New system to track school students

1 October 2008

The Department of Education has launched a new system to collect data on each learner in the country, and track their progress and movement throughout their school careers.

Addressing reporters at the launch of the National Learner Unit Record Information and Tracking System (Lurtis) in Pretoria on Monday, Education Minister Naledi Pandor said the system would for the first time ensure that the department had accurate enrolment numbers for learners in all of the country’s 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,” she said. “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.”

The National Treasury has allocated R166-million toward the system, which is expected to be fully operational by 2010. Of this amount, R136-million will be shared between the provinces, while R30-million has been allocated to the national education department.

Unique tracking number

Pandor said that Lurtis will assign each learner with a unique tracking number, which will be used for the learner throughout their school careers – brining 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 department.

“Currently, the Emis collects aggregate survey data twice a year from each school and integrates it into a national aggregated store,” she said. “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.”

Pilot project

Following the identification of the system in 2006, the department tasked the State Information and Technology Agency (Sita) to develop the Lurtis 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 the Sita offices in Centurion, to the south of Pretoria, 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,” Pandor said. “Each file that is sent to the central system will be compressed and encrypted for security purposes.”

Source: BuaNews