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The role of educational information systems for survival in information society and the case of Pakistan


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The study reviews the important role of information systems and their impact on educational planning and development. It also attempts to identify gaps in the provision of information needed by educational administrators who are key planners of education enterprise in Pakistan. It intended to determine their views about the development, objectives and needed services of a user centered information system for educational administrators. To achieve these objectives, a literature review, questionnaire survey and interviews were conducted. Thus, the educational administrators (i.e., registrars/deans/chairpersons in universities and principals of schools and colleges) were identified as the target population for the survey and were selected through cluster sampling. The respondents were from the Punjab province and Islamabad Capital Territory. In total, 297 (99%) responses were received and analyzed quantitatively. Interviews of purposively selected educational administrators were also conducted for a more in-depth understanding of respondents’ points of view. This triangulation of qualitative and quantitative methods helped in understanding the phenomena under study. Recommendations and conclusions are also drawn in the light of findings of the study. The study is the first one of its type that tried to probe the gaps in the process of accurate/valid information supply to educational administrators and planners. This gap is causing serious challenges for education in Pakistan.
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The role of educational information systems
for survival in information society and the case
of Pakistan
Farzana Shafique
*, Khalid Mahmood
Department of Library & Information Science, The Islamia University of Bahawalpur, Pakistan
Department of Library & Information Science, University of the Punjab, Lahore, Pakistan
Educational information
Information and
technologies (ICT);
Information society
Abstract The study reviews the important role of information systems and their impact on
educational planning and development. It also attempts to identify gaps in the provision of
information needed by educational administrators who are key planners of education enter-
prise in Pakistan. It intended to determine their views about the development, objectives
and needed services of a user centered information system for educational administrators.
To achieve these objectives, a literature review, questionnaire survey and interviews were
conducted. Thus, the educational administrators (i.e., registrars/deans/chairpersons in
universities and principals of schools and colleges) were identified as the target population
for the survey and were selected through cluster sampling. The respondents were from the
Punjab province and Islamabad Capital Territory. In total, 297 (99%) responses were received
and analyzed quantitatively. Interviews of purposively selected educational administrators
were also conducted for a more in-depth understanding of respondents’ points of view. This
triangulation of qualitative and quantitative methods helped in understanding the phenomena
under study. Recommendations and conclusions are also drawn in the light of findings of the
study. The study is the first one of its type that tried to probe the gaps in the process of accu-
rate/valid information supply to educational administrators and planners. This gap is causing
serious challenges for education in Pakistan.
ª2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Background of the study
It is widely recognized that three societal revolutions took
place: the Agricultural Revolution; the Industrial Revolution;
and the Information Revolution. The information revolution
did not take place in a day or two; in-fact there were five
information revolutions: a) the invention of language; b) the
invention of writing and then the printing press; c) the
introduction of mass media; d) the invention of computers;
and e) the marriage of telecommunications and computers
(Boaz, 1981). The digital revolution in information and
communication technologies (ICT) has created the platform
* Corresponding author.
E-mail addresses: (F. Shafique), (K. Mahmood).
available at
journal homepage:
The International Information & Library Review (2010) 42, 164e173
1057-2317/$ - see front matter ª2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
for a global flow of information, ideas, and knowledge. This
revolution has made a profound impression on the way the
world functions and has transformed it to an evolving
information society (Shafique & Mahmood, 2008). The
information explosion and data communication revolution
which erupted in the United States is now present all over
the world. Japan, America, China, and the U.K. got much
profit out of the revolution and they are applying the system
in almost every aspect of life. The Internet has become an
important global resource. It is critical to both the devel-
oped world as a business and social tool and the developing
world as a passport to equitable participation, as well as
economic, educational, and social development (Boaz;
Kawatra, 2000; Shafique & Mahmood, 2008).
