Ministry hopes to mine 'big data' to help students
The Education Ministry is planning to invest hundreds of million of baht in Big Data, a system that incorporates different data management technologies and practices and offers the ability to analyse multiple cases in real time, to get a better insight into teaching and learning problems facing the country.
Permanent secretary for Education Chaipreuk Serirak said the ministry hopes the Big Data management system will help its agencies, schools and education personnel to benefit from large volumes of both structured and unstructured data saved in a variety of formats.
According to Mr Chaipreuk, the new technology can help education officials and schools analyse almost everything, ranging from students' behaviour, test results, dropout rates, to career development trends and contemporary educational needs.
"With Big Data, it would be possible to monitor almost every action of the students -- how long they take to answer a question, what sources they use, what questions they skip and what methods work best for them," he said.
Moreover, Big Data can also provide automated systems to track students' timetables, record absences and provide other information about their performance and progress in real time.
Mr Chaipreuk said although a lot of data is already stored online and being used for statistical analyses by the Education Ministry, the updates are made only twice a year and most of the data banks are not inter-connected.
"But with Big Data, all statistics could be updated and monitored in real time, therefore the ministry would be able to offer services that meet the constantly changing needs of schools and students," he said.
He said the primary advantage of using Big Data within the educational system would be to improve the students' results.
Mr Chaipreuk said executives of the Education Ministry have discussed the plan with the independent committee for education reform and almost everyone agreed with the investment plan. However, an in-depth deliberation is needed which will be conducted at the next meeting.