SARM365
Sir AbdoolRazack Mohamed State Secondary School

A. Problem Analysis

 1. What was the problem before the implementation of the initiative?
Sir Abdool Razack Mohamed State Secondary School SSS was a paper dependent organization. All routine work was done in a manual way increasing the possibility for delays and errors while filling up the respective documents. Manual manipulation of documents implied the unprofessional way these documents are presented to Ministry or to parents. Further, the consumption of paper was at its highest. Our second problem was poor quality communication in the organization. Again, the flow of information was very delayed and sometimes important information did not reach on time thereby affecting decision making. it was also very difficult to review past decisions and communique. Another aspect of communication is between teachers and administration. lack of communication acted as a barrier between the two. Last, communication with parents was a lengthy process keeping the latter out of the picture. The third problem was the low adoption of ICT both in the classroom and at school administration level. Traditional methods were used for daily lessons and school administration. The fourth problem was that communication with the school onsite at the same time was becoming difficult and time consuming. Finally, there was no promotion of leadership skills both for the students and the staff. We had an autocratic management system where the voice of all stakeholders were not heard.

B. Strategic Approach

 2. What was the solution?
The initiative is to use clouding in the school environment to improve all aspects of school management and classroom management. it started in 2010 where a simple application was developed by some educators for the filling of marks. from this date, the initiative has been always improving. Our latest endeavor the implementation of Office365 by Microsoft. This solution was again proposed by staff of the school. We received the support of Microsoft Indian Ocean and Bhumishq for the implementation of the project. With the use of outlook online, Lync and yammer, communication has improved throughout the organization. A single email can inform all staff about a specific issue or an important communique from Ministry. Further, there is a record of all these communications which can be verified at any time. Yammer is a corporate version of Facebook. Only staff with an email address ending with sarmsss.mu are allowed to join. It allows instant communication between all staff and between all students or between the two. It is used to organize all events even outside school boundaries using any synchronized device. Lync is used to carry out meetings outside school hours and to collaborate with other schools and educators throughout the country. with the initiative, we have reduced paper usage by almost half. In the near future, we are planning to become a paperless organization. Reporting of students performance has become simple and automated using Excel Online and OneDrive. Educators simply input assessment marks and the system will generate all required reports. this allows more time for educators to concentrate on improving quality of results. With this system both educators and students can take the lead in the organization of school activities. Further, a public address system was introduced. This allowed instant broadcasting of important announcements to the whole school or to a classroom to classroom basis.

 3. How did the initiative solve the problem and improve people’s lives?
We are proud to state that we are the only school in the country to have adopted such practices. we have become a 24/7 school. Teachers and students can work and collaborate anytime and anywhere. They only need an internet connection to access the school. This initiative provide an all in one solution to school and classroom management. We have made the use of the following innovative tools: 1. Outlook online - all staff have an email address ending with sarmss.mu. This allows for quick and easy communication. 2. Calendar Online - this allows for scheduling and managing all meetings either online or in person. 3. Yammer - it allows for easy collaboration and communication with all staff. 4. OneDrive - it allows for storage, viewing and editing of documents online with any internet enabled device. Many teachers can access and edit the same file at the same time and in real time. 5. SharePoint - it is used to create public site for the school and team sites for each classroom to allow easy collaboration between educators and students. Our further improvements are: 1. We have implemented a "social welfare program" including visits and donations to an orphanage 2. neighborhood cleaning campaigns 3. voluntary blood donation with the community around the school 4. collaborations & exchange programs with socially deprived schools 5. Work sessions with Local police force on various topics & social problems 6. Granting of access of school to community and institutions 7. Carrying out of "Youth Engaged in Service" programme in collaboration with British American Investment to develop youth leadership skills.

C. Execution and Implementation

 4. In which ways is the initiative creative and innovative?
First there was a stocktaking of the present situation and the different possible solutions. With the help of our partners expert advice we were able to adopt the most viable solution. There were no tailor made solutions, thus platform for collaboration were developed and plan of action put in place. The plan was developed by one of the partners in consultation with the school and specifics were discussed. Training of administrators of the system, who are the educators at school, was the first step in the implementation of the strategy. Furthermore the second step was the training of the rest of staff which was done phase wise. First introduction to the new system, then educator in-house training and finally non teaching staff in-house training. After the training period the existing system was transferred on the new system and further in house training were made to develop the ability in making use of the new system and the concept of work anytime anywhere. Lastly students were exposed to the new system of collaboration and being from the technological age, they adapted quite fast cursing in their own way.

 5. Who implemented the initiative and what is the size of the population affected by this initiative?
All the stakeholders that a school may have were involved either directly or indirectly with the project. 1. Ministry of Education - they are the parent ministry from which all approvals and support are needed. 2. School leader administration staff - they are the one to coordinate all preliminary meetings, get the necessary approvals and clearances 3. Microsoft Indian Ocean - they are our partner. All Microsoft licenses and certification are to be obtained from them 4. Bhumishq (Mauritius) Ltd- It is the firm hired by Microsoft to carry out initial implementation and training of staff. 5. Core Team - this consist of 5 educators responsible for the daily monitoring, troubleshooting and maintenance of the system. 6. Educators - they are the primary users of the system. their adoption of the new initiative was very crucial to the success of the project 7. Parents - Students will work more from home. Thus, parents consent and approval is necessary. 8. Students - they are the end users of the system.
 6. How was the strategy implemented and what resources were mobilized?
Our policy is to "Do more with less" - the characteristic required to become a 21st Century school. All the above do not form part of the scheme of work of staff but all engaged themselves wholeheartedly for its success.The Office365 cloud software is normally a paid one. However, for schools the A2 plan has been given free of charge by Microsoft. Even our domain name "sarmsss.mu" was purchased for the first year by Bhumishq and financed by Microsoft. For consecutive years, Rs 2000 will have to be paid by the school to renew the domain name. The school's financial contribution was to set up a Wifi-Lan system with internet which costs around Rs 100,000. The purchase of 20 mini laptops at cost of Rs 200,000. The public address system was at a cost of Rs125,000. The fund to finance the initiative came from an Ad-Hoc grant of Rs 500, 000 given by Ministry of Education. Internet connection is available from 2 sources: One from Government Online Centre which is paid by Ministry. We have a parallel broadband internet connection which is paid by Parent Teachers Association at a cost of Rs 800 per month. The tablets given freely by Ministry is perfectly adaptable to office365. This tool will be used to make teaching and learning more dynamic. Human resource requirement was the training of the core team as admin to maintain the system. training was given by Bhumishq financed by Microsoft Indian Ocean. The core team then trained all staff for the efficient use of the system. Bhumishq will further assist the school for a period of one year concerning any technical support we may require.

