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BUS303 Strategic Information Technology

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  • Course Code: BUS303
  • University: Saylor Academy
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  • Country: United States

Answer:

Introduction: Abstract of Case Study

The current problem in the Ghana Educational System is the lack of support and commitment from the district offices and schools Acheampong et al. (2016). The organization faces problem regarding lacking capacity in having both equipment and skilled personnel. It, therefore, results in developing a vicious circle, which lacks in its level of commitment. The “Ministry of Education and Science” those involved in monitoring the performances and reports are both deportees and part-time staff members. As a result, a significant problem arises due to the absence of clarification between the donors for supporting their data collecting initiatives. This lack of coordination also raises the question of efficiency in the system. Due to the nonexistence of dissemination, a lot of information gets circulated, but appropriate strategies are developed for propagation (Altbach, 2015).

Background

The “Ghana Education Service” (GES) is an organizational body that operates at the national, district and regional levels. The GES is a decentralized structure that is synchronized with the administrative and political divisions of the country (Ansong et al. 2017). The “Education Management Information System” or EMIS is used by the educational stakeholders like the parents, students, educators, educational NGO’s and the consultants of Ghana. It is a digitalized database system, which helps in the deployment of modern educational equipment and innovative systems that can be used for daily management and operational activities. The EMIS works in collaboration with the policy, monitoring, budgeting and evaluation of the several divisions of the organization. It is a decentralized education system, which helps in planning for future developments (Atuahene and Owusu-Ansah, 2013).

Current Problem

In this context, the key problems of the case study are being addressed:

  • Less participation and enrolment of the girl students into the schools and Universities
  • Inadequate presence of qualified and trained teachers and lack of teaching materials and resources
  • Low financial structure of Ghana is depriving the students in getting the free education

Critical Analysis of the Current Practices

The EMIS plays a major role in assisting the “Ministry of Education and Science” in formulating several strategic policies, development of operational plans and monitoring the progress of the pre-defined objectives. The current practice of EMIS is the collection of periodic data and information that is held at the head offices and regional offices for reviewing the progress (Boso and Gross, 2016). The establishment of EMIS is done for better utilization of the resources that helps in planning future developments. These reports help in understanding the extent of the necessity of future funding within the universities based on their past performance.

Analyzing current problems using SWOT Analysis 

The information System has both positive and negative impacts on the business performance, organizational culture, structure and operational processes. In this context, the SWOT analysis of the current practice of EMIS refers to the discussion of the “Strengths," "Weaknesses," “Opportunities” and “Threats” of the system.

2.1.1) Lack of Central Database

The EMIS system is in digitalization of the educational activities within the schools and Universities. The other strength of EMIS system is improving the tracking and monitoring systems of the educational systems in Ghana. Moreover, the initial database of EMIS is incompatible that prevent the system from integrating the data and information received from the other agencies like IPPD, WAEC, etc.   Gaddah et al. (2016) stated that EMIS includes the software data and information that helps in analysis of the information. But, due to the outdated version of technology provides a limitation to the organizational storage system. This data collection and generation of data is done through digitalized database system, but due to lack of the central database, the time and resources are not utilized properly.

2.2.2) Increased Redundancies

As mentioned by Fenenga et al. (2015), the problem arises when the increased absentees of the teachers, is becoming a growing obstacle to the education system in Ghana. The social structure also implies the existing locations of EMIS that enables staff members in carrying out several functions in an effective way. It doesn’t involve the internal politics for hampering the social, educational system.

2.2.3) Lack of Financial Aid

According to Eshun et al. (2014), the “Ministry of Education” is involved in monitoring the progress of EMIS in Ghana’s educational system. The EMIS is focused towards reviewing as well as building an effective capacity for decentralized management system in Ghana. The Educational Fund that was established in 2012 that granted nearly $75.5 million USD to nearly 57 deprived and underprivileged districts in Ghana. The EMIS also influences the decision that helps in allocation of the resources. Eta (2015) opined that the economic position and framework of Ghana is below the global average economy level. The educational rates increase at a rapid rate from 2012 onwards, and the Ghana Government played an important role in the education system and developing its infrastructure. The GES provides funding to the EMIS system for modernizing it, but the funding is insufficient for its progression.

