System glitch hits schools' centralised report card system

Some students in Singapore will not be receiving complete report cards for the first half of the year, because of a fault in a centralised Web-based system that tabulates their results.

The School Cockpit System, as it is called, is managed by a vendor and serves all public schools here - more than 350 of them - from primary schools to junior colleges, as well as the Millennia Institute.

It is not known how many schools were affected by the recent glitch.

Chinese daily Lianhe Zaobao reported on Wednesday that a back-end fault in the system affected procedures for teachers, who usually key in students' test scores to compile report cards before the June school holidays.

It cited some teachers as saying that their schools were making alternative arrangements, such as tabulating the results manually, giving them out after the holidays and updating parents about their children's progress during meet-the-parents sessions.

The School Cockpit System, launched in 2001, is used to implement administrative duties, such as monitoring students' academic results and attendance records.

It is meant to help improve the productivity of teachers by easing these day-to-day work processes.

In response to queries, the Ministry of Education said it was alerted on May 16 that schools were experiencing system slowness.

"Interim checks show there is malfunctioning of a back-end system component, and the team is working to resolve the issue and restore the system," said a spokesman. "In the meantime, we have in place alternative plans to help schools continue with their work.

"Schools will be able to prepare and generate simplified versions of result slips, so teachers can give parents an update on their child's progress and development at the end of the school term."

These result slips will consist of subject marks and grades, teachers' remarks, students' conduct and overall scores.

Details such as students' attendance records and their height or weight will not be included, although these can be printed out by schools if necessary.

Schools will hand out these simplified slips in the coming weeks, or after the June holidays.

Some parents contacted said they would not be concerned even if their children's results were given out later.

Madam Cindy Hiang, a 42-year-old administrative executive, said her son's teacher told parents that the students' results would be out by this week.

"I haven't heard if my son's school would be affected. But I'm not really concerned," said Madam Hiang, whose son is in Secondary 1. "If the grades come later, I won't pester the teachers."

She added: "If it's a system error, it's no one's fault."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 27, 2016, with the headline 'System glitch hits schools' centralised report card system'. Print Edition | Subscribe