If you aren’t already aware of the SA-SAMS / Lurits debacle, here is what we found out. We realize how important this is for schools and how confusing it is too. We found the following on Principal Software’s website.
Lots of views and discussions have been held regarding this. Without getting into too much detail, we are of the opinion that the policy makers are confusing the terms SAMS and SA-SAMS throughout the Education Sector. There is a distinct difference in these two terminologies.
SAMS = School Administration Management System (Government Gazette No 38223) – thus so-called Third Party Service providers.
SA-SAMS = South African School Administration Management System – The SAMS provided by Government.
All policy and legal reference are referred to as SAMS. Please read carefully- NOT SA-SAMS! The intention of policymakers was to create a “data warehouse” for data mining by relevant role players – this was called Lurits. All SAMS (Third Parties and SA-SAMS) need to comply with these principles.
What the experts say about SA-SAMS
In the Fedsas National Newsletter 4 of 2015 dated 19, October 2015 a statement regarding the use of SA-SAMS at schools was published.
It has come to our attention that certain provincial departmental officials are informing schools that the use of SA-SAMS, as the school’s information system, is compulsory. This is however not the case.
Section 20(1)(g) of the South-African Schools Act states that the school governing body must administer and control the school’s property, and buildings and grounds occupied by the school, including school hostels, but the exercise of this power must not in any manner interfere with or otherwise hamper the implementation of a decision made by the Member of the Executive Council or Head of Department in terms of any law or policy.
All data, statistics, and information about the school form part of the school’s property and the governing body must administer it which inevitably also means that the governing body can decide which system it will use to control and administer the information.
Furthermore, section 59 of the Schools Act deals with the school’s duty to provide information. Section 59(2) determines that “Every school must provide such information about the school as is reasonably required by the Head of Department or the Director-General of the national Department of Education in consultation with the Head of Department.” The Schools Act does not prescribe the manner or system through which information must be submitted.
According to the National Education Information Policy, the information systems in departmental offices, schools and other institutions do not need to be part of a single product, but they should be unified by common design and data standards, making the interaction between systems possible (paragraph 9 – own emphasis added).
*It is clear from the above that school governing bodies can decide whether or not to use SA-SAMS or to make use of another system.
In the SATU newsletter Blitz 15/2016: 24/02/2016 the Union advised the following regarding the use of Third Party Software:“Principals are advised to discuss the content of the circular with the SGB of the school and if the decision is to use another system (not SA-SAMS) it should be minuted, to protect the principal.”
Here is what Principal Software has to say about using SA-SAMS.
(Principal Software kindly allowed us to repost this article and all cred goes to them)
Principal Software’s SA-SAMS & LURITS Compliance
Principal Software already allows users to export to SA-SAMS and are constantly expanding and including all SA-SAMS requirements. Although they have hit obstacles due to SA-SAMS patches resulting in challenges and other technical obstacles, they keep enhancing and consider this a critical requirement in their Systems.
We are an accredited 3rd Party LURITS compliant software provider to the National Department of Education and also part of the LASS Forum (LURITS Accredited Software Systems). As from 1 March 2016, we have automated both the submissions process to LURITS as well as the import of the Feedback files from LURITS on our Cloud based administration platform.
What Principal Software say about their view and strategy
To keep on providing you – our valued customer – with the best overall experience and ground level needs addressing products. This is, however, challenging when Government (National and Provincial) are using the SAMS/SA-SAMS terminology in a construed way.
“We are calling on all software system users in the Education Sector to know your rights and please make use of the organisations such as Fedsas and SATU to act on any claims which are deemed illegal, opportunistic or threatening.”