By March 2011, the University of Guyana hopes to have its Student Records Management System – or SRMS – up and running at full steam.
This is according to Registrar of the University, Vincent Alexander. The SRMS is the University’s attempt to streamline its data management – especially in the areas of student records and access to same. It encompasses not only the student registration process but will eventually be able to complete an entire profile of each student attending the University. Information from the time a student submits his/her application online to their records just before they graduate and everything in between falls under the SRMS. Grade profiles will eventually be made available online for every student, along with information on their co-curricular activities.
All of this information may not be available to the student, but every time an administrator or head of department needs to deal with one of the more than 5000 students that take the University’s classes, then they simply need to pull up that student’s profile on the SRMS and all the records they need are at their fingertips. The Registrar pointed out that the level of convenience and access to information provided by the SRMS can only improve the University’s ability to serve their students.
Despite all of this however, the system is still a work in progress. Mr. Alexander pointed out that amidst all of the calls for the University to ‘step up its game’ in electronic services, they began using the software immediately after developing it, even though there are still modules that remain to be written and coded.
He notes that as fast as an important module of the software is written it is brought online which is why grades are currently available online, but mostly for the students who are set to graduate this November having completed whatever programme they applied for. Mr. Alexander says, “We are still building … the intention is to go all the way from application to alumni records.”
Asked what would accelerate and improve the implementation of the system, Mr. Alexander replied without hesitation, “More hardware.” The issue of hardware led the Registrar to highlight other issues that the University was having with regards to incorporating Information Technology to a greater extent in their operations.
The Registrar highlighted the fact that the University is expected to do more and more each year on the same basic budget since raising fees is not an option at this point in time. To meet the needs of staff and students, the University has recently taken to purchasing ‘minis’ – small notebooks that allow users to access the system and utilize those basic applications that do not require mountains of processing power.
In the realm of teaching, this usually means access to Office Applications, web browsing and perhaps a few specific applications. Despite what the public may think, the University is only able to outfit the Administrative Offices with personal computers and provide one or two systems for each department, leaving most lecturers to find their own resources – a situation that lecturers in most other countries do not have to contend with and which the University is trying to change.
Mr. Alexander even pointed out that considering the importance of the country’s only University to its development, perhaps President Jagdeo could have considered passing on a few of those 90,000 laptops to the institution.
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