MALDIVES LAUNCHES MEMIS TO TRANSFORM THE EDUCATION SECTOR IN AN INNOVATIVE APPROACH TOWARD SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
MALE’, MALDIVES – 01 August 2017. The Honourable Minister of Education, Dr. Aishath Shiham, launched the Maldives Education Management Information System (MEMIS) on 16 July 2017, in a ceremony in Male’ attended by the UNICEF Regional Director for South Asia, Dr. Jean Gough. The launch of MEMIS is an historic achievement in transforming the national education system in the country from an annual survey of the education system to a real-time, student-based information system. By tracking each student from the time they enter the education system, until they leave, MEMIS will now help to ensure every citizen of the Maldives obtains a high quality education at all levels. This is one of the most important steps in improving the lives of the citizens of the country and to achieving sustainable development in the years ahead.
This innovation, the first of its kind in South Asia, represents the commitment of the Ministry of Education to a modern management information system for the education sector. It is a commitment that reflects an understanding of the central role of data in decision making and in improvements to the delivery of services and ultimately the learning outcomes for all students. Speaking at the launch ceremony, Dr. Shiham reflected on the fact that, “the education system in Maldives has expanded significantly in terms of enrolment, staffing and facilities over the years. [This] has led to increased demand for relevant, accurate and timely statistics to support educational planning, effective allocation of resources and making well informed and timely decisions.” The Minister went on to note that, “this milestone event demonstrates the government’s commitment to the provision of evidence-based education to all and to provide improved access to relevant and quality education. MEMIS system would be marking a new era in educational data management and planning.”
MEMIS was implemented in the Maldives by Community Systems Foundation with support from UNICEF under the global OpenEMIS initiative. OpenEMIS is part of UNESCO’s response to increase demand for support in the area of open source software solutions for education system planning and management. OpenEMIS supports the building of a robust and reliable Education Management Information System (EMIS) and the strengthening of national capacities in the provision of reliable information for the planning, monitoring and evaluation of education systems.
In the Maldives, the Ministry of Education is currently implementing a series of reforms to enhance its capacity to monitor the education sector and guarantee that the objectives outlined in the national education policy are met. All of the objectives detailed in the education policy reference the need to improve the quality of the services and outputs relevant to education in the country. In order to improve delivery, accountability and transparency, the MoE has highlighted the importance of MEMIS to collect, analyse and disseminate education data.
MEMIS has modules for (a) data capture on institutions, students, staff; (b) computation of standards-based education indicators in compliance with internationally recommended methodology; (c) consolidated data warehouse of all education data in the country; (d) advanced methods for data reporting, data visualization, and dissemination to all stakeholders, including ministry planners, principals, teachers, parents, students. MEMIS integrates these features into the national MoE management processes to ensure that education data are put to appropriate use in decision support at all levels of the education system.
MEMIS empowers teachers to better manage their classroom activities and to communicate results to students and their families. It empowers local education authorities to use information generated from the schools to make decisions and to take action to improve the conditions for students and staff in their communities. The system empowers the Ministry of Education to take informed decisions on policy and education sector plans and to monitor those plans in real-time.
This occasion marks a great accomplishment of the Ministry of Education. MEMIS reflects a growing understanding of the importance of administrative data in monitoring national priorities and global commitments. With data at the student level, the Ministry of Education is now able to ensure no one is left behind in education. MEMIS includes a systematic approach to tracking vulnerable at high risk of dropping out of school. The system triggers action to help keep these students in school by early detection and targeted interventions. MEMIS also tracks student competency-based assessments in coordination with the rollout of the revised national curriculum. These revolutionary data-driven innovations will change the education system in the country, and serve as cutting-edge models to lead to changes in the region and beyond.
The launch of MEMIS marks a new beginning in the education sector in the Maldives. The real work has just begun. It is time now to use the data generated by the system to strengthen analysis and planning, for informed decisions, for datadriven results, and ultimately, for better learning outcomes. MEMIS provides the opportunity for every school in the Maldives to monitor its service delivery and improve planning decisions in real time.