22 August 2005 British schools have been accused of squandering the £180 million spent annually on management information systems.
According to a report from the British Educational Communications and Technology Authority (Becta), too much of the technology budget is being spent on software licences and support for MIS systems.
The report said that an estimated £55 million is spent each year on support, while licensing costs products have multiplied three times over in the past three years.
Schools use MIS systems to manage assessment, attendance and collect pupil information.
The report was also critical of an over-reliance on one supplier, IT services group Capita’s education unit, and criticised the lack of interoperability between management information products.
The absence of an established set of interoperability standards in school MIS products “[has] the potential to impede competition” and “hinder the effective delivery of wider policy objectives,” the report concluded.
“School MIS systems have a critical role to play in realising the ambitions set out by the DfES in its five-year strategy for children and learners,” said Owen Lynch, chief executive of Becta.
“Addressing the range of factors that are barriers at a national, regional and institutional level to maximising the benefits that MIS systems can bring is complex but essential,” he added.
Capita said in a statement the report contained “a number of significant inaccuracies”.