enterprise schools management system (ESMS) to allow the capture and processing of all information relevant to school administration," he said.

While indicating that some schools have already begun implementing their own ESMS, he noted that there is no national standard associated with these systems.

"The ministry will publish a standard data dictionary outlining the data formats required for the submission of agreed reports to the ministry and their delivery schedules," Johnston said.

Zed Technology Jamaica limited, the provider of the RenWeb school management system which is used in a number of schools, said it is confident that it will be able meet the ministry's standards.

Carlton Grant, CEO of Zed Technology Jamaica, said, "I would unequivocally recommend RenWeb to the ministry. It can meet any standard that the ministry will set, a number of schools are already using it, and it is also recognised globally as the school management system of choice."

Grant indicated that he is in the process of setting up a meeting with the ministry as schools using RenWeb have indicated that the ministry will be hard-pressed to find a system which is as effective.

Grant is also calling on the ministry to update its data-collection policies to be more in line with the digital age and also to provide the resources for schools in the rural areas which do not have the capability to support a school management system.

Data for Development, the title of a report released in April by the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network has called for developing countries to begin implementing ESMS as a response to the new sustainable development goals that will require measurement of learning outcomes and measurement of equity in education.