Information systems and networks: a need of the
The information revolution has transformed the world into
a “Global Village”. This globalization is seen by some as the
most progressive global movement since the industrial revo-
lution. The Internet has enabled this Global Village to be truly
connected 20 h a day, seven days a week. Today information
has become the most precious commodity for success and
development. Many organizations, from nationalcampaigning
bodies to local tenants groups, from time to time identify
a need to set up an information service to meet the require-
ments of their own staff, membership, general public, etc.
(Panigrahi, 2000). Gaslikova (1999) believes that information
may simplify problem solving and the work of achieving
effective decisions, but in order to be successful it has to be
exact, reliable, relevant, and accessible for the appropriate
individuals at the appropriate time and in a suitable form.
Gaslikova (1999) refers to an effective, efficient and user-
centered information system which includes organized
procedures for collecting, processing, storing, and retrieving
information to satisfy a variety of needs (Prytherch, 2005).
The need and demand for information systems, particularly at
national level, continues to increase. A national information
system can be defined as a system that systematically exploits
information providers and resources in a coordinated way, for
the benefit of users (Feather & Sturges, 2003). The concept of
network and networking is applicable both within an infor-
mation system and amongst various information systems.
Information networking generally entails the sharing of
resources so that the information needs of both actual and
potential users of information efrom the local to national
level are met (Verma, 1996). In a digital world, multiple
networks composed of different transmission media can carry
a broad range of telecommunications and information
services/technology applications into homes, businesses,
educational institutions, etc. These networks will form the
basis of evolving national and global information infrastruc-
tures, which in turn will create a seamless web uniting the
world in the emergent information age (Shafique, 2010).
Role of education in information society
The World Education Forum (2000) reaffirmed education as
the key to sustainable development, peace and stability
within and among countries, and thus an indispensable means
for effective participation in the societies and economies of
the globalization of the twenty-first century. A solid educa-
tion, good general knowledge and ICT skills acquired
throughout life create the basis for using information society
services. Educational institutions play a key role in providing
opportunities for people to learn information society knowl-
edge and skills. Good knowledge and skills help people to
make use of information networks and their contents appro-
priately (Finland, Ministry of Education, 2004).
Information systems/networks for connecting the
education enterprise
One change experienced in education settings is the imple-
mentation of information systems. The concept can be used
in a very broad sense referring to the information system of
an organization or of a country. Within an organization, it
encompasses all formal and informal activities directed at
collecting, distributing, and processing all kinds of data
(Visscher, 1996). National information systems of education,
as they evolve and affect ever more people, must consider
information processes. Various groups of people participate
in the educational process (i.e., teachers, students,
administrators, researchers, parents, and the public at
large) and each group requires certain information. Prob-
lems arise when such information is not available or when
there is too much information. The accuracy, currency and
completeness of the information and its accessibility may
fall short of what the user needs. To address the challenges
posed by the information age, the UNESCO National Educa-
tion Statistical Information Systems (NESIS) Program devel-
oped the Education Management Information System (EMIS)
to help countries to systematically organize information
related to the management of educational development.
Preferably proposed to work within the Ministry of Educa-
tion, EMIS is responsible for the promotion and use of
information for policy planning and implementation, deci-
sion making, monitoring and evaluation of an education
system (Wako, 2003).
In the current age of science and technology, the role of
education has come to be acknowledged as a vital factor for
human development. The developed world achieved
extraordinary socio-economic and technological develop-
ments because of the realization of this fact. A flow of infor-
mation to educational administrators and policy makers via
sound information systems is an essential requirement for
achieving educational goals and objectives. Information
systems exist in both developed and developing countries that
connect the education enterprises within and between
differentcountries. These systemsfacilitate not only research
and education, but also assist administrators and managers in
their administrative pursuits. Examples of educational infor-
mation systems include: The Information Network on Educa-
tion in Europe (Eurydice); Universities and Colleges
Information Systems Association (UCISA); U.S. Advanced
Networking Consortium (Internet2); Education Resources
Information Center (ERIC); Metropolitan Research & Educa-
tion Network (MREN); the U.K.’s Education and Research
Network (JANET); Network of Canada (CANARIE); Delivery of
Advanced Network Technology to Europe (DANTE); Australia’s
Academic and Research Network (AARNet); International
Network for the Availability of Scientific Publications (INASP);
Asia-Pacific Advanced Network (APAN); Singapore Advanced
Researchand Education Network (SingAREN); ChinaEducation
Educational information systems in Pakistan 165
and Research Network (CERNET); Korea’s National Education
Information System (NEIS); South Africa’s Education Manage-
ment Information System (EMIS); and India’s Education and
Research Network (ERNET) (Shafique, 2010).
