Unlike the PBS system which requires teachers to manually key in the data online, the software, which is currently used by close to 300 schools, runs on a network system and provides a detailed analysis including the expected grade of the student and the projected improvement of the results for the following year.
“Teachers from all over the country are logging onto the PBS online system to key in the results.
“This will inevitably slow down the system,” said the retired teacher who declined to be named.
He believes that data collection is best done within the school with the items tailored to the school’s needs.
“It’s time consuming when too much raw data is collected from students’ co-curricular achievements to disciplinary records. Only analysed data is useful in helping the school to carry out its teaching and learning activities,” he said.
He was commenting on the problems faced by teachers three years after PBS was put in place, including slow loading times and crashes.
Suara Guru-Masyarakat Malaysia (SGMM) working committee head Mohd Nor Izzat Mohd Johari had said it was going ahead with its Feb 22 protest in Bangi to highlight the weaknesses of PBS, despite assurances by the ministry that the system would be reviewed.
Several IT experts have commented that this could be due to insufficient server or Internet capacity for the large number of users, resulting in a bottleneck.
Former programmer at a media company, Shaun Azlan Noordin, said one factor could be that the server and network were not able to support the number of users.
This was especially so if most teachers were logging in at the same time.
Dixon Liu, who runs his own computer company, used the analogy of a fast food restaurant with only one open counter. “It’s obvious that when 20 people queue up at one counter, it will be very slow.”
Senior IT executive Lim Sui Jin said there could also be geographical reasons.
“For example, if a server is located in Malaysia, users accessing a system from Australia would have a slower experience than those in Malaysia.
“So, the speed would also depend on where the server is located,” he said.
Woon Wai Keen, chief technology officer of a company that does cloud and Content Delivery Network software solutions for service providers, said every system would have a bottleneck.
He said performance always boils down to physical hardware. “It may be shifted by good software or system design, or it might be something that has to be expected due to physical constraints,” he said.
KANG SOON CHEN AND JEANNETTE GOON The STAR Home News Education 23/02/2014