on 17 October 1997
ITEM FOR FINANCE COMMITTEE
HEAD 177 - SUBVENTIONS : NON-DEPARTMENTAL PUBLIC BODIES
New Capital Account Subhead "Vocational Training Council - information technology infrastructure"
Members are invited to approve the creation of a new capital account subhead with a commitment of $31,967,000 for improving the information technology infrastructure in the Vocational Training Council.
There is a need to enhance the existing information technology (IT) infrastructure in the Vocational Training Council (VTC) in order to provide an environment conducive to quality learning and effective management.
2.The Secretary for Education and Manpower proposes to create a new capital account subhead with a commitment of $31,967,000 under Head 177 Subventions: Non-departmental Public Bodies to enhance the IT infrastructure of the VTC.
3.The proposed enhancements to the IT infrastructure of the VTC cover the following areas -
Setting up of Campus Networks in Technical Institutes and Training Centres
- setting up campus networks in all the seven technical institutes (TIs)Note and the VTC Headquarters, as well as setting up local area networks in the three Training Centre Complexes;
- enhancing the management information systems for better management of finance, personnel, student admission, resource planning and library functions, etc.; and
- replacing the minicomputer system for Tuen Mun Technical Institute (TMTI) and Kwai Chung Technical Institute (KCTI).
4.Currently, each of the seven TIs has a limited local area network connecting the Principal, Vice-Principal, heads of department and staff of the general office. There are also some local area networks in individual personal computer (PC) rooms for teaching purposes. As for the Training Centre Complexes, the PCs currently in use in the training centres are standalone computers.
5.As the PCs are not networked, students and staff cannot use them on campus to access facilities such as the library, the Internet and other management information systems. Nor can they communicate with each other via electronic mail. At present, access to the Internet is available only at specific rooms and library information can only be accessed inside the library. In addition, access points connecting the central computing services at the Headquarters are only available in the heads of department offices and general offices of the TIs.
6.The proposed campus and local area networks will provide a more flexible, innovative and interactive teaching environment through information technology. Specifically, they will allow lecturers to do live demonstration and simulations for students via the campus network and facilitate more effective communication between lecturers and students through a Bulletin Board Service. The networks will enable courses to keep pace with the current level of technology in the industrial and commercial sectors of Hong Kong and allow users to access the library catalogue system. They will also provide students with more hands-on practice in information technology in their day-to-day studies.
Enhancement of the Management Information System
7.In 1986, following the recommendation of a consultancy on the computerisation of the VTC, the Council adapted the application systems on student admission, accounting and payroll functions developed by the then Hong Kong City Polytechnic for reasons of economy, ease of implementation and reliability. From early 1989, the VTC started to develop and maintain its own Management Information Systems (MIS) by computerising most of its administrative functions such as finance, personnel, resource planning and library management.
8.As the existing application systems were developed on a piece-meal basis using traditional design techniques, they are less user friendly and could not interface with each other effectively. Moreover, most of the applications are designed for a centralised operation which no longer suit the needs of the operational units following the recent decentralisation of responsibilities from the Headquarters.
9.In order to take full advantage of the information technology available in the market, we propose to enhance the existing systems using up-to-date tools and client/server relational database to re-write all the applications software. The new MIS will constitute a centralised repository database to be shared by all the staff concerned. It will facilitate a more devolved management structure and assist units in managing their own operations and decisions. It will provide more management information to Headquarters and operational units and assist management to plan and control their activities, detect potential problems and determine remedial actions. It will make available more precise and comprehensive information to enable closer monitoring of the VTC's operation. It will also shorten the turnaround time for subsequent system modifications/changes arising from operational needs and reduce clerical support to maintain and update relevant operational data.
Client Server System for Tuen Mun and Kwai Chung Technical Institutes
10.The present system in TMTI is a minicomputer installed in 1988 with limited memory and capacity supporting 100 local terminals. The system is also hooked up to 21 remote terminals at KCTI through modem and telephone lines to provide minicomputer services for their students. It is an essential teaching equipment for the diploma and certificate courses offered by the Computing Studies Department in TMTI and KCTI. It also supports teaching of computer programming subjects in other disciplines.
11.The present system is now obsolete, having been in use for nearly ten years. The processing speed is slow and there is not enough memory and capacity to meet present-day requirements. The maintenance cost is high and spare parts are not readily available.
12.The proposed client server system would support at least 100 user jobs to be processed simultaneously. A network backbone would be built to connect the server to seven computer rooms in TMTI and a remote site at KCTI. It will be used for conventional applications as well as client/server processing applications to support the updated curricula of the TI courses and to meet the information technology needs in the commercial and industrial sectors.
13.The enhancement in the IT infrastructure will provide the VTC with a more cost-effective, efficient and innovative IT environment for teaching and learning as well as general administration and enable it to keep pace with the rapid development of information technology to meet the changing needs of the community.
14.We estimate that the proposal will incur non-recurrent expenditure of $31,967,000, broken down as follows -
||Campus network for seven TIs, Headquarters and local area networks for the three Training Centre Complexes
||Management Information Systems
||Client Server System for TMTI and KCTI
A detailed cost breakdown is in the Enclosure. The VTC will meet from its recurrent subvention from Government the estimated requirement of about $3.6 million a year to operate the proposed networks and systems.
15.VTC is the principal organisation in Hong Kong responsible for technical education and industrial training. A wide varieties of courses are offered at craft, technician and higher technician levels in a range of disciplines in two Technical Colleges, at Chai Wan and Tsing Yi, seven TIs and 24 Industrial Training Centres.
Education and Manpower Bureau
Note--They are Kwai Chung Technical Institute, Kwun Tong Technical Institute, Haking Wong Technical Institute, Lee Wai Lee Technical Institute, Tuen Mun Technical Institute, Shatin Technical Institute and Morrison Hill Technical Institute.
Enclosure to FCR(97-98)43
Costs for Improving the Information Technology Infrastructure in the Vocational Training Council
$ ' 000
$ ' 000
$ ' 000
|Total$ ' 000||
|(A)||Campus network for seven technical institutes, Headquarters and local area networks for the three Training Centre Complexes||3,386
|(a) Trunking, cabling and equipment connecting personal computers to communication devices|
|(b)Communication equipment for backbone equipment and switches|
|(c)Miscellaneous including networking management equipment|
|(B)||Management Information Systems|
|(a)Financial Information System||
|Financial package and development license||1,197||916
|Consultancy to assist in design, setting up and implementation
|(b)Management Information System||
|Oracle development license||-||288||800
|(C)||Client Server System for Tuen Mun Technical Institute and Kwai Chung Technical Institute||-||2,230