Information systems and networks: the case of
Pakistan (officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan) is
a country in South Asia. In terms of the structure of its
economy, Pakistan resembles the middle-income countries
of East and Southeast Asia. Agriculture, the backbone of
the country’s economy, employs 48% of the labor force and
accounts for 60% of export earnings (Husain, 2005).
The world economy has already moved from low-value
basic industries (i.e., manufacturing and agriculture) to
a fast-paced, high-value information based economy.
Pakistan is pressurized to capture the emerging opportu-
nities that prevail in the information society. Today, the
government of Pakistan is not only promoting e-culture at
local and national levels but also trying to meet most of the
essential requirements that foreign businesses and inves-
tors are looking for. Macroeconomic stability, deep-rooted
structural reforms, high standards of economic governance,
liberalized trade and investment regime, low production
costs, and its location as a regional hub make it a highly
attractive country for global business and investment.
These factors, along with the lessons learned from its
historical experience, the development of new capitalistic
features (based on census reports and definitions of occu-
pations), and the imperatives of globalization, have led to
the conversion of Pakistan’s agricultural society to an
information society. Many indicators show that an infor-
mation society is emerging in Pakistan at a very fast pace.
These indicators include fast growing telecommunication
facilities, free flow of information through electronic
media, and the use of computers and Internet in public life
(Shafique & Mahmood, 2008). Internet service is becoming
an integral part of life in Pakistan, particularly in urban
areas. According to the estimates of the Internet Service
Providers Association of Pakistan (ISPAK), as of November
2009, there were about five million Internet users in
Pakistan (ISPAK, 2010).
It is evident from this review that a sound ICT infra-
structure exists in Pakistan, and it supports several infor-
mation systems in different disciplines, such as geography,
health, education and others. The national information
infrastructure not only covers the telecommunication
networks, but also the institutions that are the backbone of
any information infrastructure. The role of libraries and
information centers cannot be denied in this infrastructure.
In Pakistan, libraries are starved of materials, particularly
foreign journals, so the importance of networking has long
been recognized (Haider, 2002). Very few library and
information networks are available in Pakistan and these
include: Pakistan Scientific & Technological Information
Center (PASTIC); Population Libraries Network of Pakistan
(PopLibNet); and Pakistan Library Network. Many Pakistani
library websites are accessible through the World Wide
Web. Similarly, few educational information networks exist
in Pakistan, including Pakistan Education and Research
Network (PERN-2), and the National Educational Manage-
ment Information System (NEMIS) (Shafique, 2010).
Identification of gaps and need of the hour
Policy makers and education leaders eincluding governors,
state legislators, chief state school officers, school board
members, local superintendents, principals and teacher
leaders eare key consumers of research information. They
make far-reaching decisions about how to spend billions of
public money and they have primary responsibility for devel-
oping and implementing education laws. To carry out their
duties, policy makers and education leaders need high-
quality, objective research information, written in a language
they can understand, and delivered in time to inform their
decisions (United States Department of Education, Office of
Educational Research and Improvement, 1997). This conclu-
sion refers to a user-friendly, effective and efficient infor-
mation system for educational administrators, which can
assist them in planning and decision making. The need of such
an information system is by no mean new, even in the devel-
oping world. As early as 1989, Verma proposed a model
information system for education in his PhD research. The
study presented a comparison of the national information
system of education in the U.K. and the U.S.A. with a view to
developing a model for India (Verma, 1996).
