TAFE Queensland has begun the process of shifting a major system to the cloud for the second time in three months.
The Department of Education, Training and Employment (DETE) has invited industry to participate in a series of market sounding workshops to present their capabilities to supply a cloud-based or fully managed Student Management Solution.
DETE’s early industry approach for a Student Management Solution follows its approach to market in April 2013 for a software-as-a-service replacement of its Learning Management System.
The new student management solution is expected to provide enhanced functionality for online student management, self-service administration, business process automation and links to business clients. It will replace or integrate with existing TAFE systems.
Given that the State’s current arrangements for TAFE student management are due to expire in 2015, any new system is likely to need to be in place within 18 months.
TAFE Queensland’s existing core Institutes’ Student Administration System (ISAS) is managed by Accenture as part of its contract for related business, applications and infrastructure support services. The arrangement, which was renewed for a further two years in January 2013, will have been in place for 10 years by the time of its expiry in January 2015.
The ISAS solution is currently used at over 80 of Queensland’s 90 TAFE campuses for centralised student administration, records and accounts management, enrolment and administrative self-service purposes. The core application used by ISAS is a PeopleSoft/Oracle Campus Solution.
The system has now been in operation for seven years, with a major upgrade completed in 2009.
The decision to replace the existing system follows a review in 2012 by PriceWaterhouseCoopers that recommended a repositioning of student management services.
DETE has stated its preference for cloud-based or fully managed systems delivery to “reduce operating costs” in expression of interest documents. The shift to procuring ICT on an as-a-service basis also coincides with upcoming changes relating to the Government’s TAFE reforms that came into effect from 1 July 2013.
Currently TAFE Queensland comprises of 13 institutes with 200,000 students across 90 campuses, however the reforms underway will see that number consolidated to approximately six institutes and 50 campuses by mid-2014 according to the forward procurement schedule for this solution.
Expressions of interest to participate in the market sounds process close on 26 July, with workshops intended to be held in August 2013.
The rollout of the cloud-based Learning Management System, which provides online access to course content, facilitates eLearning and manages assessment submission, is expected to begin in August 2013 with implementation expected to be complete by April 2015. A vendor for this implementation has not yet been announced.
Western Australia is the only other jurisdiction currently looking towards the adoption of cloud services for its education management needs. The WA Department of Education is progressively rolling out its wireless network operating system known as Standard Operating Environment 4 (SOE4) under a private cloud model. The project will replace multiple on-site servers with a wireless network in all schools by the end of 2015.
WA Education is also beginning to implement Microsoft Office 365 for student access to school material and emails in the public cloud.
Victoria is currently progressing an in-house TAFE Student Management Solution and has not yet articulated a plan to seek out cloud offerings.
The NSW education sector has indicated that it may be ready to make the leap to cloud by 2015.
Although hesitant to do so now, the Department of Education and Communities’ Michael McMahon said in December 2012 that he will probably be comfortable adopting cloud-based solutions in “another year or 18 months”.
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