Technology for Good Education Management: Information Management Systems for Education

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This post is also available in: Spanish

The following report is only available in Spanish. 

In recent years, countries in Latin America have started to make the transition from digital information systems to automatized management systems. While most countries currently rely on information systems that collect student and teacher data, integrating this information and ensuring it can be used for informed, real-time decision-making continues to be a challenge for all.

The Working Group on Technology and Innovation in Education met on March 16 to discuss strategies to promote the effective use of Education Management Information Systems (EMIS) in the region. This report presents and analyzes a number of initiatives implemented in countries across Latin America and the Caribbean that contribute to the implementation and effective use of EMIS. Based on the countries’ experiences, the report identifies four characteristics that can determine the effectiveness of EMIS:

  1. Interoperability, or the level of integration between the different parts and functions of the system. Having a well-connected system is essential for facilitating decision-making. Generally, management processes in the region continue to be compartmentalized within ministries or specialized management units.
  2. Accessibility of data and EMIS. Their level of usability and quality determines the extent to which education personnel use EMIS functions, as well as the system’s effectiveness. Increasingly, countries in the region are giving schools, municipalities, and regional units the autonomy to manage their own processes.
  3. Sustainability of the systems over time. To guarantee that advances towards automatic management endure through administration changes and that the systems adapt to incorporate technological innovation, EMIS depend on protective policies and measures that ensure sustainability. In the region, ensuring the sustainability of systems entails a series of challenges related to financing and political will.
  4. Human and infrastructural capacity to upkeep and make use of EMIS. For most countries, implementing an effective EMIS will require a significant investment in order to recruit technical staff and train education personnel, as well as to strengthen the infrastructure of the systems.

KEY MESSAGES:

Beyond technological innovation, developing and implementing an interoperable EMIS that is accessible and sustainable depends on political will and a strategic vision that both mobilizes sufficient resources and engages the necessary actors. The report identifies four strategic areas for improving management systems in the region over the long term:

  • Coordinate and consolidate a common strategic vision which defines a long-term financing plan. The greatest challenge that countries face is the lack of political support and leadership needed to establish educational management as a key investment area.
  • Involve the private sector through formalized collaboration channels and standards for the use of data. Countries should consider acquiring existing high-quality software, which can respond to the changing needs of the education system without requiring a large investment of resources or institutional technical capacity.
  • Invest in training education personnel to guarantee the effective use of EMIS. Even if the level of access to data and management systems increases, not all education personnel have the necessary skills to make use of the available tools.
  • Define regulatory frameworks and guidelines for the protection of data and invest in cybersecurity measures. Create guides to clearly orient the safe and ethical use of data, which in turn, can generate greater opportunities for public-private collaboration and, at the same time, reduce resistance from the public sector.

The Education Program thanks AT&T Foundation, Discovery Education, Facebook, Microsoft, Imaginable Futures, Pearson, SBA Communications Corporation, and Viasat for their generous support in the making of this report. 

READ THE REPORT HERE:

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