Case study: Education Management Information System in Rwanda
“In Rwanda, Technology is Helping Education to be Catalyst for Peace” describes an initiative to help the Rwanda Ministry of Education keep track of information about students, teachers and infrastructure across various educational institutions under its purview.
The solution being developed since 2007, consists of an Education Management Information System (EMIS) which the teachers, government personnel can use to enter and collect information digitally. Before work started on this project, schools used to “receive questionnaires to fill out by hand about the number of students, grades, etc, which were then collected physically in each district and brought to the ministry for the annual report.”
Among other things, the overview document mentions — “Because in Rwanda not every school or district has access to the Internet, users can store the data on a flash disk and bring it to the District Center or to a cybercafé to upload the information onto the online system.” This is similar to the connectivity issues that some of the C4G class teams, esp. LIS and V2V would be looking to solve for their respective project deployments.
There is not much detail given on technology being used and the business model being followed by the stakeholders (Rwanda Ministry of Education, Microsoft and other partners). This project can be an interesting case study on the following aspects –
- How does the involvement of a major corporate (Microsoft in this case) affect the solution development.
- Is the project technology/deployment closely coupled to the future performance of the corporate involved.
- Does involvement of a large corporate always help (or not help) in reaching an effective, sustainable solution.
- Although it is natural for corporates to employ their own proprietary or open-source technologies, how is the resulting system kept flexible and resilient enough to a possible change of technology in the future.
- Are corporate-backed initiatives prone to more “hidden costs” in the long run vis-a-vis an independent set of developers or an academic group.