The need of such an information system is also identified
by the research community of Pakistan, though they are few
in numbers. Fatima (2000) mentioned the absence of
a national forum/agency in Pakistan that effectively knits
together the various associations and professional groups
concerned with preserving its intellectual heritage. In this
scenario, she has recommended the development of
a national information system in education and research.
Currently, Pakistan has one institution that conducts research
on educational issues, the Academy of Educational Planning
and Management, which conducts research on basic educa-
tion only. However, its abilities are hampered by inadequate
funds; a non-institutionalized basis for collecting, processing
and analyzing data; the lack of availability of technical
support staff; and little influence in policy making (Human
Development Foundation, 2004). Thomas and Khan (1993)
have critically analyzed the performance of Pakistan’s
NEMIS and concluded that without a reliable flow of valuable
data, the impact of NEMIS with respect to any building and
informing ofinstitutions would be insignificant. Nevertheless,
in light of NEMIS’s original objectives, a basic weakness in the
project has been insufficient attention and effort given by
government and project management to establishing NEMIS
as an integral part of the existing government structure. It
was stressedthat the respective roles of NEMIS atthe national
and provincial levels must be clarified. Attention should be
given to operational relationships between the national and
provincial levels and to the minimum forms of cooperation
necessary to assure statistics for national planning needs.
Hashmi (1984) identified the gap in the provision of required,
authentic and reliable information/data to the educational
administrators working at tehsil/district/divisional level. He
further mentioned that in the absence of such information,
they have to fill the gaps by approximation and they feel the
dire need of having an efficient management information
166 F. Shafique, K. Mahmood
system. In a report for UNESCO, Nwankwo (1983) stressed that
a management information system, badly needed by the
Education Department of Pakistan, should be devised and
established. Data on all educational institutions, teachers and
facilities should be collected and digitized, and programs
should be designed to aggregate and recall specific informa-
tion needed by administrators.
Problem statement
It is evident from the above review that existing information
systems in Pakistan designed to facilitate the educational
administrators are not robust and well planned, and as
a result are unable to facilitate the educational administra-
tors in realistic planning and decision making. Most of the
problems within the education enterprise exist due to the
poor planning and unrealistic decision making by the educa-
tional administrators. On the other hand, no comprehensive
study has been conducted for the identification of gaps due to
the non-availability of an effective and user-centered infor-
mation system in education. No effort has yet been made in
this regard to determine the opinion of key educational
administrators (i.e., education secretaries, EDOs, DEOs, VCs,
deans, school and college principals, etc.) Review of the
above literature highlights a dire need for finding the gaps in
designing effective and user-centered/friendly information
services and system at the national level.
Objectives of the study
The following are the objectives of this study:
To review the important role of information systems
and their impact on the educational planning and
To survey the educational administrators to determine
their opinions about the need for, objectives and
services of a national information system for educa-
tional administrators;
To interview the key educational administrators to find
out their views for the identification of gaps in this
Research design
The current study is based on a literature review, ques-
tionnaire survey, interviews and personal visits. This trian-
gulation of quantitative and qualitative methods helped the
researchers in understanding the phenomena underlying the
study. A detailed description of the research design follows:
A group of experts from the public sector institutes, who, in
their discharge of day to day administrative work, have to
depend upon the educational information system, were
identified with the help of the literature and discussion
with experts. Accordingly, the educational administrators
(i.e., registrars/deans/chairpersons in universities and
principals of schools and colleges) were identified as the
target population for the survey. The respondents were
from Punjab Province and Islamabad Capital Territory. The
choice of Punjab Province for the survey and interviews is
based on three main grounds: (1) The researchers are based
in Punjab and logistic support for the fieldwork was most
conveniently available in this region; (2) Circumstances in
Baluchistan and the North-West Frontier Provinces were not
in favor of field survey; (3) Punjab and Islamabad Capital
Territory are home to over half of the population of
Pakistan, with more than 50% of the educational institutes
of the country. The questions asked in the questionnaire
(see Appendix) were related to the respondents’ personal
profile and needs, objectives, and services of a national
information system for educational administrators.