2.2.4) Lack of Trained Employees

EMIS system is the high rate of staff turnover when the employees are trained. The technical assistance is also provided to the employees and staff members for effective handling of the EMIS system. According to Cronk et al. (2015), after getting initial training, the district staff members tend to leave the GES and join high pay private organizations. As a result, the GES has to train more employees for handling the EMIS system. Moreover, the continued lack of human and technological resources is creating a difficulty in the process of collecting data and information.

2.2.5) Focus on Primary and Secondary Schools

As mentioned by Bruce (2016), the hardware and software systems are combined for better performance of the educational institutes of Ghana. It helps in sensitizing the educational officials in collecting data and information about educational planning. The EMIS system is its primary focus on the basic education system, which covers pre-schools and junior schools. Due to this, the colleges and universities are facing difficulty in progressing in the competitive global education system. (Cloete and Maassen, 2015).

2.2) Evaluating the impact of Information Systems (IS) on business performance and development

The Information System (IS) used in the GES has caused the immense problem in the business, its operational process, structure, and culture. As mentioned by Gyimah-Brempong and Asiedu (2015), the IS infrastructure in GES is outdated and is fragmented in nature. The database was developed by using MS Access, and it resulted in having a limited capacity of storage. It also limits the ability in linking the data sets that is produced by the government organizations. It, therefore, causes the problem in storing data and information, which prevents the GES system in accessing the correct information regarding the data collection and analysis. As stated by Iyengar et al. (2016), due to the usage of outdated IS, the GES is facing a fierce competition globally from the various international educational systems. The current educational system in Ghana is in jeopardy as the politicians have started interrogating into the educational system. With the introduction of IS system into the educational system of Ghana, the riddles and inefficiencies within it are creating nightmares in the business process, culture and structure of the primary schools to higher secondary educational sectors. Due to poor usage of IS in Ghana, the information collected from different data collecting organizations differ from one another, making it difficult for GES in estimating and understanding the actual educational scenario in Ghana (Kankam, 2016).

According to La Ferrara and Milazzo (2014), due to poor IS system used in GES, the staff members and employees face a strong incompetency from the global educational systems. The GES also faces problem in handling the modern and innovative technology due to limited staff and their knowledge regarding usage of modern technologies into the system. Moreover, due to the usage of outdated IS system, the census coverage of the performance of the schools remains incomplete. It leads to receiving of less benefit from the GES, which negatively impacts on the teaching culture of Ghana. Mensah and Badu-Shayar (2016) stated that it leads to increased absentees of the teachers and the potentialities of the students are seen to be regressing. The overall educational standard is unable to match with the global educational standard due to the usage of outdated IS system. Along with this, the usage of outdated IS system provides an ambiguous result to the Ministry of Education in Ghana. The validity and reliability of the collected data are not up to the mark due to the usage of outdated IS system. As a result, it may provide inaccurate and wrong information, which hampers the overall education monitoring process and progress in Ghana (Mtebe and Raisamo, 2014).

3.0) Alternative strategies for meeting operational and strategic requirements

Due to the problems that existed in the current practices of GES, the alternative strategies are made that helps in meeting the operational and strategic requirements of the organization. As mentioned by Mtebe (2015), cloud ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system has to be adjoined with the new EMIS system in GES. It will help automating the entire educational enterprises within Ghana. The primary, secondary and tertiary educational sectors in Ghana will be working in the real-time environment. It will ease the data and information collection of the educational sectors, and the Ministry of Education gets an appropriate and accurate position of each of the schools and colleges.

Proposed Strategy

How does the education system of Ghana compete?

By digitalization of the entire education system in Ghana

What are the unique values of the cloud-based ERP system?

Simple Usage, Interactive, Works on Real Time, Manages all the Platforms Automatically, Easy Storage and Retrieval of Data

 

What resources and capabilities does the educational system of Ghana utilize?

Innovative IT, Strong Economy and Expertise Human Power

How will the educational system of Ghana sustain its exclusive values?

