General Questions Asked

OpenEMIS is a generic and Open Source Education Management Information System (EMIS) designed to collect and report data on education systems. The system was initially conceived by UNESCO to be easily and quickly customized to meet the specific needs of the educational systems of Member States.

An Education Management Information System can be defined as a set of formalized operational processes, procedures and cooperative agreements which are enabling the production, the management and the dissemination of unambiguous educational data and information in a timely and reliable manner to serve the needs of multi-level stakeholders (from educational institutions to central service) for monitoring, analysis and decision making.

The core of an EMIS is often a database centralizing school-based data collected via an annual school census, transactional data about education stakeholders operations, and also other data sources (such as census data). It is used by education ministries/departments, NGOs, researchers, donors, and other education stakeholders for planning, monitoring, and policy decision-making.

An EMIS is a key requirement for national authorities in order to assess, implement and monitor their education system. For example, then EMIS can be used to monitor that education systems are on track to meet international development targets (such as Millennium Development Goal 2 – Achieve Universal Primary Education) and national development goals related to education.

An EMIS typically tracks data on the following:

  • Students (number, area, time period, age, sex, grade)
  • Schools (number, area, infrastructure)
  • Teachers (number, school, grade, sex, qualification)
  • Financial Data

It also integrates a number of data sources external to the education system, such as census data.

Common issues constraining current EMIS include:

  • Missing data (schools not completing census)
  • Lack of historical data
  • Data quality and validation
  • Differences in country-specific EMIS hinder international comparability
  • Need for continual system modification
  • Inadequate country infrastructure and technical support
  • Inadequate data dissemination facility

The objective of OpenEMIS is to strengthen evidence-based education strategy and policy formulations in developing countries through the easy setup of an affordable, comprehensive and easy to use Education Management Information System.

This sector-wide tool intends to strengthen statistical information with a basic, agile and cost-effective EMIS which is easily adaptable to the needs of producers and users of education information. The flexibility of OpenEMIS allows for its use in a variety of situations in developing countries (Ministries of Education, Bureau of Statistics, administrative units at the regional, local and school levels).

OpenEMIS provides seamless integration with DevInfo, the database system endorsed by the United Nations for tracking country progress towards the Millennium Development Goals and other national priorities. As such, education data entered in OpenEMIS can be easily disseminated via tables, graphs and maps, which will provide decision-makers with key visualizations to quickly identify disparities and gaps.

The OpenEMIS initiative is coordinated by UNESCO and a strong technical support team equipped to assist countries with all aspects of country implementation, including customization, integration, migration, installation, configuration and upgrades.

The key features of OpenEMIS include the following:

  • Royalty-free, open source Education Management Information System (EMIS)
  • Runs offline on a desktop computer, on a local network, or as a cloud-based application hosted on a dedicated, secure OpenEMIS server
  • Fully customizable system to meet specific education system requirements
  • Multiple language support
  • Cross-browser compatibility
  • Automatically calculates and aggregates standard education indicators
  • Integrated with national financial and population census data
  • Integrated with DevInfo to visualize, analyze and identify disparities and gaps using tables, graphs and maps
  • Comprehensive reporting system to generate reports in different file formats including Microsoft Excel, Adobe Acrobat and Google Earth
  • Integrated mobile app to disseminate education information via smart phones and tablets
  • Powerful security architecture that allows users to create roles that grant permissions to access different modules, geographic areas or institutions
  • Supported through a worldwide network of education experts and technicians available through a 24×7 help desk

OpenEMIS was conceived and developed by UNESCO and is supported jointly through a technical collaboration with Community Systems Foundation (CSF). It is part of UNESCO’s response to Member Country needs in the area of tools for strategic planning.

CSF is a not-for-profit corporation registered in the USA in 1963 with experience in research, design and implementation of information technology solutions for improving human development programmes. One of CSF’s major projects has been leading the deployment of the United Nations’ DevInfo database system to more than 130 countries and regions.

UNESCO and CSF collaborate together to support to Member States in the area of EMIS though the provision of policy recommendations, technical advice and technical support on Educational Monitoring and Planning to Member States.

OpenEMIS is a royalty-free system available for use by any country. The cost of establishing OpenEMIS may involve some additional technical support for setup, configuration, migration and capacity building. See the list of Services for more information.

OpenEMIS is an easy-to-install web application that can be configured on a single computer, a local network server or hosted on an Internet/cloud based OpenEMIS server.

You can login to the online demo version of OpenEMIS.

The OpenEMIS initiative is backed by an experienced team equipped to assist with training, advocacy materials and technical support activities including:

  • Planning, Installation and Configuration
  • Hosting a Database
  • Data Migration
  • System Integration
  • Consultancy and Customization.
  • System Support Services

Please contact us for more information on OpenEMIS or to obtain a quotation on any of the services offered.

OpenEMIS Core can be run on one of our highly reliable and secure cloud-based servers, or installed on a local network server or standalone computer. The system has been developed in PHP using an MVC framework, enabling it to be installed on most platforms, including Microsoft Windows, Apple Macintosh and Linux operating systems. While OpenEMIS Core is distributed with a MySQL database, it has been designed to work with most common web server and database server technologies, including MySQL, PostgreSQL and SQL Server. OpenEMIS Core is a web based application that has been tested to work with the most current version web browsers, including Internet Explorer (version 9 and above), Firefox, Chrome and Safari.

OpenEMIS has been developed using open source software and is made available for royalty free distribution to participating countries.

The OpenEMIS system has been designed with a detailed security architecture. Our cloud based servers are located in world class, highly secure and fully redundant data centers located in multiple countries.

The software is currently available via a shared Demo site. In terms of implementation we offer a range of services to host the software or install and configure the software on a local server for approved countries. For more information please see the OpenEMIS License Agreements.

If you have more questions contact us here.