By Luyanda Makapela
The Department of Education has launched a new system to collect the data of each learner in the country and track their movement throughout their school careers.
Addressing reporters at the official launch of the National Learner Unit Record Information and Tracking System (LURITS) in Pretoria, Minister of Education Naledi Pandor said the system would for the first time ensure the department has accurate enrolment numbers for learners in all schools.
"The tracking component of the system will make it possible to identify learners who exit one school and do not re-enter the system at another school.
"In this way, we will be able to identify the individual learners who have left the system and to compile accurate profile of these learners,' she said, adding that the system was ready to be rolled out countrywide.
The system is expected to be fully operational by January 2010.
Minister Pandor said LURITS will assign each learner a unique tracking number that will remain with the learner throughout their school careers.
The system will bring about a significant change in the way in which the national Education Management Information System (EMIS) collects information to support planning, monitoring and decision-making in the system.
"Currently, the EMIS collects aggregate survey data twice a year from each school and integrates it into a national aggregated store.
"With the new method of data collection in place, we will house the individual information records of each learner and will be regularly updated with changes and movements,' said Minister Pandor.
Following the identification of the system in 2006, the department tasked the State Information and Technology Agency (SITA) to develop the LURITS and work on a functional design.
The Western Cape Department of Education introduced a pilot learner tracking system, which was analysed by SITA and adapted to be the blueprint for the design on the national system.
The central system is physically located at SITA in Centurion and is divided on a virtual level into nine provincial systems that interact at national level.
"The system contains a sophisticated access control module that enables a province to delegate certain functions to district and regional level.
"Each file that is sent to the central system will be compressed and encrypted for security purposes,' said Minister Pandor.
Deputy Director General on System Planning and Monitoring Firoz Patel said National Treasury has allocated R136 million towards the project and to be shared between the provinces while R30 million has been allocated for national department.
Tracking system to assist in learner record keeping
The Department of Education has launched a new system to collect the data of each learner in the country and track their movement throughout their school careers. The system will for the first time ensure the Education Department has accurate enrolment numbers for learners in all schools.
By Luyanda Makapela
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