Management Information Systems in Education
The number of schools in the UK has been declining for decades. Yet recently, the number of students in those schools has started to grow significantly.
In fact, this year, the primary school education system recorded its highest level of pupils since the 1970s. You don’t need an A in maths to work out that the remaining schools have been forced to grow and expand to cope with the numbers. Effective management information systems (MIS) have been key in allowing schools to accommodate this growth.
As schools have grown larger, so too have their needs. New systems are essential to help keep everything on track and enable school managers to keep on top of any issues and people on campus.
These systems have become an increasingly important part of school life. No longer are management information systems simply a nifty bit of tech – they are essential for schools around the country to collectively deal and cope with a swelling national student body.
That’s because good management information systems work for everyone involved in education. They make their jobs easier, cut down on administrative time and give them a holistic view of what is going on at all times. From school governors to the pupils themselves and on every rung of the ladder in-between, strong MIS assist and improve user experiences every day. They give schools the tools and abilities to cope with larger student bodies and so much more.
What exactly is a Management Information System?
Let’s make sure we haven’t skipped a few lessons here and address exactly what comprises a management information system (MIS). It's an IT system that records and collects all manner of information and data and then provides tools for organisation, analysis and reporting.
The more data tracked and recorded on a management information system, such as IRIS Ed:gen, the more useful and powerful it becomes. This virtualisation process gives users of the system a complete and comprehensive overview of a school, enabling them to drill down and discover exactly what is going on. It cuts down administration time, it cuts out the paper trail and it makes it possible for relevant data and records to be pulled up and examined at any time.
A robust MIS becomes a powerful tool for analysis and decision-making. The data recorded can track student performance, teachers and departments. It can monitor the finances of teaching departments, the budget of the school kitchen and keep track of payments by parents. The more systems and sections that are integrated to work with a management Information system, the more powerful it becomes.
For instance, if a school integrates a cashless catering system into its MIS, it would gain a number of benefits. First of all, the school catering staff would be better able to keep track of their stock, most popular meals and their performance month to month. That data would allow them to make better decisions about where to spend their budget in the future. For parents, the records kept by the management information system would allow them to see what their children are actually eating at school and better monitor their health and diet. And finally for students, if the catering system is integrated into the pupil database of the management information system, they can automatically be prevented from ordering any food that they are known to suffer dietary or allergic reactions from.
As the above example shows, the best thing about management information systems is they have benefits for numerous parties. The school staff first and foremost benefit, but also the school’s pupils and their parents gain advantages in almost equal measure.
Another example of a school process that is enhanced when integrated into an MIS would be attendance. In secondary school, attendance that is recorded by biometric or ID card authentication lets teachers and students get straight into lessons without the need to take a register.
In primary schools those solutions are not ideal, what with fingers that are still growing and the responsibility on students to remember their ID cards. Instead attendance can be fed into a management information system by teachers, or even by the pupils themselves on a smart whiteboard, perhaps while pre-ordering and sending their choice of school meal to the school’s catering staff. That’s a good example of how greater system integration around the school can deliver completely new, time and money saving processes.
There is really no limit on the number of systems that would benefit from integration into a school’s management information system. The school library’s effectiveness and efficiency could be assessed and improved, for example, and the use of computers and printers could be more effectively monitored. Schools could keep track of lockers and manage visitors with improved virtual and physical access control measures. Anything that can be digitally recorded or managed can and should be integrated into management information systems by schools.
IRIS understands the need for comprehensive management information systems and their powerful benefits. That’s why with all biometric solutions we offer, we make sure that it is easily and simply integrated into a school’s existing management information systems. We believe our solutions for education are great on their own, but are even better when they are not isolated and instead add value and contribute to an already existing management information system.