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Armenia

Unified Information System for Management of Education (AM0042)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Armenia Action Plan 2018-2020

Action Plan Cycle: 2018

Status: Active

Institutions

Lead Institution: Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Armenia

Support Institution(s): National Institute of Educational Technologies (NIET) — implementer, Ministry of Territorial Administration, Yerevan Municipality, Marzpetarans, educational institutions “Armavir development centre” and other NGO

Policy Areas

Access to Information, Capacity Building, E-Government, Education, Legislation & Regulation, Open Data, Public Participation, Public Service Delivery

IRM Review

IRM Report: Armenia Transitional Results Report 2018-2020, Armenia Design Report 2018-2020

Starred: Pending IRM Review

Early Results: Marginal

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Access to Information , Civic Participation , Technology

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

8. UNIFIED INFORMATION SYSTEM FOR MANAGEMENT OF EDUCATION
Commitment Start and End Date Commitment Start: November 2018
Commitment End: August 2020
Lead implementing agency Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Armenia
Person responsible from implementing agency Syuzanna Makyan
Title, Department Head of Preschool and Secondary Education Policy Development and Analysis Division, General Education Department
Email: syuzannamakyan@mail.ru
Phone 010524777, 099961171
Other actors involved Other state actors involved National Institute of Educational Technologies (NIET) — implementer, Ministry of Territorial Administration, Yerevan Municipality, Marzpetarans, educational institutions
Civil society, private sector “Armavir development centre” and other NGO
Issue subject to regulation Performance of the commitment is to exclude of multiple concurrent record-registration of the same learner at various levels of education, to oversight over the process of transferring from one educational institution to the other (of various educational levels as well), to clarify the mechanisms for listing children, to admit and transfer them to educational institutions, to ensure transparency in education, resource-reduction of administration, optimisation of information flows.
Main objective Ensuring, through unified electronic governance, the completeness of information, increasing authenticity, public accountability, effectiveness of work, early detection of the risk of being dropped out from compulsory education and not being included in education and referral, creation of mechanisms for appeal for the main beneficiaries — parents, applying to relevant bodies in case of dereliction, omission or improper fulfilment of duties, commission of violations in any circle.
Brief Description of Commitment Development of a unified information system (which will provide information about the students record-registration, transferring from one educational institution to the other, listing and enrolment) for management of education by including all institutions of educational levels, including pre-school, irrespective of the organisational form and subordination.
It will provide multilevel and comprehensive information on the organization's activities, get acquainted with the reports, be informed about the availability of places, attendance, transfer, withdrawal of students, registration of children in pre-school institutions and other issues, provide feedback for parents, provide possibility to comments and complaints, and be informed on the measures taken to solve the issues.
It will also help to regulate the process of identifying and including children left out of education.
The operation of the system will ensure the realization of each child's educational right, regulating the registration process for schoolchildren, ensuring that the responsibilities of the territorial administration and local self-governing bodies and all other responsible institutions and stakeholders are included in the process of involving children in education.

OGP challenge addressed by the commitment In the sector of education:
 decrease of corruption risks by opening information on students attendance, availability of places, transfer, withdrawal of students, registration of children in pre-school institutions and other issues,
 providing feedback and tracking possibility for parents’ comments and complaints on educational issues
 introduction of innovation
Relevance to OGP values Transparency, accountability, participation, technology and innovation
Ambition Clarification of mechanisms for listing, multiple registration, admission and transfer of children to educational institutions, ensuring transparency, reduction of administration, introduction of appeal mechanisms for parents, settlement of other issues.
Promotes efforts for implementation of SDG Goals or Targets
Verifiable and measurable criteria for performance of commitment Start: End:
Ongoing Actions
Creation of a unified management system
A system for entering information on all the educational institutions of the Republic of Armenia November 2018 January 2019
Ensuring legal grounds. Fixing the relevant provision of the law for such a system in the RA Law on Education: Presentation of legislative draft package to the National Assembly February 2019 December 2019
Informing all participating parties on the created system, the significance, scope and effectiveness of activities. April 2019 August 2019
Summarising the pilot stage, revealing issues, and revising them, upon necessity. Phased introduction of the system, end of the process August 2019 August 2020
Monitoring the launch and introduction of the system. Process assessment December 2019 August 2020

IRM Midterm Status Summary

8. Unified Information System for Management of Education

Language of the commitment as it appears in the action plan: [76]

Brief description: Development of a unified information system (which will provide information about the students record-registration, transferring from one educational institution to the other, listing and enrolment) for management of education by including all institutions of educational levels, including pre-school, irrespective of the organisational form and subordination.

It will provide multilevel and comprehensive information on the organization's activities, get acquainted with the reports, be informed about the availability of places, attendance, transfer, withdrawal of students, registration of children in pre-school institutions and other issues, provide feedback for parents, provide possibility to comments and complaints, and be informed on the measures taken to solve the issues. It will also help to regulate the process of identifying and including children left out of education.