 7. Who were the stakeholders involved in the design of the initiative and in its implementation?
1. The support and commitment of all SARM State Secondary School staff has led to the unanimous adoption of the system giving a general "Feel Good" factor to work at SARM SSS. 2. Timely and accurate generation of reporting system for students is available online. Teachers have access to all performance auditing required by Ministry and Quality Assurance Department. This is generated automatically by the system. Paper usage has fallen down by almost half. We further re-use and recycle paper. 3. Effective and on the spot communication among staff is possible. This reduces decision making time and improves the flow of information. Communication with students and Parents has also improved. 4. There has been a constant improvement in results at School Certificate and Higher School Certificate. There has been a reduction in number of failures at all levels at school. 5. With this program we have been able to develop new competencies/learning areas in staff & students such as: a. Life skills(learning to know, to be, to do and to live together) b. Civic Education(On becoming a true patriot towards Nation Building) c. Career skills(Become self reliant,enterprising,disciplined,efficient time management)

 8. What were the most successful outputs and why was the initiative effective?
Monitoring was carried out at various levels during the training phase and deployment phase. Furthermore dashboards were prepared with specific duties assigned to administrators who were to report to the head. Simultaneously our partners were having online checks about the progress of the project. Staff having problem of adaptation to the new system were given one to one training and one to one online collaboration to get acquainted with the facilities of the new system following the concept “teach a man how to fish instead to give him fish”.

 9. What were the main obstacles encountered and how were they overcome?
Internet connectivity was a major hassle for onsite training. Thus for the few first training of administrators, the activity was carried out in the office of one of the partners. Then the subsequent trainings were carried out at school using a private connection to the internet funded by the PTA. Another problem identified was the level of ICT skills among staff and this was dealt in trainings and also in one to one training session. Furthermore with online collaboration, meeting were held online to tackle issues.

D. Impact and Sustainability

 10. What were the key benefits resulting from this initiative?
SARM teachers have participated & won in various Microsoft Partners in Learning forums bringing SARM on the world map.Our students have emerged both on national & international levels by winning in various competitions. SARM has been awarded the Public Sector Excellence Award in 2014 for providing quality education & service to the nation. We now serve as benchmark & example for other local schools to follow. We have partnered & carried out workshops with 9 schools including 2 from deprived regions in our neighborhood school exchange program focusing on professional development & 21st century skills. We now serve as a role model for the use of Office365 if it is to be implemented in other schools. Internationally, we are collaborating & sharing experiences with schools in Kenya, South Africa, Bulgaria, Morocco, & Rodrigues island in various virtual universities where teachers/students are sharing successful innovative practices. We are also the only school in the region to have the Microsoft Mentor school award in 2013. Previously, in 2012 we were given the title Microsoft Pathfinder School. We have also been able to create "Happiness" in the school environment. Teacher and student satisfaction is at its highest. There is very low absenteeism among teachers and students. We are a school with no major disciplinary issues since the last 5 years. Parents have praised all the school staff for their dedication to improving the quality of education at SARM. We practice an "open door" policy for parents and educators from other schools. This new approach has enhanced the motivation & attitude of both teachers and students towards work. Positive & negative aspects are discussed with other teachers to provide room for improvement.

 11. Did the initiative improve integrity and/or accountability in public service? (If applicable)
Public officers are subject to transfers regularly. To ensure the sustainability, we will also carry out regular in house training of other admins to ensure the continuity of the initiative. Human resources are being trained in the event that some admins might be transferred. Furthermore collaborations with other schools have ignited the desire to implement such type of projects in the future with us being the main partner to deploy and help in the implementation. Financially, the project is sustainable over long time period since office365 is free of charge. As for the internet connection and domain name, PTA has agreed to provide the necessary finance.

 12. Were special measures put in place to ensure that the initiative benefits women and girls and improves the situation of the poorest and most vulnerable? (If applicable)
From paper dependent institution, we have moved to a reduced dependence on paper by integrating ICT at school level whether administration wise or pedagogical purposes. Now we will plan to adopt a new concept of “Green ICT”. There is always room for improvement and also there should also be the desire of doing the same things as other schools but differently and this is what the new system helps us to do. The adoption of this new system by all the secondary schools might trigger the alarm of creating an online Educational Management Information system for the Mauritian Education Sector with real time information.

Contact Information

Institution Name:   Sir AbdoolRazack Mohamed State Secondary School
Institution Type:   Government Department  
Contact Person:   Rajiv Kumar Aukhojee
Title:   Ag Rector  
Telephone/ Fax:   +2302126228
Institution's / Project's Website:  
E-mail:   rajiv.aukhojee@sarmsss.mu  
Address:   La Poudriere Street
Postal Code:  
City:   Port Louis
State/Province:  
Country:  

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