PRINCIPALS’ CONCERNS AND PROFESSIONAL NEEDS IN USING SCHOOL MANAGEMENT INFORMATION SYSTEM
University of Malaya (MALAYSIA)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2011 Proceedings
Publication year: 2011
Conference name: 5th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 7-9 March, 2011
Location: Valencia, Spain
Abstract:The purpose of this paper is to indicate (i) the concerns of school principals towards the use of School Management Information System (SMIS) that is available in their schools, (ii) the professional needs of these principals to foster the use of SMIS, and (iii) the factors that inhibit the use of SMIS. A survey method using two instruments was employed to collect the data: the SoCQ, developed by Hall et al (1986) to measure the concerns of the principals and SMIS Professional Needs Survey, developed by the researcher, to capture the professional needs of the school principals in terms of availability and relevance of resources and factors that inhibit better adoption of SMIS. A sample of 31 Malaysian school principals participated in this study. The primary stages of concerns (SoC) of the principals towards use of SMIS indicates that 22.6 % of them are still in the awareness stage, 48.4% in the informational stage, 9.7% in the personal stage while the rest (19.3%) are in the management stage of concern. A high stage 3 (management concerns) suggests that the principals have intense management concerns while the low stage 4 (consequence concerns) is an indication that these principals are less bothered about the actual impact of SMIS upon other members of the school. An overview of the principals’ professional needs in the five subsystem of a school quite clearly indicates that the principals in this study give more priority to managerial needs, followed by technical needs, psychosocial needs, goals & values needs, and finally structural needs. With regards to technical needs, the understanding of how to manage the change and knowledge of the impact become the immediate need as compared to the adoption techniques required for implementation which might arise later. It could be that the principals feel that they only need to manage and use SMIS and all this may be possible with the little technical skills they already possess. Or they might feel that all these technical skills are already embedded in the on-going support and the on-the-job training needs that they already wanted. Among the eight resources given as options for principals to choose from, only two have been reported as available by more than 60%. They are ‘A guide on how to manage SMIS effectively’ and ‘An action guide on how to use SMIS effectively’. The other eight resources seem to be unavailable to more than 64% of the principals. Yet they are reported as very useful by more than 60% principals. As for the inhibiting factors for better adoption of the SMIS, lack of understanding /knowledge of concepts, attitude problems, lack of training & support seem to be the responses of the principals. The evidence of this study suggests quite clearly that the primary concerns of principals still belong to those of incompetent users who are in need of many skills and training to enable them to use SMIS with more confidence. It could be because the Malaysian principals though being trained to manage their schools, still lack the kind of development programme that encompasses the use of SMIS comprehensively. It is believed that when this is done, these principals can easily convince the entire school community to look forward to using SMIS for all managerial aspects including data driven decision making without fear or anxiety.
Keywords: Concerns, professional needs, school management information system.