Cluster sampling was used for the survey because this
technique is used when “natural” groupings are evident in
a statistical population. In this technique, the total pop-
ulation is divided into these groups/clusters and a sample
of the groups is selected. Then the required information is
collected from the elements within each selected group.
Cluster sampling is useful when it would be impossible/
impractical to identify every person in the sample. For the
sampling purpose, the Punjab Province and Islamabad
Capital Territory were divided into clusters and sub-clusters
and each district was designated as a primary cluster. An
objective was to get a response from each district. (The
districts form the third tier of government in Pakistan,
ranking as subdivisions of the provinces; districts are
further subdivided into tehsils which may contain villages/
municipalities. Punjab has 35 districts.) Then each district
was divided into sub-clusters (i.e., tehsils). Sub-clusters
were randomly selected. Elements (i.e., schools and
colleges) were selected from the list according to a defined
criterion (i.e., the oldest schools and colleges from each
district were selected purposely to reduce the chance of
selecting the ghost/fake institutes which exist only in lists,
but not in reality or where no proper staff and building is
available). On the other hand, all the public sector
universities were selected within Punjab Province and
Islamabad Capital Territory. To get a reasonable response,
300 responses (in total) were targeted from the three
groups of respondents (schools, colleges and universities).
Semi-structured interviews were conducted for the in-depth
understanding of administrators’ points of view and
phenomena under study. Questions asked included: a) which
problems do they face in getting their required information
for administrative tasks, and b) whether a national informa-
tion service/system should be developed to facilitate them.
A sample for interviews was chosen through handpicked/
purposive sampling. This involves the selection of a sample
with a particular purpose in mind that meets particular
criteria; are considered typical; show wide variance; or
represent ‘expertise’ (O’Leary, 2004). So, a purposive sample
of 13 educational administrators having experience in
different higher positions in the education enterprise was
taken (i.e., Ex-VCs, deans/chiefs, etc.). The respondents
were working in well known public institutes of Punjab
Province and Islamabad Capital Territory and had a better
understanding of the phenomenon under study. The inter-
viewees were sent an interview schedule through the mail, or
by email and personal visits. The principal researcher inter-
viewed them in their offices/homes according to the meeting
Educational information systems in Pakistan 167
schedule. Interviews were audio-recorded and the researcher
also kept a reflexive journal during the interviews.
Data analysis
The quantitative data were analyzed with the help of SPSS
version-15. Descriptive statistics suchas mean, mode,median,
etc. were used. The interviews and open-ended survey
responses were analyzed qualitatively with Atlas-ti software.
Data analysis and related discussion
Respondents’ personal profile
The respondents were asked different questions relating to
their demographics: gender, age, academic qualification,
professional and administrativeexperiences. The results show
that of the 297 respondents, 196(66%) were male and 101(34%)
were female. The response rate from the university sector
was slightly higher, as 101(34%) responses were received from
the university sector, 99(33.3%) from college and 97(32.7%)
from school sectors. Most of the respondents were working as
principals (113, 38%) either in school or college sectors. The
second category of high response was of chairs/heads of the
university departments (82, 27.6%). The third category was
again of school/college vice-principals (65, 21.9%). Other
categories included registrars (14, 4.7%), administrative offi-
cers (7, 2.3%), directors and deans (5, 1.8%).
According to the results, 72 (24.2%) respondents had the
qualification of MA, 42 (14.1%) MA-MEd, 29 (9.8%) MSc, 28
(9.4%) Mphil, and 22 (7.4%) MA-BEd. Other small responses
were of MSc-MEd (8, 2.7%), BEd (5, 1.7%), MSc-BEd (3, 1.0%),
FCPS (2, 0.7%) and BSc/MEd (1, 0.3%), while 12 (4.0%)
respondents did not mention their qualifications. The highest
academic qualification was post-doctorate (3, 1.0%) followed
by PhD (70, 23.6%). Respondents’ ages varied from 20 to 60
years onwards. The highest responses were from the age
groups of 46e50 (60, 20.2%) and 56e60 (58, 19.5%). The
professional experience of the respondents varied from one
to more than 40 years. Fifty (16.8%) respondents had 16e20
years of experience. The high responses lie between 11 and 35
years of professional experience. Like the professional
experience, respondents’ administrative experience also
varied between one and 35 years. Most of the respondents
had administrative experience of one to five years (138,
46.5%). The other highest response was of administrators
having experience of six to ten years (67, 22.6%) (See Table 1).
