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					Practical No. 1 :: MIS and its functional subsystems

This was a management information system (MIS) to assist with management of the university sector in
Nigeria. The MIS was originally planned to run on a PC using dBase software, with a PC placed in the
administrative sections of every Nigerian university, and further PCs at the federal-level Nigerian
Universities Commission (NUC).

Application Description
The application was supposed to perform the following functions:
·      to act as the central point for collection of data from individual Nigerian universities on students and
staff, building a comprehensive statistical database;
·      to have that data utilised by the Nigerian Universities Commission and federal Ministry of Education
for the purpose of planning and development of infrastructure, and for the production of statistics such as
student registrations, staff/student ratios, gender and geographical distributions; and
·      to provide support to individual universities for the purpose of processing examination results and

Application Purpose
The purpose behind introduction of this application was to address difficulties that NUC had experienced for
many years in collation and output of student and staff data, and that universities had experienced in the
processing of examination results and transcripts.

Managers in the Nigerian Universities Commission management are key intended users of the outputs from
the MIS, for example requiring total student enrolment for planning purposes. Managers and administrators
in individual universities also need reliable data on staff and students to help plan issues of infrastructure
development and human resource planning. The federal Ministry of Education has a stake, needing data to
plan funding of the various universities. Students at each university are the final stakeholders, since they
wish their exam results and transcripts to be processed.

Impact: Costs and Benefits
The project began in 1993 and significant sums have been invested: at least US$1.4million, much of which
was spent on contracts for system programmers. However, the project has still not been able to achieve the
objectives that were set, leading it to be seen as a white elephant and a waste of money. No university has
been able to generate either transcripts or correct enrolment data from the system, and the NUC has stopped
the funding of the project in a number of universities. Disbursement of funds from the Federal Ministry of
Education to universities is inadequate and also mis-matched to needs because reliable data is not available.
Statistics still have to be generated manually, which is an inaccurate and time-consuming process, and a
cause of frustration and stress amongst those staff involved. Continuing delays in the processing of
transcripts have led many students to lose their chance of admission to further education.

Evaluation: Failure or Success?
This project has been largely unsuccessful, considering its long duration and the level of achievements

Enablers/Critical Success Factors
1.   Central support. The project was supported by the Federal Government, which saw the project as a
valuable means to collect accurate data for planning purposes, and by the NUC's MIS Unit, which was
enthusiastic about the potential role of ICTs.

2.   Adequate funding. Because of central support for the project, adequate funding for the hardware and
software was provided from the start.

Constraints/Critical Failure Factors
1.   Blocks on feedback. Feedback on the project and its design given by the individual universities was
not well-used by the project coordinating unit within the Nigerian Universities Commission.

2.   Changing political context. During the many years of the project, Nigeria underwent a series of
changes in political leadership, which was mirrored by a lack of continuity within the government policy-
making body overseeing the use of data and ICTs in the university system.

3.   Resistance. There was resistance to the project and to new ways of working within the individual
universities and other parts of the system.

1.   Training/awareness-raising. There needs to be a continuous focus on raising the awareness,
understanding and skills of those involved in e-government projects. This must include promotion of the
benefits of the projects.

2.    Good project management. Projects can be left to drift unless they are well managed. This must
include continuous monitoring, and continuous action to improve the project on the basis of that monitoring.

3.    Dealing with politics. Some way must be found to deal with the politics, sentiment and self-interest
that inevitably forms part of e-government projects


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