Wednesday, August 24, 2011

NKRA Education Saps...

As positive and upbeat that I try to be with the latest MOE NKRA effort via the online Sistem Analisis Peperiksaan Sekolah or SAPS, I have this to say. SAPS literally saps our time. Marks which used to take me around 5-10 minutes to key per class into our internal exam analysis software now can easily take double the time. Many of my colleagues take even longer than that, especially those who are more wary of computers. As a result a lot of time is wasted...

After a few times on it, I have this to say. First, this software was badly written. Poor interface. And it does not run very well on Safari too. Who did the MOE pay to write it? The computer programmers must really lack skill and imagination. Imagine having to log out after keying in marks for each class? 5 classes meant logging in and out 5 times! Peak hour usage means system jamming up. The servers do not seem to have the ability to handle the capacity. I wonder what will happen if 100,000 teachers try to key in data simultaneously. The system will probably crash I think. So you get teachers working the graveyard shift, keying in those darn marks! LOL! The Ministry implemented this without taking into consideration that we do not have enough computers too in the school for such a task. If all of us were to use school computers, the wait would probably be long.

And keying in the Headcount... ETR, TOV... a bunch of numbers which actually still don't mean much. A kid can still blow his exam away despite awesome ETR and TOV. And what is there to stop a teacher from just randomly keying in a figure? Who is going to check? The numbers look nice but their addition to the system is not really a necessity. What they seem to do is to give this business model feel to education... have the corporate feel? Kah! Kah! Kah! I cannot help but feel that we are more concerned about outward appearances more than anything else.

For years, I have been keying in data, marks and grades into another online system for the SPM, one that works only with IE. The IOS from Apple has been taking the world by storm, yet our people up there still don't see it fit that sites that run on IE be modified to accommodate this new development. It's not like Apple overtaking the PC is a new phenomena. Moreover, we have IPads coming into the picture too. Imagine the convenience and ease that tablet computing can contribute to enhancing data analysis and management. Tablet computing will probably be changing the way education operates in the near future.

While over the years, there have been improvements but I wonder too why the NKRA planners didn't expand and upgrade on existing systems. The PMR has another system running too... and probably the UPSR too. We shout out all these nice sounding programs but fail to integrate the existing systems into one cohesive system. Wouldn't it be more practical to have a system that follows a student throughout his schooling career. What happens now is, at every 'level' a new system is used. What kind of NKRA is that? Makes one wonder whether we have visionaries up there or just reactionists steering the ship? Cos reactionists react. They don't really plan well ahead too.

So sapped, many teachers seem to be by this latest SAP system. LOL! With so many developing headaches after this latest round of prolonged clerical job, what kind of NKRAs are they expecting for the teaching part? I suspect, as in and like many of the things around me, this one is also more for show that something is being done now... Never mind that the programme seems rather cacat.....

Ah! Good thing the break is just around the corner. NKRA... Is our education system indeed getting better? I know one of our local universities finally broke into the the 500 of the Shanghai Ranking. But how do our graduates actually measure up against their counterparts from other parts of the world? The general perception seems to be that they aren't measuring up too well.... there are some who feel that our grads are only comparable to those from the Philippines. Our schooling system seems have a more sophisticated feel but I am not too sure where real ground is.

Am I sapped by this latest NKRA addition? Not really but I think It wastes our time because the planners failed to do their homework.

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