Respondents’ opinions were sought regarding the devel-
opment of a National Information System for Educational
Administrators in Pakistan (NISEA). Mean values (4.54, 4.82
and 4.68) presented in Table 2 show that all the respondents
strongly agreed with the idea of developing NISEA.
Table 3 shows that most of the respondents strongly agreed
that the objectives of NISEA should be to: 1) provide the
information with easy access; 2) provide updates and current
information in the field of education; 3) provide training of
educational administrators; and 4) to ensure availability of
valid, reliable and needed information (Mean values are 4.66,
4.61, 4.56 and 4.53, respectively). At the same time they
agreed with these objectives: 1) training of other staff
members (i.e., teachers/information providers/librarians,
etc.);2) to have linkage withinthe educational institutes in the
country; 3) to provide information according to the adminis-
trators’ specific needs; 4) to develop and maintain an online
full-text database of educational documents related to
administrators’ information needs; 5) to generate and main-
tain adequate media of information; and 6) to have linkage
within educational information systems of the world (Mean
values are4.47, 4.46, 4.45, 4.40, 4.33, and4.24, respectively).
Respondents were also asked to give their opinion about the
services that should be rendered for educational administra-
following services: training workshops, information for their
specific needs on request, Online Digital Library of Educational
Resources, newsletter, statistical data about education,
electronic document delivery services, access to full-text
information, translation, online catalog, bibliographic
services, verbal information provided by scholarly persons,
computer-mediated communication (i.e., List-serv/Discussion
group), reprography/photocopy service, Intranet/portals,
Wikis for encouraging user participation, Chat Reference
Service, and Abstracts & Indexes (Mean values are 4.49, 4.43,
4.42, 4.37, 4.36, 4.35, 4.30, 4.25, 4.21, 4.19, 4.16, 4.15, 4.14,
4.11, 3.86, 3.80 and 3.63, respectively). Table 4 shows the
means of the opinions given by each category of respondents.
Many respondents also provided valuable suggestions. They
suggested that an efficient information system is strongly
needed for sound planning and decision making, so NISEA
should be developed in reality as it would boost the educa-
tion sector (nZ19). They recommended that NISEA should
provide ICT training not only to educational administrators,
but also to teachers (nZ17), and that services proposed in
the questionnaire should be offered in reality (nZ16).
According to the respondents, NISEA may facilitate the
constructive work, so it should provide not only updated
information about rules, regulations, and methodologies for
their implementation, but it should also provide action-
oriented solutions to educational administrators (nZ14). It
should supply information on the status of educational policy
and appraisal of its implications throughout the educational
year; changes in education policy, curriculum, board and
Table 1 Frequency distribution of professional and administrative experiences of the respondents (NZ297).
Experience in
1e56e10 11e15 16e20 21e25 26e30 31e35 36e40 40 onwards Missing
25(8.5%) 27(9.1%) 37(12.5%) 50(16.8%) 40(13.5%) 47(15.8%) 30(10.1%) 9(3.0%) 1(0.3%) 31(10.4%)
138(46.5%) 67(22.6%) 35(11.8%) 19(6.4%) 6(2.0%) 6(2.0%) 1(0.3%) 0 0 25(8.4%)
168 F. Shafique, K. Mahmood
university decisions; and specific website links regarding the
up-coming training workshops and seminars (nZ9).
