The University of the Western Cape commits R10 million for Free Software student enrollment management system
Cape Town, April 22, 2005
The University of the Western Cape today announced that it would commit a total of R10 million over three years to the development of a Free Software student enrollment management system (SEMS). Work on the system is to begin immediately, and involves a strategic collaboration with industry, as well as with the African Virtual Open Initiatives and Resources project (AVOIR) itself a collaboration of 9 African universities.
"We believe that the Free Software approach is the one that is best for UWC. It is our intention to produce a system that is usable by other African higher education institutions, some of which will eventually join with us in creating the generic components of the system. The collaborative Free Software approach is the approach that is most sustainable in the long term," said Rector Brian O'Connell.
"The days of secret, in-house developed management software are gone, and the Free Software (open source) approach is a viable alternative to implementing proprietary software for this purpose," says Prof Derek Keats, Executive Director of Information and Communication Services who is leading the project.
According to IT director, Madiny Darries, the SEMS project will leverage work already done in the AVOIR project by building on the software application framework that has been developed as the basis for an e-learning system. "We will use this framework for all our software development at UWC so that we create integrated tools instead of isolated islands of proprietary software," said Darries.
The application framework and SEMS are developed in object-oriented PHP, using the model-view-controller design pattern and a front controller web implementation. A proof of concept for the extensibility, scalability and stability of this approach has already been conducted using industrial strength testing tools.
Institutions interested in collaborating with this project may contact Prof Derek Keats (firstname.lastname@example.org, 021 959 2304). SEMS will use the AVOIR website for hosting and managing the collaborative development. The AVOIR website is found at http://avoir.uwc.ac.za/.
Prof Derek Keats
Executive Director, Information & Communication Services
University of the Western Cape,
P. Bag X17, Bellville, South Africa
Phone: +27 21 959 2304
Fax: +27 21 959 1201