I returned from Tonga last Friday but have only just completed typing up my notes. Other than having my luggage go astray when I arrived, the trip was pretty good.
Information from the review, albeit too short for any detailed analysis and verification, was still informative. Funnily enough, there were similarities in some of the issues that came out of the Kiribati review I did last year with an overseas consultant.
Firstly, the data gathering task was difficult because of the nature of island geography and transport logistics. There were problems in timeliness and data quality, albeit there was effort undertaken by a unit in the Schools Division to go out to schools and check some of the data for the EMIS while they were there.
There were issues involved with business process management along the information chain. This involved both the data collection from the schools, and the way in which the data was being used for the end product. It wasn’t always clear for the schools as to what surveys were coming and for what the information was being used for. And there was some concern over data quality although the review didn’t have time to evaluate the data.
In Tonga, the education statistics from the EMIS are used for the annual report of the Ministry of Education. However, the report needs to be tabled in Parliament before the statistics are released publicly. The 2009 and 2010 reports haven’t been tabled yet. In Kiribati, an annual statistical digest is published each year with a comprehensive set of data.
In both Tonga and Kiribati, on-demand requests for information from EMIS were common.
There is more analysis to be done on the information gleaned from the rapid review of the Tonga EMIS. And there are upcoming trips to PNG and Vanuatu to do similar rapid reviews.
All in all, there are some interesting projects I will be involved in over the coming weeks. I am looking forward to it.