Educational administrators selected for the interviews were
District Education Officers (nZ3); Ex-Vice Chancellors (nZ2);
Principals (School/College) (nZ2); Senior Chiefs (Education)
Planning Commission, Government of Pakistan (nZ2); Ex-
Director Generals (nZ2); Dean (nZ1); Executive District
Officer (nZ1); and Ex-Chairman of university department
(nZ1). A qualitative analysis of the responses follows:
Availability of needed information to the
educational administrators
The respondents pointed out that educational administrators
mostly use informal sources for seeking needed information
(nZ6). They ask colleagues/peers (nZ6), assistant staff
(nZ5), use Internet (nZ4) and internal documentary
sources (nZ3), ask senior experts (nZ3) or visit the rele-
vant place personally (nZ3). They also get information
through conferences (nZ2), meetings (nZ2), fieldwork
(nZ2), or use tacit knowledge (nZ2). Sometimes they
consult relevant government agencies (nZ2). They fulfill
their information needs through multiple ways (nZ2), i.e.,
through telephone (nZ2), media (nZ1), computer data-
banks (nZ1), or CCTV for real time data of employee
activities (nZ1). They also check policies (nZ1), or ask
students and parents (nZ1). It was pointed out that formal
sources are also used by educational administrators (nZ3),
including books, journals (nZ3), survey reports (nZ2),
proceedings (nZ2) and library resources (nZ1). Adminis-
trators alsokeep an eye on local and global scenarios (nZ1).
They pointed out that the information that administra-
tors need is not easily available (nZ5); if available, then
accessibility is a big issue (nZ4). It takes too much time
and effort to get needed information (nZ2). Easily
available information is less reliable and is not organized
properly (nZ2); furthermore, they do not use libraries
(nZ2). It was pointed out that few things are available in
published form (nZ2) and no proper information system is
available for them (nZ2).
Need of Pakistan national information system for
educational administrators
All the interviewees agreed and stressed that NISEA should
be developed (nZ13). They mentioned that all three
tiers/levels of education (i.e., schools, colleges and
universities) should be integrated with each other (nZ5).
Furthermore, separate modules for each sector should be
developed and then integrated (nZ2); the system should
be reliable and all encompassing (nZ2). The use of
available resources/networks (nZ2) and government
cooperation for its real development (nZ2) was also
emphasized. They mentioned that NEMIS is not an infor-
mation system in the real sense (nZ2).
They stressed that such systems are available in devel-
oped world and working successfully (nZ2). With proper
planning (nZ1), high-standard information systems can be
Table 2 Respondents’ opinion about the development of NISEA.
Respondents NZ297 Mini Max Mean Median Mode S.D.
School administrators 97(32.7%) 2 5 4.54 5.00 5 0.597
College administrators 99(33.3%) 4 5 4.82 5.00 5 0.388
University administrators 101(34%) 3 5 4.64 5.00 5 0.521
Note: Strongly Agree Z5, Agree Z4, Don’t Know Z3, Disagree Z2, Strongly Disagree Z1.
Table 3 Respondents’ opinion about the objectives of NISEA.
Objectives School Ad. College Ad. University Ad. Cum.
Mean Mean Mean Mean
To provide the information with easy access 4.55 4.72 4.72 4.66
To provide update/current information in the field of education 4.46 4.71 4.64 4.61
Training of Educational Administrators 4.52 4.67 4.50 4.56
To ensure availability of valid, reliable and needed information 4.33 4.63 4.63 4.53
Training of other staff members 4.40 4.53 4.50 4.47
To have linkage within educational institutes 4.33 4.43 4.62 4.46
To provide information according to the administrators’
specific needs
4.36 4.47 4.52 4.45
To develop and maintain an online full-text database of
educational documents
4.26 4.44 4.48 4.40
To generate and maintain adequate media of information 4.03 4.42 4.51 4.33
To have linkage within educational information systems of
the world
3.92 4.20 4.59 4.24
Note: Strongly Agree Z5, Agree Z4, Don’t Know Z3, Disagree Z2, Strongly Disagree Z1.
Educational information systems in Pakistan 169
developed in Pakistan as well (nZ1) and this would make
administrators’ work easier (nZ1). They recommended that
tacit knowledge should also be preserved (nZ1) and
research should also be disseminated (nZ1) through NISEA.