Brilliant  User-Interface and Satisfied User-Experience

Table 2: Proposed Strategy

Digitalization of Online Education System 

As stated by Nguyen and Wodon (2014), the cloud ERP system ensures the GES in getting vivid and complete details of the educational centers in Ghana. Summarized and concrete information related to both academic and administrative aspects can be collected through the new technology that is implemented as the alternative strategy in meeting the operational and strategic requirements. It also helps in maintaining and reporting the data of the students, handling the inquiries from the students and also recording the communication with the students. Along with this, the cloud-based ERP system is also used in maintaining the discipline records, maintaining basements, handling records of the examinations and academic progression within the educational sectors. Nudzor (2014) commented that through implementing the new strategy, the payroll processing of the educational sectors is maintained along with the regulatory reportage and reports for the accrediting bodies. Through this new strategy implementation, the workflow in the educational sectors will be smooth and quite effective. It will be easy for GES to monitor the progress of the educational sectors, which will help in reducing redundancy of data and information. The information and data of different schools and colleges are segregated and prevents them from getting mingled and replaced by one another. Due to the presence of huge database in this system, large chunks of data and information can be easily stored and accessed at any point of time (Owusu et al. 2017).

Unique Values of Cloud ERP System

As mentioned by Sommer et al. (2015), with the implementation of the cloud ERP system, the reports of the individual schools and universities are customized, which helps in the development of their processes and procedures. It also helps them in upgrading the efficiency of the administration process and also reduces the cost of manual data collection and analysis of it. The new training sessions to the employees for making these people habituated with the new technology. As a result, it helps in eliminating the bottlenecks of handling data and improves the success of the educators (Awidi and Cooper, 2015). Based on the results, the GES can take suitable and fitting steps for the schools and colleges as per their requirement. The new strategy of implementing cloud-based ERP system in the EMIS helps in integrating all the ongoing activities within the educational systems. According to Ndayambaje et al. (2015), the computerized and digitalized process helps in the effective admission of the students, transmission of educational certificates and completion of the studies. It helps in collaboration with teachers and parents, which helps in monitoring of the attendance of the students and teachers and also monitoring of the educational progression in different schools and colleges.

Resources and Capabilities

According to Rolleston and Adefeso-Olateju (2014), when the cloud-based ERP system will be implemented into the GES, then the employees and staff members have to be educated and trained for its usage. Though it is an automated system, still preliminary knowledge and skills are required by the employees for monitoring the system. Moreover, knowledge is also required for periodic up-gradation and maintaining the overall operation of the system. Along with this, GES should also be particular about providing good remuneration and salary to the employees those handling the operation of this new IT system in the organization. It, therefore, helps in providing a significant impact on the workflow of the organization and its daily operations.

Trucano (2006) commented that with the technological advancement, the accuracy of the analysis process is also improved extensively. In the previous model of EMIS, the outdated software and OS created a problem in accessing and integrating the data and information received from the different educational sectors. It, therefore, created a huge problem for GES in managing and monitoring the overall operations and processes in tackling the schools, colleges, and universities in Ghana

The old EMIS system in Ghana has also faced problem in collecting data and information along with accurate validating of it. The data and information collected from each of the educational sectors used to get mixed up, which prevented in identifying the new requirements in the educational institutions. As stated by Nguyen and Wodon (2014), the expansion and enhancement phase has specific objectives. But, with the implementation of the new strategy and IT system, the objectives of GES are fulfilled. It, therefore, helped the Ministry of Education in monitoring the accurate data and proceedings of the organization. It also proposed innovative structures within the institutions, which helped in creating a sense of ownership of the process. It also ensured the higher utilization of the data and information and new necessities in the institutions are fulfilled as per their requirements and needs. Hence, with the application of modern and innovative technology, the innovation is integrated into the structure and culture of the organization (Mtebe and Raisamo, 2014).

In the above figure, it is seen that with the implementation of the cloud ERP system in the GES, the overall activities within the system is easily correlated and synchronized. Starting right from the attendance, admission, front office, people connect, performance, accounting, and timetable, every minute details are provided to the GES. It helps in maintaining the entire information of the individual educational sectors, which prevents GES from mingling the schools and colleges (Robb et al. 2014). The information of individual educational sectors is differentiated from one another, which also prevents the data and information getting mixed with one another. It also eases the retrieval of the data and information, which helps in maintaining and monitoring the progression of different schools and colleges in Ghana.

Impact of Cloud ERP system on Educational Sector

The utilization of the modern cloud-based ERP system facilitates the overall usage and allocation of the resources for accomplishing the functionalities of the educational sectors. The utilization of the resources helps in making progress towards achieving and monitoring the targets of each of educational institutions. With the help of the cloud-based ERP system, the entire educational institutions work in an appropriate and methodical way. It helps in supporting the reforms that positively impacts on the educational institutions. It also collects, collates as well as analyses the data received from several universities and schools. With the help of the modern technology, the educational system of Ghana will be upgraded extensively. It will help in reducing the redundancies and dissimilarities in the results. Moreover, it will also improve coordination and also improves the overall operational structure and business structure of the educational system in Ghana. As a result, proper funding and data collection will be facilitated through this innovative approach.

