NSW Dept of Education IT system still in slow-motion collapse

Sydney TAFE can't track enrolments, graduates, resources, or fees

The NSW state government's troubled education IT system rollout continues to plague its users, with Fairfax Media reporting enrolments at Sydney Institute of TAFE are in crisis.

The system in question, Learning and Business Management Reform (LMBR), is a decade-long attempt to create a one-system-to-rule-them-all SAP implementation.

According to the Fairfax report, the implementation at the Sydney Institute of TAFE is an utter shambles.

Among the problems identified in e-mails leaked to Fairfax: 2,000 student enrolments are stalled; students can't use facilities like the library, campus computers, or printers; and graduates – who've either spent their own money on courses, or have student loans via the VET FEE Help scheme – can't get their diplomas.

Sydney TAFE's problems are in the Education Business System (EBS) part of LMBR. The Department of Education has pressed ahead with EBS, despite a NSW upper house committee recommending last December that it be scrapped.

With more than AU$500 million already sunk into LMBR, the state's Auditor General has warned that it will probably reach the billion-dollar mark if and when the rollout is successful.

The TAFE's director David Riordan gave the upside pitch to the newspaper, saying the problems were affecting only a “small proportion” of the institute's 30,000 students.

However, the enrolment delays also prevent the TAFE from collecting fees from the students, with an unnamed TAFE manager saying it was costing “many millions” in revenue.

Last year, the Education Department told a state budget estimates hearing the system was having problems with operating system and printer driver compatibility.

In February this year, the government dangled $850,000 in front of Boston Consulting to work out how to avoid repeating LMBR's mistakes in future. That report is due in June, if it arrives on time. ®

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