The B.C. government says it will scrap an $89-million software program to track elementary- and high-school students’ attendance and marks after a consultant’s report concluded the software needs to be replaced.The province says schools will have to use the program until a new system is brought in, by about 2014.

Introduced more than six years ago, the B.C. Student Information System, better known as BCeSIS, has faced a host of complaints, including that it was expensive for cash-strapped school districts and unreliable. Last year, the system had a provincewide crash in the first week of school.

A $250,000 review of the system by Gartner Inc. said that BCeSIS is not meeting the needs of the province and schools. The review concluded the system was not generally user-friendly, didn’t provide satisfactory reports and data analysis, and would be more difficult to service and upgrade as it got older. The software was created specifically for the province, but the consultant has suggested B.C. now buy existing software. Vancouver school board chairwoman Patti Bacchus said she would like to see a new system in place sooner than 2014.

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