Schools get more tech-savvy, use apps to connect to parents
The applications also allow parents to interact with teachers without visiting the school. While some of these applications are free, many schools are not averse to buying the apps.mumbai Updated: Dec 07, 2016 09:52 IST
Gone are the days when students carried home typeset copies of school announcements and took down notes for their parents. Schools in the city are subscribing to mobile applications that keep parents of students in the loop about the progress of their children and school events.
These applications, which are often connected to the school’s enterprise resource planning (ERP) software [better known as school management system], provide instant access to details about examination, results, attendance records and notifications. The applications also allow parents to interact with teachers without visiting the school. While some of these applications are free, many schools are not averse to buying the apps.
“Although parents are quite involved with their children’s academic career now-a-days, they don’t necessarily find time to attend parent-teacher association (PTA) meetings or visit the school regularly. In such a scenario, our application comes handy as parents can keep a tab on their children,”said Pravin Gandhi, founder of SchoolVita, which develops such applications for the school.
In addition to connecting parents with the schools, the applications come with a host of other features. For example, an app developed by SchoolVita has a Global Positioning System (GPS), while another such application ChalkTalk, keeps a track on the school bus. It even sends an alert to parents as soon as their children enter the school.
“Our application comes with an online payment gateway. This helps parents go cashless, in the wake of recent demonetisation of Rs500 and Rs1000 notes,” said Mayur Jain, founder, ChalkTalk. The start-up counts 40 city schools among its clients.
While some schools are making use of the elaborate software being developed by start-ups, many schools have been developing their own in-house applications to connect better with the parents. One such school is Smt Sulochana Devi Singhania School in Thane. It has for the past eight years provided access to the school’s ERP system while a chat application ‘MTalk’ has been facilitating interaction between the parents and teachers. The school is now designing a mobile application. “The mobile app will be friendlier for the parents,” said Revathi Srinivasan, principal of the school.
Two years ago, Universal Education Group, which runs several schools in the city, developed an app named ‘Suvidha’, which has many of the features offered by the private developers. “The idea is to be proactive and update parents through every possible means, be it Facebook or Twitter. It’s not convenient for many working parents to come to school. Our app allows them to pay fees and even admit students online,” said Jesus Lal, CEO of the group. Lal said that while the app may incur a small operational cost, the school and parents save money as the applications reduce the paperwork to a large extent. “It’s a win-win situation,” he said.
While some schools don’t have a dedicated software or application at their disposal they are making use of other existing modes of communications. For example, Sacred Heart School in Kalyan has formed a broadcast group containing all 2,600 parents whose children are studying in the school. A coordinator is tasked informing the parents whenever there’s a new event at the school or a new exam schedule is declared. The parents receive an instant message, in case of any unforeseen development.
“It’s as good as parents coming to the school,” said Albin Anthony, director of the school.