Sustainable School management systems in Kenyan secondary schools: A comparison between cloud based systems versus on premise based systems.
Use of ICT in managing secondary schools in Kenya has been rarely used; Schools started embracing ICT tools and used them for typing letters and exams. Seven years ago schools began automating their management systems; however some schools experience a lot of problems with these systems such as high cost of ownership, maintenance and lack of ICT personnel. The purpose of this study was to compare the two available methods of running SMS; on-premise and on cloud. In doing so the study revealed the challenges experienced by on premise SMS and many opportunities for solving these challenges that cloud SMS presents. The capital expenditure required in each case was studied, also studied was recurrent expenditure and security issues in each case. The study looked ICT costs, qualitative benefits and quantitative benefits. The study targeted schools that have automated school management processes in Limuru District of Kiambu County and ICT companies that offer SaaS cloud computing services in Kenya. Data collection was done by use of questionnaire and interview. The study revealed many problems experienced by Kenyan secondary schools while implementing on-premise SMS; the major problem being insecurity in their locations, which has lead to hardware loss for up to 50% of the schools while 30% of the schools lost their data due to poor data protection measures attributed to lack of ICT personnel. ICT costs was another problem facing secondary schools, it was observed that initial hardware costs were very high and wished to have an option of reducing these costs. Use of inappropriate technology is prevalent in schools with 50% of schools using MS Access as a database. Cloud computing can help schools solve a lot of problems such as providing better security for their data and by avoiding capital expenditure for ICT which is in millions of shillings. It will also provide easier access to school information by stakeholders without the need to travel to school to access the same information. The much needed ICT expertise lacking in schools will then be provided by the cloud provider. It is advisable for school to move their SMS to the cloud and the schools that have not automated their systems should consider adopting cloud SMS directly. This will allow them reap the benefits of the cloud on reducing costs, securing data and available ICT staff.