Conclusions and recommendations
The following conclusions are based on the reviewed litera-
ture and findings of the study. Given that the needs for
information are varied and becoming increasingly complex,
a solid information system should be as complete as possible.
Sophisticated information systems exist in the world to facil-
itate their educational administrators in decision making and
planning. Pakistan also has a reasonable ICT infrastructure,
and a few information systems and networks are accessible
through this infrastructure. However, no comprehensive and
well-integrated information system is available, covering all
tiers of education eschools, colleges and universities efor
facilitating the educational administrators, especially at
macro level. Such a system can provide a holistic and
complete overview of the education enterprise for realistic
planning and resource allocation. Most of the problems within
the education enterprise exist due to poor planning and
unrealistic decision making by the educational administra-
tors. This problem is also recognized by the educational
administrators and they often complain about the non-avail-
ability of an effective and efficient information system. No
formal method exists, so they use informal methods and
perceive them as more reliable and valid. Existing educational
information systems (e.g., NEMIS) are not robust and well-
planned. The need of an effective national information
system is identified, which is a missing link in Pakistan’s
overall programs and results in overall degradation of the
education system. No comprehensive study has been con-
ducted in Pakistan to identify the gaps yet; however, the
current study reveals the gaps to some extent. The idea of
developing the National Information System for Educational
Administrators in Pakistan was strongly supported by the
survey and interviewed respondents, along with the objec-
tives and proposed services. Many respondents strongly rec-
ommended that such a system should be developed and they
anticipated that it would boost the education sector in the
country. It was stressed that the services of the proposed
system should be user-centered and user-friendly.
The following recommendations are based on the
conclusions of the study:
1. Government authorities should pay special attention to
filling the identified gap, which has resulted in less-
informed planning and decision making by the educa-
tional administrators.
2. The study should be replicated on a larger sample
(including other provinces) for better understanding of
the phenomena.
3. A comprehensive survey for finding the information
needs and seeking behavior of educational administra-
tors should be conducted before planning and devel-
oping such a system.
4. Geographic Information System should be used for
geographic mapping of educational institutes in Pakistan.
5. A public campaign should be started through mass
media, conferences and seminars for introducing the
benefits of NISEA to the educational administrators at
the macro and micro levels.
6. Special training programs should be arranged for
educational administrators for help them in effectively
retrieving their needed information.
7. Educational institutes, especially in the remote and far
flung areas, should be provided with better ICT facili-
ties and training opportunities for better and real
utilization of NISEA.
Table 4 Respondents’ opinion about the services to be rendered by the NISEA.
Services School admin. College admin. University admin. Cum.
Mean Mean Mean Mean
Training workshops 4.54 4.54 4.41 4.49
Information for specific needs on request 4.28 4.49 4.52 4.43
Online digital library of educational Resources 4.15 4.43 4.67 4.42
Newsletter 4.28 4.40 4.43 4.37
Statistical data 4.14 4.45 4.47 4.36
Electronic document delivery services 4.21 4.38 4.45 4.35
Access to full-text information 4.15 4.45 4.29 4.30
Translation 4.18 4.41 4.16 4.25
Online catalog 4.04 4.24 4.33 4.21
Bibliographic services 4.01 4.20 4.35 4.19
Verbal information 4.04 4.25 4.19 4.16
Computer-mediated communication 4.04 4.07 4.35 4.15
Reprography/photocopy 4.02 4.29 4.11 4.14
Intranet/portals 3.90 4.12 4.30 4.11
Wikis 3.68 3.97 3.92 3.86
Chat reference service 3.72 3.91 3.77 3.80
Abstracts/indexes 3.72 3.60 3.56 3.63
Note: Strongly Agree Z5, Agree Z4, Don’t Know Z3, Disagree Z2, Strongly Disagree Z1.
170 F. Shafique, K. Mahmood
Educational information systems in Pakistan 171
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Textbook of information science
  • P S Kawatra
Kawatra, P. S. (2000). Textbook of information science. New Delhi: A.P.H. Publication Corporation.