Importance of education has been recognized all over the world. All the advanced countries have higher level of education in comparison to the level of education in developing and under-developed countries. The difference in the economy, standard of living, health care, and every other areas can be linked with education. Education empowers to understand issues, think about others, develops an understanding of social responsibility, honesty, no harm to others and not to adopt wrong means. It creates a healthy competition among individuals, groups, departments, organizations and countries.
Prosperity and poverty, technological advances, military power, trade and business are linked to the level of education. Education helps in competency building, developing self-confidence and respect to each other. Education contributes in character building and nation building. Countries all over the world have realized the importance of education and have assigned priority to education programs. The constitution of many of the countries lay down education as a fundamental right of the citizens. Federal governments, state governments, local bodies, business houses and non-governmental organizations have focused their attention to this important sector.
World organizations like UNESCO, UNDP, World Bank, Asian Development Bank are having number programs to improve the education level of the population. Special emphasis has been given to the education of women and the girls. It has been recognized that to improve the health of the country whether economic health or health of any other area, it is the education of female population which can change the face of the society and the country. Therefore, education is the fore front activity everywhere. It is very important to know the status of education in the country and make plans for further improvements. This calls for an information system.
The issue of "Education for All (EFA)‟ was deliberated in the World Education Forum held at Dakar in 2000. The forum was attended by participants from 150 countries representing 160 governmental and non-governmental organizations. Progress in the basic education worldwide achieved during the last 10 years since 1990 was reviewed. The focus of the review was to study the status of the achievements made, problems encountered and to decide on the action plans to be pursued. The review showed that majority of countries had an updated database based on regular school census, whose quality and reliability was not sound and not suitable for developing suitable policies and strategies.
Some of the short comings of the Management Information System (MIS) of various countries included problems of presentation and dissemination of statistical information. Data was found to be in raw form unsupported by proper analysis. An Education Management Information System (EMIS) should be capable to collect, store and process the information. In addition it should also provide the required and accessible information for education policy-making. The role of EMIS has now changed and is seen as an indispensable tool and support system for the formulation of education policies, their management and evaluation. Many of the countries are actively engaged in the EFA programs. Education Management Information System (EMIS) has now become a necessity and a key word.
The EIS was specifically designed to collect information of enrolment levels, retention rates, facilities, qualified teachers, faculties and other information from the census form. The purpose of EIS was to provide support to state level planning and to generate reports. The output of these efforts had a direct impact on the planning process and in identifying the anomalies in the education system. The study showed that EIS is not effectively used in education planning at the federal as well as state levels. One of the reason for this state of affair is that EMIS lacked the base-line information. The functioning of the government with various layers made it difficult to collect and collate the education data. The planning process in education was not supported by the EIS due to poor reliability of data and lack of information of the policy directions by the federal government to the various agencies and to the state governments.
Although the role of collecting and collating the data by the federal government, state government and the local bodies was clearly defined in the legislation, yet there were overlapping areas. The EMIS suffered due to difficulties in collection of the survey data, poor commitment from the stakeholders as well as lack of capacity. Another important reason for the failure of EMIS was lack of interest taken by the federal government and poor coordination between state agencies. It was observed that there were resources crunch in collecting the data, analyzing the data collected and transforming the data into policies and strategies. The case showed that although centralization of data collection did not show a weak system but the pilot study taken up with decentralization in collecting the survey data at the state level, revealed that the results were good with decentralization of data collection. It is suggested that this approach may usefully be followed by other developing countries also. Political structure of the government and stability of the government was also seen to have influenced the failure of EMIS. Centralized system, lack of proper structure in the country, lack of knowledge and inadequate training of the staff were identified as the shortcoming of the EMIS.
Development of IT infrastructure helped in technical reforms of EMIS and was definitely a booster in the success of EMIS. Preparation of Education Strategic Plans (ESP) and setting up of a central agency to plan and monitor the program helped in the success of EMIS. Development of standardized software also helped the program. Number of improvements were made on the behest of donor agencies. It is a web based system under the control of a central agency along with decentralized organization for collection of data. The database covered the education data, publications, training materials at the federal level and similar data of the State Ministry of Education and State Universal Basic Education Board.
The lessons learnt from the case of EMIS are that the role of federal government is very important in the success of EMIS. Developing a good organizational structure both at the central as well as at state level and active participation of private sector in data collection and data analysis contribute greatly in assisting the preparation of plans and strategies for education.
Implemetasi EMIS will be successful through the following strategies:
First, educational institutions should have autonomy on four things: their power and authority, continuous knowledge development, access to information to all sections and rewards to everyone who succeeds.
Second, the active participation of the community in terms of financing, the decision-making process of the curriculum and instructional and non-instructional.
Third, the leadership of principals is able to mobilize and utilize every educational institutions resources effectively.
Fourth, there is a democratic decision-making process in the life of an active educational institutions council.
Fifth, all parties must understand their roles and responsibilities seriously.
Sixth, the existence of guidelines from the relevant Ministry of National Education so as to encourage the process of education in educational institutions efficiently and effectively. Guidelines should not be in the form of rules that restrict and shackle the educational institutions.
Seventh, Educational institutions should have transparency and accountability that are minimally manifested in the accountability report annually.
Eighth, the application of educational institutions should be directed to the achievement of educational institutions performance and more specifically to improve student learning achievement.
Ninth, the implementation begins with the socialization of the concept of educational institutions, identification of their respective roles, conducts trainings on their new roles, implementation of the learning process, evaluation of field implementation and improvement.