OneSchool online student database

I was browsing the web and found an interesting article about an intranet database dubbed OneSchool, which will profile Queensland’s 480,000 public school students enrolled from Prep to Year 12. It will contain photographs, personal details, career aspirations, off-campus activities and student performance records.

Some parents are outraged and concerned about the possibility that it will make their children vulnerable to paedophiles. Others worry that hackers will target the information.

I was shocked to read in one article that the Education Minister has suggested that if parents refuse to give their consent to their child being profiled, they could also be denied access to public education.

I am still not sure how I feel about this matter, I can understand some of the fears people have, I am not sure that such a centralized database is necessary….

Any thoughts on the matter, feel free to have your say.

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11 thoughts on “OneSchool online student database”

  1. Hi Chris

    The CM report was somewhat selective to say the least. Here are 10 key points to note:

    1. OneSchool will provide for a single record per student but access is limited to the school where the student is enrolled. While there are future plans for student and parent access, this too is intended to be tighly limited.

    2. The system is on the intranet, not the internet and the current release has been tested by mationally recognised security experts.

    3. Photos are optional – schools do not have to include them and any publishing of student images beyond the school requires parental consent.

    4. The Queenalnd Teachers Union, normally quick to criticise DETA for any perceived poor decisions, actually support this, as do the state P&C and Principal’s groups.

    5. The original complaint came from a disgruntled parent who objected to very basic information being recorded about her child, even though the same information is already included on the existing student record system (name, year level, address, national test scores etc). Most of the passionate commentary that followed was fuelled by the same kind of child safety fear that plagued the handling of Denis Ferguson, but was based on a lot of misinformation and ignorance.

    6. The so-called “extra curricular” activities to be recorded are those that are part of the school program (e.g. inter-school sport, lunchtime computer club, tournament of minds etc), not what the kids get up to on weekends or holidays.

    7. No student will get “denied” an education for their parents refusing to supply information other than the basic stuff which is needed for enrolment already. That was a stupid comment by the Minister open to misrepresentation and the CM duly obliged.

    8. The purpose for a “centralised” database (the actual data resides at the school, but the common business processes and schema mean the record can travel to subsequent schools0 is needed because at the moment, when a student arrives at a school, there is no information about them other than a transfer slip (if that). teachers are being told they have to customise learnign to the needs of individual students, but don;t have ready access to even the most basic data about a students’ academic performance, needs or interests.

    9. The other major reason for this is that around 40% of students in Qld state schools will transfer from one school to another in their schooling (apart from the move from primary to high school) and supporting this kind of transient population requires an integrated info system, much in the same way as a national system underpins medicare to ensure financial coverage of patient health services can be properly supported.

    10. the final reason for this is that currently there are 1300 state schools in Qld and each one has its own rather unique way of doing business, from an administration point of view. OneSchool is about more than an information system and a single student record. It is also about consistent (not uniform) business practices which is essential if the department is going to properly support schools, their students and parents.

  2. Although I do believe the whole “parents refuse to give their consent to their child being profiled, they could also be denied access to public education” seems a bit overboard I see no problem with this idea. The points Ford brings are all very good but I wanted to add one really quickly.

    Most universities, at least mines does, have a database which stores the information of all their students. The latest change in ours has been that now SS has been “removed” and changed into an ID PIN. But theyre still sensitive information there.

    This is something that will always be out there. I mean most of our information is stored in one or another database out there. Be it the government, a private industry or something on those lines. I see no reason for the parents to get work up about this if they don;t realize that they themselves can also be targets of unscrupolous individuals out to get their identities. In my opinion I’d be all for the database because it can also be of a great help. Points 8-1- more or less sumarize why I’d also be in favor of it. What if a specific student is allergic to a specific medicine and in the moment of an emergency no one knows this? That question is just one example of why I’d vouch for having that database implemented. Or maybe I’m biased becasue I hold a blog on databases and have used them quite a bit…

  3. Hi Isaac
    I agree with you, with regards to holding important information ie; medical requirements. It does make sense to keep that information stored centrally. I think the initial scare-mongering has given way to more calm discussion, I think its the way forward for educational establishments.

  4. Hi Catherine,

    Well I was just stating that I felt parents where getting overworked about something that basically THEY themselves should be worked about! I mean this world right now is heading into an area where computers are becoming ever dominant (I wrote a short article on this, I’ll probably write one based off of this) and with them databases as well.

    Now you basically have a database practically everywhere! Almost every business and/or government uses one. Why? Because they store valuable data: be it customer, employee, or anything on those lines.

    Having database in schools will be a boom not a curse or a hindrance. Yes its true they are open to hackers or pedophiles and God knows how many unscrupulous people out there. But that’s something that will always exist! We can’t hide from it! People who want to do bad will always find ways to do it. Take for example online gaming. There IS always someone who will find a way to beat the system to cheat.

    My point is parents shouldn’t worry about people trying to do wrong. What they should worry is that the database system is well built, secure and accessible only to them. All this can be done with security implementations such as passwords that change every semester and accessible only to the parents and/or legal guardian (just in case the child might be lured into giving their passwords) I’m only mentioning one of all the possible security measures that can be used to protect the database from unwanted prying eyes.

  5. I think a very Nasty ‘Orwelian’ feature of Oneschool is being overlooked here,even the Teachers Union don’t seem to get it . Oneschool  will feature childs behaviour record, currently within the SIMS system this is not featured,it is recorded in a SEPERATE behaviour management file.Oneschool records will be retained by QLD.ED. for at least  years on their INTERNET data base. This creates a new CLASS DICRIMINATION it is a violation, public school students are at an immediate disadvantage by virtue of the Behaviour History Tab in Oneschool. This tab is “in your face” andaccesable to FAR MORE LEVELS OF STAFF than previously had access to this data. Oneschool is as flawed as the docments supporting it, have a look at the recent ammendments made to the “Behaviour management application guide.Also schools now have to revise their behavioir management policies to try to add new proticols to establish GOOD BEHAVIOUR RECORDS,not much is recorded currently. But best of all guess who has acessto the records? The police, better hope those records are true and accurate, wouldn’t dice or bias or labelling to snaek into those records !

  6. This is not a good thing for kids. Do you realise that school is one place where a person can be found guilty and punished without any representation whatsoever (not even an adult of the child’s choosing present in most cases, let alone legal representation) and no appeal to any forensics etc to decide the case. No safeguards that are afforded in the criminal system whatsoever!! Yet these records of “behaviour incidents” are now going to be passed from school to school (no new start a possibility now!!!) and kept on a database for who knows who to access down the track. Not good!!!


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