Education Ministry to embark on information management system By Abigail Kippins
Guyana Chronicle
December 20, 2001

IN AN effort to improve the efficiency of the Ministry of Education, plans are apace to have all schools countrywide fully computerised beginning with the pilot schools. This was disclosed by a Government Information Agency (GINA) report last Tuesday.

The report said that through the Secondary Schools Reform Project (SSRP), the Ministry has embarked on a Management Information System and Education Management System in an effort to produce a School Information and Education System. Under this project, Head Teachers and School Secretaries will be introduced to an information package geared towards producing timely reports and statistics of the functioning of schools nationwide.

The GINA report said: “This information, which will be generated at the initial stage of the school, will at the touch of a button be available to Education Departments and the Central Ministry. Information regarding class attendance of both teachers and pupils will be available as well as statistics regarding the teaching composition of schools. School Managers will be able to duplicate information in a fast and effective manner, thus allowing for the quick processing of transcripts.

“According to the Director of SSRP, Dr. Kenneth Hunte, this move to computerise the Ministry will significantly improve the efficiency of school management.

“Jillian Orford, Education Consultant, along with Project Manager, Wayne Shepard from Fujitsu, and Roy Pryor, Senior Consultant from CAPITA, a United Kingdom firm, has been conducting training for the implementers of this phase of the SSRP at the Cyril Potter College of Education, Turkeyen, since August of this year. Local persons from the Ministry working along with the team are Fiona Holder, Systems Analyst and Imran Baksh, Software Specialist.

“Although this component will initially be implemented in the 12 pilot schools before being extended to other schools nationwide, it is expected that it will be an excellent tool for the Ministry of Education. Other Caribbean countries such as Barbados, Bahamas, Jamaica, Belize and Trinidad and Tobago have implemented similar programmes into their school systems and have experienced success in their management, the GINA story noted.

It quoted Dr Hunte as saying: “In order to plan more effectively for the future development of the Ministry, and to develop a better quality service to the public, it had to have relevant information about how children are performing in the school system, about whether we need teachers and what training our managers such as Head Teachers, Deputy Head Teachers, and Heads of Departments need.”

GINA stated that over US$1M has already been spent on the programme to date. According to Dr. Hunte, plans are in place to have Nursery, Primary and Secondary Schools fully computerised. He is of the opinion however, that this plan will become fully effective in five years. There are aspirations for a recording system of student information from the time they enter the school system to the time they leave. The overall objective of the plan is to ascertain the state of the education system at any time, and this information will be available to anyone, from the Minister of Education to any teacher of the school.

The information system of the Ministry will also allow for greater accountability of resources, both financial and human resources. “If we can use our resources more effectively, it means that we can get more children better educated throughout the entire country,” said Dr. Hunte.

Even schools in rural areas can be effectively planned for to ensure equality of opportunity and the maintenance of equity, the GINA report concluded.