eGAIANIMA, cohesion in Education (eGAIANIMA)

Published on: 12/06/2007
Document

eGAIANIMA is an online IT tool developed to facilitate and promote interoperability in the education community. Its aim is to provide a real-time and efficient class management (teachers and schools), report control and management tool (GAIANIMA EM) and to facilitate parental involvement in the education process (parents and civil society).

Policy Context

The Programme of Curricular Activity Enrichment in Public Primary Schools was a measure launched in May 2006 by the Portuguese Ministry of Education. In Vina Nova de Gaia, the programme is managed by GAIANIMA E.M., a local public enterprise.

Description of target users and groups

The program is deployed in all 103 public basic schools in Vila Nova de Gaia, involving about 10,400 pupils with ages between the 6 and 10 years and about 430 teachers in 7 distinct extra curricular activities: English, Music, Sport, Computer, Arts, Crafts and Robotics.

Description of the way to implement the initiative

GAIANIMA EM decided to enrol on a partnership with GFI Portugal in order to implement eGAIANIMA, an on-line IT tool. GFI Portugal is a technological enterprise, with large experience in consulting, IT integration and development being a co-founder of the Portuguese IT Service Management Forum which promotes the best practices in the ITIL framework (IT Infrastructure Library). eGAIANIMA was developed at the GFI Software Factory with the objective to turn the solution into a product that can be replicated in other institutions such as Gaianima. GFI Software Factory in Aveiro, Portugal, is a competence centre created by GFI Portugal which aims to capture the graduates from Aveiro University and give them the possibility to participate in enterprise software development projects. GFI Software Factory considered its partnership with GAIANIMA E.M. a very interesting challenge and used its expertise on open-source solutions and specific programming, and supplied GAIANIMA EM with a reliable and totally activity-oriented platform that fills the education community needs. This was complemented with an original image and a new brand eGainima design, produced by our Design Team. This project was managed by GAIANIMA EM under a project management framework, the PMBOK@.

Technology solution

The platform is developed on PHP4 over IIS and is running on a Windows Server2003. The platform is available over the internet, so the minimal requirements for user access is a PC with a fully operational internet connection.

Technology choice: Mainly (or only) open standards

Main results, benefits and impacts

The platform is a pioneering project in its scope in Portugal. Several reasons make this platform a high-value solution: complete on-line recruitment process, professors automatic bank payments, on-line summaries lessons registration, on-line professors and pupils class absence, pre-defined reports, feedback reports, forum, e-learning, balanced-scorecard report, platform integration with in-house accountable application and automatic pro-active professor replacement in case of pre-registered absence. Parents are also able to access their children evolution, accessing the professors record and communicating on-line with them.

Return on investment

Return on investment: Not applicable / Not available

Track record of sharing

During the conception of the platform, we establish contacts and held meetings with several partners belonging to the public administration, educational and technological areas. With MISI, Ministerial Education Innovation Agency, we discussed ways and process of information integration and sharing and applications certification. With DREN, regional education authority, we discussed platforms integration and data sharing. With CNPD, we analyzed and submitted Personal Data Protection scheme. With INPI we registered a trademark, eGAIANIMA. With GFI Portugal we established a project management framework and shared good practices on IT developing projects. With local parents associations we discusses the education theme and shared evaluation methodologies and criterias. With local schools coordinators we discussed and shared good practices on school management. With GaiaGlobal, the VNGaia, the digital city project, we discussed and shared good practices on IT Technical issues, security and Open Source solutions and integration. With VNGaia local public authority, CMGAIA, we discussed and shared best practices on eGov needs regarding the citizens best services.

Lessons learnt

Lesson 1 - The civil society is aware of the positive impact of e-services and, further more, is willing to access and use them if they are reliable and efficient. Lesson 2 - Administrations should not be afraid to promote the citizen’s participation on the decision making process. Lesson 3 - The implementation of e-services allows the release of human and material resources, useful in the fulfilment of other public needs, thus allowing better life quality and better public citizen services.

Scope: Local (city or municipality)