Mobile Supported e-Government Systems : Analysis of the Education Management Information System (EMIS) in Tanzania

Abstract: e-Government systems are considered by both governments and international organisations to improve administration and management. In Tanzania, an e-government system for education administration, EMIS, is partly implemented but shows several limitations. Statistical data is collected but the process is resource demanding and much of the collected data are never put into the system, and therefore remain inaccessible from this electronic system. The overall aim of this study is to propose an approach to designing more efficient e-government systems within the education sector. The focus is on public schools. The more specific aim of the present study is to: explore more efficient data transfer (faster, more reliable, and potentially less resource demanding) by using mobile telephone technology, especially SMS, as a means for statistical data collection for Tanzanian education management. The study is guided by an overall research approach that comprises systems theory and a socio-technical view. This research is performed as a case study, inspired by the ethnographic method and comprises field studies in East Africa. A multi-technique approach is used for empirical data gathering, including literature study, interviews, and direct observations. The analytical process is performed by developing and applying three analytical models: XIF - the eXtended Sustainable ICT Framework   Triple A - Access, Attitude, Awareness Seven Aspects – an Approach Towards Success The contributions of this thesis are as follows. A mobile supported SMS-based statistical data collection process employing a blended digital solution is proposed. Likely effects of such a system would be ‘better’ data e.g. less transmission errors, which provides for ‘better’ administration, ‘better’ decision-making, and also provides for transparency. Moreover, it is very likely that the proposed system is significantly less resource demanding than the present system. The three analytical models that are developed specifically for this study have generic characters and can be used during the implementation process of other e-government solutions.  The most important part of the contribution is not the technological solution per se; it is the process that foregoes the actual implementation. The proposal departs specifically from the Tanzanian educational context but has implications for e-government systems solutions and information systems implementation in developing countries in general. Finally, three overall reflections are made based on the major observations of the research findings: the Double ‘e’ Dilemma, on the problem of prioritising electronics before electricity, the Mobiles to Avoid Mobility paradox, highlighting connectivity before mobility, and the opportunity to use the SMS to Combat Corruption weapon.