The operation of the system will ensure the realization of each child's educational right, regulating the registration process for schoolchildren, ensuring that the responsibilities of the territorial administration and local self-governing bodies and all other responsible institutions and stakeholders are included in the process of involving children in education.

Milestones

8.1 Creation of a unified management system for entering information on all the educational institutions of the Republic of Armenia.

8.2 Ensuring legal grounds. Fixing the relevant provision of the law for such a system in the RA Law on Education: Presentation of legislative draft package to the National Assembly.

8.3 Informing all participating parties on the created system, the significance, scope and effectiveness of activities.

8.4 Summarising the pilot stage, revealing issues, and revising them, upon necessity. Phased introduction of the system, end of the process.

8.5 Monitoring the launch and introduction of the system. Process assessment.

Start Date: November 2018

End Date: August 2020

Context and Objectives

In Armenia, enrollment in preschool education can be restricted due to the limited number of spaces in kindergartens. An assessment of preschool education access by Save the Children Armenia and Media Model found that common obstacles for admission include waiting in a queue and presenting significant documentation. The assessment also reported instances of corruption in the admissions process. Such instances included requests for special permission from community leaders or bribes and the facilitation of access through a range of informal mechanisms, such as engagement of intermediaries. These trends exist especially in urban public kindergartens, where demand is high for a limited number of preschool establishments. [77] Similar problems have been noticed in secondary schools with high demand and limited admission.

This commitment aims to facilitate the enrollment process through the creation of a joint platform providing information on all educational institutions, including information on licenses, available spaces, and enrollment options. The platform will also provide the opportunity to register and deliver entry documentation online. This practice could reduce the possibility of informal and corrupt mechanisms of enrollment. The system will automatically enroll children according to the sequence of application.

Apart from providing equal opportunities for enrollment, the system will help exclude double-registration of the same child in several establishments. (To secure a space for a child, parents often apply to several schools simultaneously, creating further confusion in the enrollment process.) Also, the system can help facilitate the process of transferring a student from one educational institution to another, which will be done online without additional bureaucratic procedures.

In general, the platform will serve not only parents but also the Ministry of Education and Science and other responsible bodies (municipalities and regional government offices). The overall process of admissions and transfers in educational establishments will be easily tracked and monitored. The commitment will also reduce resource expenses compared to those used before the action plan, because the enrollment process currently requires heavy amounts of paperwork and communication.

Having information on school admissions in one place could also help authorities better track drop-out children by comparing data on school-aged children registered in communities and admitted children. According to the representative of the Ministry of Education and Science responsible for the commitment, the ministry will more easily follow up on this information and report on the drop-out children to the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs. That ministry can undertake further steps for the enrollment of these children. [78]

Finally, the commitment intends to provide a space for parents to leave feedback on the platform. This feedback will be followed up by the Ministry of Education and Science. The feedback would provide an additional opportunity (besides the existing hotline) to identify and solve any problems in the educational institutions and collect relevant suggestions. Thus, apart from being relevant to access to information, the commitment is also relevant to civic participation. It provides the opportunity for citizens to provide feedback and thus make a contribution to decision making by responsible government agencies.

The commitment covers not only preschool and secondary school establishments, but also vocational and higher-level educational institutions. However, it lacks details on what information will be provided on higher education institutions and whether there will be opportunities to register for admission. According to a representative of the Ministry of Education and Science, the commitment also covers private establishments, but this is not clearly indicated in the commitment.

Interviewed civil society organization stakeholders expressed concerns regarding the accessibility of online services for the population. They also questioned whether the new online enrollment option will replace the existing in-person options. If a parallel possibility of enrolling offline remains, educational establishments will still have channels for using nonformal mechanisms to enroll based on their preferences. However, if enrollment will become possible only through the online platforms, vulnerable families or families in regions with limited access to internet and computers may turn to other channels to get their children registered. For example, they may pay fees to other individuals or services for completing registration process, or they may approach headmasters or other staff of schools and preschools. [79]

If fully implemented, this commitment could significantly improve Armenia’s education enrollment policy. It could minimize corruptive practices and facilitate the process of selection, application, and entry. It would also provide a clear and comprehensive picture of the admission trends and an opportunity to analyze the data for designing more effective policies. It is not transformative, however, due to the aforementioned questions regarding the higher education establishments and the uncertainty regarding whether the new online enrollment platform will replace existing offline options.

Next steps

Moving forward, the IRM researcher recommends the following:

  • Ensure continuous update of information provided by educational establishments.
  • Define mechanisms for free access for all families and create safeguards for preventing possible violations in the registration process.
  • Define specific mechanisms for feedback to grievances, comments, and suggestions posted in the platform. Establish mechanisms for providing relevant solutions to issues and/or holding educational establishments and staff accountable when there is misconduct.
  • Specify the scope of information to be posted by educational establishments and opportunities for delivering admission documents for higher education institutions.

