The West Australia Department of Education and Training today revealed it is conducting a technology trial that could lead to the centralisation of enterprise applications for its resource-challenged schools.
WA DET Chief Information Officer, Bevan Doyle, said that the department had moved servers from one of its 16 administrative hubs to its central office.
"We are now piloting the first phase of actually removing the more complex infrastructure from the schools like servers," said Doyle.
One of WA DET's biggest challenges is the geographic dispersion of its 800 schools which are spread across 3 million square kilometers, in some of Australia's most remote regions.
Doyle indicated that teachers are currently being forced to sacrifice classroom time maintaining local IT systems in schools where technical resources were either not affordable or available.
Primary schools and regional schools were the most likely to benefit from the new service provision model, said Doyle.
The plan's success will be closely linked to that of the department's ambitious statewide Web-based, e-learning education network project.
The project has seen WA DET invest AU$28 million in telecommunications infrastructure to supply 100 of the state's schools with Internet access, e-mail and interactive learning tools over the next two years.
According to Doyle, the alternative application service provision model may be extended to schools if the department is satisfied the systems can be made to work reliably across its network, which is made up of both terrestrial and satellite links.
Currently the experiment is limited to testing the feasibility of centralising the state's school administration software but the department's ambitions extend to other ERP applications such as human resources, pay roll and financial software.
It also announced yesterday that it had purchased a 300,000 seat licence for Oracle's enterprise collaboration software to provide the software foundation
"At this stage it's in the administrative area, but we're testing the feasibility of extending it to a broader range of services and it looks quite possible to do that," he said.
Andrew Colley travelled to Oracle OpenWorld as a guest of Oracle.