Head of Statistics and ICT Unit of Kwara SUBEB, ZakariyauAbdulqadir, (2nd right) and Paul Wildenberg, ESSPIN database software developer (right), during a training for SSOs and SMOs on data entry
Kwara State now consolidates all educational data in one database, technically supported by ESSPIN, taking the Education Management Information System (EMIS) beyond the Annual School Census (ASC) data. “EMIS enables us to collect reports from Annual School Census (ASC) and school visits by School Support Officers (SSOs), Social Mobilisation Officers (SMOs) and staff of the Quality Assurance Bureau (QAB) into one database for better planning”, ZakariyauAbdulqadir, Head of Statistics and ICT Unit of Kwara SUBEB said. Within the database, SSOs and SMOs now have access to reports for better and more specific school support. HassanatAbdulkadir, the SMO for Ilorin South observed that her ability to view SSO reports within the database helps her determine which schools need more infrastructure, teachers or learning materials, and present same accordingly. “As SMO, the data we feed into the system also enables the SUBEB to have a broader perspective of the educational resources available in school, and the needs yet to be met”she continued. Before the initiative, reporting was all paper-based. The papers usually ended up on shelves unused. This resulted in a kind of guess-work planning. To turn the situation round, “This innovation and its back-up preserve all information from SMO and SSO reports”, Paul Wildenberg the Software developer from ESSPINaffirmed. “The EMIS team also ensures that reports are brought to the attention of policy makers for planning purposes”, he added. Once data is fed into the system, users can generate summary reports according to programmed categories, e.g. schools, clusters, Local Governments, the state, infrastructure, classrooms, teacher attendance, pupil-teacher ratio, drop-out children, Community Education Management and Information Systems (C-EMIS), learning and instructional materials. For data entry into the system after school visits,
the state has set up centres for schools in the 16 Local Government Education Authorities (LGEAs) also used by SMOs and SSOs. The officers have been trained on data entry and admonished to remain consistent in using the database to provide information for quality basic education planning. The state secured Education Trust Funds for ICT to set up the database centres in the 16 LGEAs. These ICT centres now serve a dual purpose, as computer laboratories for pupils and as database centres. “Collecting educational data in one place makes it easier for educational planners to access information in real time. It also helps to tackle issues that need intervention since policy makers will be able to access the data right from their offices,”said Ganiyu O. Akewushola, Head of Section, Social Mobilisation in Ilorin East. For sustainability, database training will become part of the induction process for every new SMO and SSO employed by Kwara State Government. This initiative is part of the integral education policy thrust of the state which ESSPIN supports, that Every Child Counts.