Outdated technology holding back 88pc of European education sector – index

26 Feb 2013

Chas Moloney, director of Ricoh UK and Ireland

Educational institutions across Europe are struggling to keep up with advances in technology that would simplify and improve the delivery of education services, the recent Ricoh Document Governance Index has found.

More so than other sectors surveyed – which included the public sector, financial services, legal, utilities/energy, healthcare, manufacturing and the retail sector – outdated work practices in education is holding this sector back.

According to a survey carried out on behalf of Ricoh by Coleman Parkes within educational institutes across Europe, including Ireland, 88pc of those working in education said operations are out of date and that this negatively impacts how effective and efficient they can be, which can then have a knock-on effect on their ability to deliver high-quality education services.

“With teachers and students increasingly expecting modern, mobile learning environments, it’s crucial the Irish education sector is able to keep up with new technologies and ways of working,” said Chas Moloney, director of Ricoh UK and Ireland. “Increasingly, educational institutions are competing on the basis of efficiency, value for money, and the quality of student services, all of which can be enhanced through technology if it is properly integrated and used throughout an organisation.”

Use of mobile devices

New devices are not enough. Even though many respondents have access to the latest mobile devices, 77pc claim that use of such technology is hindered by back-end legacy systems that don’t allow them to fully embrace it. Proper integration of these devices is needed to allow workers to share and access information on the move, update student records in real-time, and securely submit information back to the network. By utilising mobile technology in this way, educational institutes can prevent duplication of work and limit security breaches.

There is pressure on the education sector to adopt the right technology to support a mobile workforce, with 89pc of respondents saying they are being impacted by mobile working. However, it’s also important that these institutes make the most of what’s at their disposal before moving forward with new investments.

“There is little benefit to buying new technology if it is not fully integrated within a school or university’s network, with staff able to access and process information and share knowledge in the right format at the right time. For this to happen, organisations need to review their technology and document processes in tandem to ensure they are working together to support business objectives,” said Moloney.

“For the education sector, optimised document processes mean classroom staff can be more productive and spend time delivering a richer learning experience, instead of spending valuable time finding and archiving records and documents.”

Elaine Burke is the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. She was previously the editor of Silicon Republic.