Software creates extra work at schools

Nanaimo school district hopes the Ministry of Education provides compensation for issues with new student information software.

Nanaimo school district is hoping the Ministry of Education will provide compensation for problems arising from new student information software.

The district began using MyEducation B.C. software in August, switching from the B.C. Enterprise Student Information System, and said it saw performance and data conversion issues.

A temporary position, created to help with the transition, had to be extended to March, and two temporary jobs were required for two weeks to clean up the conversion of data from the old system to the new. The district hasn’t requested a specific amount from the ministry, but it did say close to $40,000 in additional staffing hours were accrued.

In an e-mail, Steve Sproston, school district information systems manager, said initial support requirements were higher than expected.

“Staff in the district have been receiving a higher than normal volume of e-mail support requests, which is difficult to manage at times,” said Sproston. “Users are spending more time than anticipated and the department has had to develop a number of work-arounds. This increases labour hours.”

Mike Ball, Nanaimo teachers’ union president, said entering information can be time consuming.

“The number of clicks it takes to enter the grades in with a comment for each student, it was calculated at … eight clicks,” said Ball. “So if you’re dealing with 120 students, that’s a huge amount of time compared to what it used to take to do that.”

The ministry said MyEducation B.C. has performed well after upgrades. It also said there is no plan to provide compensation to districts.