Sameer Bora, Executive Vice President, Next Education India Pvt Ltd.

Sameer has over 18 years of experience spanning education, software technology, marketing and advertising. He specializes in K–12 education and product management and is interested in the emerging trends of the education technology industry.

For any parent, seeing their child go to school for the first time is something momentous. It is something very close to their hearts as they wait eagerly to see them learn and grow. And it’s only natural for them to worry about the day’s happenings, starting from the time their child sets foot in school until the time they reach home. Since child safety is a matter of great concern in these times, a robust security system has become one of the decisive factors for the selection of a school.

Challenges faced by schools today

Although schools have made great strides in creating an effective teaching-learning environment, the same is not reflected in the administrative domain. Increasing workload and administrative hassles lead to situations of mismanagement and manual errors. It is getting increasingly difficult for administrators to keep track of information pertaining to academic timetables, assignments, exam schedules, fee payment, holidays, lecture schedules, parent-teacher meetings, progress reports, etc. In addition, rising concerns over child safety and cyber crimes have made it even more complex.

Today, any new school can’t function properly without remedying the administrative hurdles and addressing parents’ concerns. New threats such as phishing, identity theft and ransomware have been reported in many schools across the globe, putting their entire functioning in jeopardy. These instances have also been reported in different media, which, in turn, is feeding parents’ anxiety about the safety of their child. As such, investing in enterprise resource planning (ERP) enabled administrative solutions has become the need of the hour for schools.

What is Enterprise Resource Planning?

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) is an easy-to-use management system used by schools to streamline their myriad operations. It caters to the needs and interests of a wide spectrum of stakeholders, including parents. With its host of advanced features, parents can keep track of the day-to-day management of a school in real-time.

Major advantages offered by ERP-enabled school infrastructure

  1. Integrated CCTV and video surveillance: In light of distressing incidences of violent crimes, school administrators are realizing the need for an ERP system to closely monitor every person’s movement on a daily basis and prevent untoward incidents on school campuses. The security enhancement feature of an ERP takes care of all security-related must-dos – from managing visitor entry, authenticating their credentials via government documentation, face recognition and OTP validation to tracking personnel via CCTV, saving the necessary footage on a cloud server and providing live streaming of the same.
  2. Data encryption: ERP’s data encryption feature ensures protection of all personal and confidential files and documents belonging to parents, students, staff and teachers. The information is converted into a random combination of numbers and characters that is undecipherable to a person or organization without authorized access. This helps to prevent phishing and ransomware incidents.
  3. Tracking transport: ERP’s trip management system enables parents to effectively track minute-by-minute details of upcoming, on-going and completed trips. In case of breakdowns, accidents and other unforeseen events during the trip, custom alerts based on location are immediately sent to the school in-charge for immediate action. Parents are also apprised of the same through an integrated SMS and notification service.
  4. Attendance: Another hallmark of ERP is its automated attendance system. With its automatic face recognition, radio frequency identification (RFID) readers and biometric system, ERP’s attendance feature facilitate period-wise attendance marking in schools. It not only helps administrators generate real-time attendance reports of teachers, students and other staff but also sends instantaneous alerts to parents on their child’s arrival in the school. The integrated SMS and notification service ensure that all academic stakeholders are kept in a common communication loop.
  5. Fee management: The tedious task of waiting in long queues for hours together is physically and mentally taxing for parents. Owing to their tight schedules, some parents may not get time to pay fees offline, leading to further delays. This situation can be avoided by making use of ERP’s payment gateway, a hassle-free process for parents to make payments.
  6. Student management: The student management feature of ERP safely stores critical information related to a student, such as academic performance, medical history and primary contact details, on a cloud server. Moreover, it serves as a platform for teachers to share real-time constructive feedback with parents on their child’s attendance, academic progress, behavior, homework, and interactions with peers.
  7. Role-based access system: ERP has a role-based access system. It means that school administrators assign different roles to different users with a range of permissions set on them. Every role has a set of pre-defined actions that a user is expected to perform at the discretion of the school administrator.
  8. Access control policies: ERP’s strong access control policies prevent the occurrence of the risks associated with identity theft. For instance, if a parent wants to access any information concerning their child’s academic performance, they must verify their identity by either entering their child’s date of birth or any other specific information the system asks for.

Today, technology-driven administrative management tools such as ERP have led us to view parenthood in ways unimagined before. No longer a neglected stakeholder in their child’s education, parents today have bigger and wider roles to play in bringing up their child. In this digital era, they must keep themselves abreast of the new developments in the field of edtech and accordingly choose the best school for their child. Since they are as important as other K–12 stakeholders, it goes without saying that they play a pivotal role in ensuring that the guidelines for child security are followed to the letter.

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