Department of Education

Management Commitment Needed to Improve Information Resources Management Gao ID: IMTEC-92-17 April 20, 1992

It will be difficult, if not impossible, to effectively gauge the success of national efforts to resolve the education crisis as long as the Education Department lacks the information technology needed to provide reliable data for overseeing its operations. Unless information resources management practices improve, particularly in the area of strategic planning, the Department will be unable to use information technology to assess the effectiveness of its programs. As the Department begins linking strategic initiatives to its mission and seeks to address chronic operational problems, the strategic use of information technology needs to be considered.

GAO found that: (1) Education lacks key management and program information with which to effectively oversee its operations and has not established an effective IRM program; (2) Education's senior IRM officials were not involved in strategic IRM planning and failed to establish a vision for the use of information technology or an effective IRM planning process to meet departmentwide needs; (3) until deficiencies are resolved, it will be difficult for Education and Congress to effectively gauge educational programs' success and develop sound policies to resolve the education crisis; (4) because of incomplete or inaccurate data on the Stafford Student Loan Program, guaranty agencies and lenders were unable to identify students who defaulted on loans and then received new loans, a practice that costs the government millions of dollars in interest subsidies; (5) in three of Education's largest offices, managers lack the accurate and timely information needed to effectively manage and monitor their programs; and (6) Education's strategic IRM plans for fiscal years 1987, 1988, and 1989 did not identify Education's mission or the program objectives, prioritize automation activities, include measures to judge whether improvements occurred during the period, discuss resource requirements, or link the activities to program or agency management areas.


Our recommendations from this work are listed below with a Contact for more information. Status will change from "In process" to "Open," "Closed - implemented," or "Closed - not implemented" based on our follow up work.

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