In line with the government’s vision to support a diversified and flexible knowledge-based economy, Microsoft partnered with the Ministry of Education (MOE) to enhance IT innovation within classrooms across the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The
ministry deployed an integrated, out-of-the-box solution based on Microsoft SQL Server 2008 data management software, which integrates applications used by 550 schools and consolidates information in a central database for reporting.
The Ministry of Education in the UAE is committed to providing excellent services for students, teachers, administrative staff, and parents. To do this, it needs to give staff access to expert tools and real-time data for MOE reporting requirements. The
ministry’s stakeholders are the departments that perform crucial roles in delivering education services, including administrators and academic staff.
At any one time, the organization holds information for around 600,000 current and past students, and there are now around 230,000 students enrolled at schools in the country. The MOE is also working on integration with the Abu Dhabi Education Council Electronic
Student Information System. Fatima Ali Al Khajah, Head of the Management Information Systems Department, Ministry of Education, says: “A typical example of reporting obligations would be the MOE, which needs to know the number of expected graduates and their
academic performance, so that courses and teaching resources can be planned.”
“We need to connect data across the ministry’s departments and 550 schools, and configure it into useful reports for strategic education planning,” says Al Khajah.
The ministry’s goal was to create an integrated environment, and introduce features to help teachers grade coursework and enter this information directly into a centralized database. Al Khajah says: “Dubai and the Northern Emirates, there are many different
systems that manage student administration, coursework, and human resource functions. We wanted to simplify some of these processes, removing repetition and enhancing accuracy.”
The ministry’s applications already run efficiently, so its objective was to find the right technology for integrating disparate systems, centralizing data, and deploying new administrative functions.
For this large-scale project, the Ministry of Education requested proposals from several solution providers, and evaluated options based on competing technologies such as Oracle and Microsoft. It found what it was looking for in a student information gateway
solution from K12NET. The Microsoft Partner’s out-of-the-box portal is based on Microsoft SQL Server 2008 and uses Microsoft .NET Framework tools to customize the solution to meet its education customers’ needs. “K12NET is developed with international standards
and used by many education agencies, so we were confident that it would deliver the functionality we needed,” says Al Khajah.
K12NET’s student information services portal, which runs on a private cloud, helps deliver tools—such as online grading—for managing coursework. It’s based on an open architecture and integrates all learning and management school systems in the country,
providing stakeholders with business intelligence reports and statistics for strategic planning. Users access the solution through the Internet with a single sign-on, and permissions and policies are managed by the ministry’s IT team.
K12NET set up comprehensive training sessions to teach ministry staff how to use the portal, and these employees then went on to train other staff throughout the UAE. Al Khajah says: “Throughout the deployment, the K12NET team worked closely with us and
proved to be agile. It understood our priorities and clarified long-term objectives. It’s also working with us to share knowledge and ensure we can manage the solution in-house.”
The Ministry of Education now has a robust, reliable student information services portal that connects its stakeholders and provides education staff with modern administrative tools. The K12NET portal has delivered an excellent return on investment through
integration rather than the replacement of the ministry’s existing infrastructure. Mohammad Hammoudi, Public Sector Director, Microsoft, says: “Our strategic partnership with the Ministry of Education in the UAE focuses on enabling teachers to improve teaching
and learning through the effective use of IT.”
Development costs are minimized. The MOE wanted a flexible and sustainable student information services solution with the ability to update without significant investment. Al Khajah says: “With the K12NET solution, we used our existing hardware,
software, and network infrastructure. Our ongoing development costs are minimized because it’s easy to integrate new systems and functionality.”
Administration is more efficient. As part of the implementation, the MOE customized rules for data entry that prevent staff from entering information inconsistently. Teachers now directly enter and verify grades and coursework. Al Khajah
says: “The K12NET portal has dramatically reduced administrative time and the tasks associated with creating reports on student grades and qualifications.”
Solution gives real-time insight into strategic performance. By connecting student information, the ministry has enhanced its operations across the northern Emirates. It now has the data required to create detailed performance reports and
monitor the quality of student services. “When our stakeholders need information, it’s collected from a central Microsoft SQL Server database in the format they require. This supports decision making and improvements,” says Al Khajah.
Staff are more productive. Local school administrators no longer need to prepare reports for the ministry and are free to focus on planning and development. Teaching staff can access student information easily.
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