The Ministry of Education officials have hinted at abolishing the National Education Management Information System (NEMIS) which was created in 2017.
The officials said the government will do away with the NEMIS system due to its inefficiency and spend millions of shillings to build a fresh data system to capture learners’ details under the new education curriculum.
The officials led by State Department for Implementation of Curriculum Reforms PS Fatuma Chege say NEMIS as presently designed, cannot capture accurate data for learners and educational institutions.
A presentation to MPs by Chege poked holes into the NEMIS system saying ‘it has issues.’
“I found issues being raised about NEMIS when I joined the ministry… But we need a new database for our function of monitoring and evaluating learners across the entire education system,” said Chege.
The PS was speaking last week when she led top official in her office to appear before the National Assembly Education Committee chaired by Florence Mutua. Even though Chege did not state how much the new system would cost, she hinted of a Sh572 million gap to fund a number of activities in her office.
“Our funding request was raised to Sh911.90 million. This leaves us with a deficit of Sh572.60 million,” said Chege.
The development gives a glimpse into the cost of Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC) under the 2-6-3-3-3 education system.
Chege listed six top challenges her department is facing on the implementation of the new curriculum, among them being inadequate funding of the activities in her office.
Other hiccups she said are emergent policy concerns, which necessitate strengthening of collaborations with stakeholders, including county governments, sports and talent development entities.
She also cited inadequate staffing, weak technical capacities for monitoring and evaluation of curriculum reforms among education management staff and general misinformation about curriculum reforms.
What, however, stood out is the challenge on uncoordinated data sources. Kezzia Wandera, deputy director quality assurance and standards, said NEMIS only aligns itself to primary and secondary education and does not take care of pre-primary, tertiary and university education.
“We would want a one-stop shop of data from pre-primary, all the way to tertiary and universities. This is how we shall be able to holistically execute the mandate we have been assigned,” said Wandera.
This means that the multi-million system launched in 2017 when Fred Matiang’i was the Education Cabinet Secretary may be abolished and more money pumped into a new system. According to CBC task force report, each learner should be given a tracking number at Grade 3 after sitting school-based assessments,
The number, according to the report, will be used to monitor learners progress as they transition in the subsequent education levels.
“This unique number will be used throughout the learners academic life and will be used to track their performance,” said Chege.
Interestingly, when NEMIS was launched in 2017, it was billed as the ultimate one-stop shop for all learners data.
The Ministry of Education has several times attempted to use the NEMIS system for disbursement of Free Primary Education (FPE) bt with little success.
In a circular dated 10th March 2021, the Principal Secretary Education, Julius Jwan, had said Ministry will not use the manual enrollment record of learners which has been in place since 2003 because its prone to errors and that schools should ensure learners are captured on Nemis platform by 30th March.
Jwan said the Directorate of Primary Education intends to change the mode of FPE disbursement to Nemis system with effect from April 2021.
The Principal Secretary further warned school heads that they are solely responsible for the data captured on Nemis.
“Headteachers are responsible for any data regarding their school, this minimises chances of human error and any changes and any changes required are made by the headteacher thus ensuring continous update of data,” said Jwan.
This was the second attempt by the Ministry to change mode of funding schools based on Nemis after a similar attempt failed in 2019. However this too failed as most primary schools failed to capture their learners on NEMIS on time.