Education Management Information System (EMIS)

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EMIS in Africa is referred to in major documents as the following.


Second decade of education for Africa (2006-2015)

The Conference of Ministers of Education of the African Union has adopted Education management information systems as one of the areas of focus for the Second Decade of Education

Excerpts from the plan of action: Pages 6 & 7 on Education Management Information Systems (EMIS)

29. Goal: To reverse the current phenomenon of ‘data blank’ and facilitate planning based on sound information; and rigorous monitoring and evaluation of the performance of education systems. The availability of well-functioning and sustainable EMIS, at continental, regional and national levels is a necessity for this function.
30. Rationale and Focus: While in the last decade Member States were able to improve their statistical systems, many of them continue to face challenges in producing quality statistical data in a regular and timely manner. EMIS is a system for processing information for the management of education resources and services. It provides vital evidence to feed into decision-making, and should be designed to support policy-making, research and development.
31. Africa needs to come up with its own data, with comprehensive databases that are comparable across countries. This calls for integrated continental and regional networks. As a move towards harmonisation and integration of systems, concerted efforts will be made to identify critical issues and to develop appropriate common indicators as instruments for monitoring the level of each country’s compliance with the continental plan.
32. It will be necessary to build capacity at both institutional and individual expert levels to ensure development and maintenance of EMIS capable of producing reliable statistical data, and for effective analysis and use of the data for monitoring and policy development purposes.
33. An African Education Observatory will be established as a vehicle for co-ordinating EMIS activities. The Observatory will be managed by the AU Commission. Other responsibilities of the Observatory will be to:
  1. Develop and maintain an Internet Portal;
  2. Update and promote the EMIS assessment / diagnostics reports;
  3. Manage documentation (training materials, research reports, ongoing EMIS projects, technical partners, catalogue and agenda of regional and continental CB training, etc);
  4. Develop and update the African indicators database;
  5. Promote the network of experiences and expertise; and
  6. Develop and maintain the continental EMIS
  7. Co-ordinate needs assessment and training in EMIS.

see also the matrix of activities for the EMIS focus area of the plan

Regional Capacity Building Strategy for EMIS, in SADC (ADEA 2009)

Prepared by ADEA Working Group on Education Policy Support for the SADC Secretariat, March 2009

Excerpts from pages 12-14 of the document.

2.2 The Role of EMIS

African governments, among other developing regions and development partners have committed themselves to management for development results. This “results based management” involves focusing on performance and outcomes. The results based management approach is data intensive and predicated on the notion that there is both the capacity to demand and effectively use statistics for policy analysis and design (statistical capacity) and the national capacity to produce better statistics on a sustained basis, on a scale and time frame relevant to policy makers (statistical supply). To conclude on this point, Education Management Information system (EMIS) is an essential tool for processing information for the management of education resources and services.

Hua and Herstein (2003) define EMIS as an institutional service unit producing, managing, and disseminating educational data and information, usually within a national Ministry or Department of Education. The management functions of EMIS include collecting, storing, integrating, processing, organising, outputting, and marketing educational data and statistics in a timely and reliable fashion. This requires sufficient qualified personnel in key EMIS positions; with the minimum number consisting of an EMIS manager, a statistician, a survey administrator, a programmer, a hardware and software maintenance expert, and some data capturers at the national level.( Hua. H and Herstein, J. (2003). Education Management Information System (EMIS): Integrated Data and Information Systems and Their Implications In Educational Management. A paper presented at the Annual Conference of Comparative and International Education Society, New Orleans, LA, USA.)

2.3 Standards in EMIS Development

An EMIS system is only as good as its component parts. EMIS design, development and maintenance is a complex, challenging, labour intensive and expensive undertaking that requires a balanced emphasis on policy, processes, resources and reporting issues that also integrate the aspect of quality.

Thus, a good EMIS system is one that fully conforms to the following component criteria1.( Details of the standards accompanying each criterion are contained in the 'EMIS Norms and Standards for SADC Ministries of Education'. A document prepared by ADEA Working Group on Education Policy Support for the SADC Secretariat in March 2009 )

A. Policy and Legal Framework

MANDATE FOR DATA COLLECTION: The Ministry of Education must have a clear legal mandate to collect information from all education and training institutions and bodies, both public and private, for educational statistical purposes.
QUALITY COMMITMENT: The Ministry of Education commits itself to work and cooperate according to the norms fixed in the quality declaration of its national statistical systems and in other international statistical frameworks.
STATISTICAL CONFIDENTIALITY: The Ministry of Education guarantees the privacy of data providers’ individuality, the confidentiality of the information they provide and its use for statistical purposes only.
REPORTING ACCOUNTABILITY: The Ministry of Education adheres to a policy of timely and accurate reporting to the statistical information requirements of national, regional, continental and international education frameworks.
IMPARTIALITY AND OBJECTIVITY: The Ministry of Education must produce and disseminate education statistics respecting scientific independence and in an objective, professional and transparent manner in which all users are treated equitably.
REGISTRATION OF INSTITUTIONS: All education and training institutions must be compelled to register with appropriate education Ministries if they are to operate as an education and training institution.
REGISTRATION OF LEARNERS: All learners are required to present their birth certificate upon registration at any education and training institution.

B. Resources Availability and Utilisation

ADEQUATE RESOURCES: The Ministry of Education ensures that resources are commensurate with the statistical programmes, personnel, facilities, equipment, technology, training and financing of their education management information systems.
COST EFFECTIVENESS: Resources must be effectively used.

C. Statistical processes

SOUND METHODOLOGY AND APPROPRIATE STATISTICAL PROCEDURES: Sound methodology must underpin quality statistics. This requires appropriate statistical procedures throughout the entire statistical value chain.
NON-EXCESSIVE BURDEN ON RESPONDENTS: The reporting burden should be proportionate to the needs of the users and should not be excessive for respondents. The Ministry of Education monitors the response burden and set targets for its reduction over time.

D. Education Information Reporting

RELEVANCE: Education statistics must meet the needs of users.
ACCURACY AND RELIABILITY: Education statistics must accurately and reliably portray reality.
TIMELINESS AND PUNCTUALITY: Education statistics must be disseminated in a timely and punctual manner.
COHERENCE, COMPARABILITY AND INTEGRATION: Education statistics should be consistent internally, over time, and comparable between regions and countries; it should be possible to combine and make joint use of related data from different sources
ACCESSIBILITY AND CLARITY: Education statistics should be presented in a clear and understandable form, disseminated in a suitable and convenient manner, available and accessible on an impartial basis with supporting metadata and guidance
COMPREHENSIVENESS: Education statistics and information report on all sectors of education and training.

Monitoring and Evaluation systems exist to assess what works and what does not work. Effective evaluation is based on good feedback. In an education system, a routine system evaluation must be put in place and evaluators must design sufficient indicators for this process as well-developed indicators assist in adjusting or re-adjusting the course of educational development and reform. For this reason, EMIS is a prerequisite for monitoring and evaluating activities of the sector.

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