By TASIN TULASOI
A CLICK of a button is all it takes, is what you often hear when it comes to talking about the simplicity of techonoly.
For teachers, who have been rightly dubbed “nation builders,” this particular saying embodies the way they can work in this age of technology.
By its very nature, teaching demands commitment and dedication. And time. In PNG, especially in the government and church-run schools, the idea that teachers are required to work long hours as an integral part of their profession is a given, so much that most of them have taken it in their stride and continue to toil on, year in year out, night and day.
But one resolute young man, whose profession as a teacher entails working as an administrator (academic) and IT administrator and English teacher, refused to buy into this assumption after graduating from college. Having experienced firsthand the tedious nature of working long hours as a teacher, he began to dream of finding a way to help his peers who were caught in the doldrums of putting in those extra hours in the name of duty, on almost a daily basis.
Unbeknown to him, his dream – big as it was – needed time to thoroughly germinate, so it had to carry him through its formative stages for 10 long years, steadily raising, grooming and positioning him for its fulfilment. This long process has finally culminated this year in the launch of what is a first-of-its kind innovative data management system developed specifically for teachers’ use.
Today, a little office space in the heart of the laid back town of – of all places – Kavieng, in New Ireland, houses the humble beginning of a dream that has found its wings and is starting to soar.
Enter: Tony Rakop and his brainchild, Ray-cop Cabinet System.
This system is an off-shoot of his company called Ray-cop Limited. The company provides highly specialised services in computer repairs and networking for clients in Kavieng and the length and breadth of New Ireland.
The down-to-earth, but visionary and creative entrepreneur, who is aged 38, hails from Western Highlands. Understandably, he now calls Kavieng home, after arriving here several years ago and instantly falling in love with the province’s friendly and easy-going people and the alluring beauty of nature’s handiwork in this part of PNG.
His teaching career began after graduating from Balob Teachers College in 2000. Then he managed to secure a place at the University of Goroka and graduated with a Bachelor in Teaching in 2006. Right after that, 2007 saw him graduate with an honours degree in teaching and teacher education.
In yet another fulfilment of his aspiration to be educated to a much higher level in this noble profession, he pursued a master’s programme at the same university and graduated in 2010 with a Master in Education Administration. Rakop says that his electronic creation is a wireless and very simple database management system that can be easily used by head teachers and their staffs, even if they are not IT-oriented. He assures that with a little demonstration and hands-on training, teachers will be well on their way to utilising this vital tool in managing their schools’ data.
He asserts that using this system will drastically slice the long hours of work from teachers’ programmes and enable them to accomplish within a matter of minutes what normally would take hours to do – something his decade-long dream inspired him to find a solution to, which he has finally done.
Rakop admits that he could not be a happier man now, in light of what he has created for his peers.
He says this is not a new computer program, but rather a combination of day to day computer software and applications, which he has linked together into an innovative and cohesive system. The four major areas covered by the Ray-cop Cabinet System are: management of administrative data; management of assessment protocols; and management of staffs’ and students’ database, and installation of e-libraries.
Under the first category, management of administrative data, the system makes it easier for headmasters/managers to organise their data and produce them for use with the click of a button whenever required. The templates of all administrative documents would be standardised and electronically indexed and linked up for faster retrieval and production.
Then, in the area of management of assessment protocols, the Ray-cop Cabinet System is designed to cover the overall assessment process from the lowest to the highest level. The names of every student would be entered into the system with their personal identification numbers.
Henceforth, everything is pre-calculated and displayed once their respective marks are entered beside their names. These included each student’s overall score, ranking, grading and percentage. The mean, mode, medium, standard deviation and other data and functions will become available on request by clicking on a button.
These marks are linked to an electronic transcript and can be auto generated. So the only thing the teacher needs to do is just enter the raw marks, and print the transcript within minutes. Data entered gives command to other linked applications to generate the required information.
In the management of staffs’ and students’ database, every available information concerning them will be created and stored. These include their ID numbers, face photos, names, gender, and places of origin, residential areas, and so forth. It will cover just about anything that pertains to the students and staffs alike, for ease of access for administrative and HR purposes, among others.
Security concerns for information, like being lost or stolen, is a normal concern for managers and users of electronic database these days, therefore this issue has been addressed by Rakop – he is hooked up to the cloud server to store database.
This is possible because Ray-cop Cabinet System is a wireless system, therefore lost data or laptops and/or computers need not pose a worry for its users. Everything is kept in the cloud server and can be retrieved and restored with the click of a button.
In a first for New Ireland, the school that has pioneered the use of Ray-cop Cabinet System is Poliamba Primary School, located about 109 kilometres out of Kavieng Town. The system was fully installed and launched in April this year, and they have been using it since.
Head teacher Luke Paiap expressed his satisfaction and gratitude and said the new system was achieving its intended purpose and making work easier.
The system, which takes about a month to install, is easy to introduce to schools – the system is programmed into a new laptop and the laptop is then handed over to the school. The project costs just K10,000, or alternatively K2500 on a quarterly basis, and this amount covers all aspects of the installation process, which includes hands-on training, a new laptop, transportation, and other associated costs.
By TASIN TULASOI