Conclusion

The entire assignment had discussed the implementation of EMIS in GES. It is considered to be one of the best practices in Ghana due to its decentralized planning, supporting and budgeting at various levels. EMIS also plays an important role in the formulation of the policy, subsequent planning and monitoring of the targets through periodic reviews. This is an outdated technology used in the GES system. In this context, the PEST and SWOT analysis of the EMIS system used in Ghana are also discussed. It has discussed that the software issues is one of the major shortcomings of EMIS and low efficiency of the trained personnel also slowed down the entire data processing process of the EMIS system. Due to lack of collection of inaccurate data and information, the verification and monitoring along with providing of proper monetary help are also hampered. Moreover, the incomplete and incorrect collection of data also lowers the chances of census coverage. The major development in the capacity and provision of new equipment will enhance the educational status in Ghana. A modern usage of technology and technological innovation is also discussed in this context, which will help in modernizing the overall educational status of Ghana. A cloud-based ERP system is to be installed in GES, which will help the organization in better monitoring and management of the educational institutions through better utilization of material and human resources.

References

Acheampong, P., Zhiwen, L., Abubakar, R., Asante, H. and Antwi, M.O.A., 2016. Determinants of Students Utilisation of Computer Information Retrieval System in Academic Libraries: Evidence from Ghana. International Journal of Academic Research in Psychology, 3(1).

Altbach, P., 2015. Knowledge and education as international commodities. International higher education, (28).

Ansong, D., Okumu, M., Bowen, G.L., Walker, A.M. and Eisensmith, S.R., 2017. The role of parent, classmate, and teacher support in student engagement: Evidence from Ghana. International Journal of Educational Development, 54, pp.51-58.

Atuahene, F. and Owusu-Ansah, A., 2013. A descriptive assessment of higher education access, participation, equity, and disparity in Ghana. Sage Open, 3(3), p.2158244013497725.

Awidi, I.T. and Cooper, M., 2015. Using management procedure gaps to enhance e-learning implementation in Africa. Computers & Education, 90, pp.64-79.

Boso, C.M. and Gross, J.J., 2016. Challenges in Fostering Critical Thinking of Students in Developing Countries: Ghana as a Case Study.

Bruce, M., 2016. Conditional cash transfers (ccts), education and labor markets: An inquiry into poverty reduction in Ghana through the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) program.

Cloete, N. and Maassen, P. eds., 2015. Knowledge production and contradictory functions in African higher education (Vol. 1). African Minds.

Cloete, N., 2014. The South African higher education system: Performance and policy. Studies in Higher Education, 39(8), pp.1355-1368.

Cronk, R., Slaymaker, T. and Bartram, J., 2015. Monitoring drinking water, sanitation, and hygiene in non-household settings: Priorities for policy and practice. International journal of hygiene and environmental health, 218(8), pp.694-703.

Eshun, I., Bordoh, A., Bassaw, T.K. and Mensah, M.F., 2014. Evaluation of social studies students’ learning using formative assessment in selected Colleges of Education in Ghana. British journal of education, 2(1), pp.39-48.

Eta, E.A., 2015. Policy borrowing and transfer, and policy convergence: Justifications for the adoption of the Bologna Process in the CEMAC region and the Cameroonian higher education system through the LMD reform. Comparative Education, 51(2), pp.161-178.

Fenenga, C.J., Nketiah-Amponsah, E., Ogink, A., Arhinful, D.K., Poortinga, W. and Hutter, I., 2015. Social capital and active membership in the Ghana National Health Insurance Scheme-a mixed method study. International journal for equity in health, 14(1), p.118.

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Sommer, M., Ackatia-Armah, N., Connolly, S. and Smiles, D., 2015. A comparison of the menstruation and education experiences of girls in Tanzania, Ghana, Cambodia and Ethiopia. Compare: A Journal of Comparative and International Education, 45(4), pp.589-609.

Trucano, M. ed., 2006. Education Management Information System: A Short Case Study of Ghana. InfoDev.

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