Stakeholders also suggest providing further information on educational institutions’ enrollment and graduation data, regional distribution of students, admission from specific schools to higher education institutions, and employment of graduates if possible. [80] Such information would allow responsible state structures, field experts, and researchers to use open data for analysis and policy development. The data could also be used by potential applicants to the establishments to track information on specific educational institutions and make corresponding decisions.

[76] Government of the Republic of Armenia, OGP Armenia Action Plan 2018-2020, https://www.opengovpartnership.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/Armenia_Action-Plan_2018-2020_EN.doc.
[77] Media Model and Save the Children, Assessment of Access of Children to Preschool Education Services, Yerevan, 2017, https://armenia.savethechildren.net/sites/armenia.savethechildren.net/files/library/Assessment%20on%20Access%20to%20Pre-school%20Education%20Services_ENG.pdf.
[78] Syuzanna Makyan (Ministry of Education and Science), phone interview by IRM researcher, 19 February 2019.
[79] Suren Deheryan (Journalists for Future), interview by IRM researcher, 14 March 2019.
[80] Marina Galstyan (Center of Education Research and Consulting), phone interview by IRM researcher, 15 February 2019.

IRM End of Term Status Summary

8. Unified Information System for Management of Education

Aim of the commitment

This commitment aimed to provide comprehensive multilevel information on educational institutions and facilitate the school enrollment process through a unified education management system. Having public information on the number of available enrollment spots in a school (according to its license), along with the ability to enroll online, could reduce the possibility of informal and corrupt mechanisms of enrollment. The commitment also entailed creating a feedback mechanism on the platform and authorized state institutions would follow up as needed on the feedback received.

Did it open government?

Marginal

The education management platform administered by the National Center of Educational Technologies (under the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sport) is available at https://emis.am. It includes sections covering management information systems for all educational institutions in Armenia (preschools, schools, vocational and higher educational institutions) and databases on these institutions. The platform also has filtering and search possibilities, allowing users to find information and create reports based on specific criteria.

The platform also allows for electronic enrollment in the first grade of schools without the need for a preliminary visit to the school. In 2019, the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sport piloted the new electronic school enrollment system in Yerevan. In 2020, the ministry made the system fully functional for almost all schools in Armenia. Electronic enrollment is available in those communities where more than one school operates. In communities with one school, all resident children are eligible to enroll, and there is no risk of rejection due to lack of enrollment spots. In 2020, the National Center of Educational Technologies piloted the online enrollment system with vocational and higher education institutions. [20]

Currently, among the databases on the platform, only the school database is fully functional, covering all state, private, primary, secondary, and high schools. For other educational establishments—including preschools, vocational and higher educational institutions—the input of data is in progress.

The IRM Design Report mentioned the risk of limited internet and computer access for segments of the population as a possible limitation of the commitment. However, a representative of the National Center of Educational Technologies stated that no serious obstacles of this kind were reported. Enrollment is also possible through smartphones, which are available for most of Armenia’s population. In addition, the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sport has instructed schools to assist parents in the registration process, in case some parents are unable to do so. The ministry’s hotline serves as another option for parents to obtain assistance with the enrollment process.

Prior to this commitment, parents enrolled children in school in Armenia through in-person interaction. This process often created opportunities for parents to use informal mechanisms (such as intermediaries) to facilitate enrollment in schools with high demand, and it allowed double registration in several schools. [21] The new electronic enrollment system helps reduce the corruption risks and represents an improvement in terms of enrollment administration compared to the situation prior to the action plan.

As a result of the commitment, the government also made new information publicly available in a format that allows citizens to easily search by several parameters to find information on schools. Parents can use this information and so can researchers and organizations working in the field of education. Users can collect statistical information on school infrastructure, building conditions, proportion of teachers and schoolchildren, and many other areas. However, the data on other education establishments besides schools is not accessible yet.

According to the representative of the National Center of Educational Technologies, the average number of site visits reaches 40,000 to 45,000 per month. Many parents provide online feedback, mostly about technical issues concerning enrollment steps and requests for confirmation. The government considered some of the feedback to improve the platform’s features and registration requirements. For example, it added an option to receive a notification on registration via SMS (instead of email), and it displays the number of available enrollment spots in the first grades of schools in search results. [22] Thus, this commitment resulted in marginal progress in both civic participation and access to information.

[20] Application System, https://dimord.emis.am/.
[21] Open Government Partnership, IRM: Armenia Design Report 2018–2020, https://www.opengovpartnership.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/Armenia_Design-Report_2018-2020_EN.pdf.
[22] Artak Poghosyan (National Center of Educational Technologies), interview by IRM researcher, 12 November 2020.

Commitments

Open Government Partnership