EDITORIAL: Schools, parents should embrace Smart Initiative

A new app to track attendance and performance of learners in schools is set to be rolled out in rural schools in Rwanda soon. The simple rural oriented desktop application for the teacher, student performance and attendance in schools is being piloted among over 750 students at Lycee Notre Dame de Citeaux.

A new app to track attendance and performance of learners in schools is set to be rolled out in rural schools in Rwanda soon. The simple rural oriented desktop application for the teacher, student performance and attendance in schools is being piloted among over 750 students at Lycée Notre Dame de Citeaux.

Absenteeism and school dropout remains one of the biggest challenges, especially in rural schools. This makes the project a timely smart solution to curb absenteeism and school dropouts.

 

Statistics from the Ministry of Education indicate that the overall, school dropout rate decreased by more than half from 10.5% the previous year countrywide, but the problem is still big.

 

If the new app dubbed “Smart Parent” is rolled out, it will go a long way in addressing this challenge, which is a huge bottle neck to achieving quality education through smart solutions.

 

But this will require combined efforts from all the key stakeholders. The stake holders including parents, schools and the Ministry of Education, among others should throw their weight behind the initiative, which has potential to transform education in the rural communities.

The “Smart Parent” app is a tracking and monitoring software that provides daily short text messages (SMS) alerts to parents on the status of their children at school. The tool will help parents and schools to provide the best study environment for children, with a wide ICT penetration capacity. It will also ease evaluation of learners on aspects like attendance, performance, behaviour, health, and hygiene.

The architects of the initiative want to start rolling out the project from January 2017 targeting 20 schools per month. This is a project that should be supported but before rolling it out, a sensitization campaign should be conducted among the stake holders to understand and appreciate the objectives of the project.

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