Industry Focus: School Administration
The ongoing global challenge in education is to improve student success by ensuring that technology actively supports the way educational institutions function. The advancement of the administration systems is a path which will bring the educational institutions to a cost-effective, and progressive level. To be part of the revolutionary change of school administration systems, it is important for those interested in the field to get to know the new technologies that lay beneath this change.
The Downside of Paper Based Systems
Paper based systems of recording and the inherent administration have become inefficient. Let’s take, for example, a school located in a rural, remote area. The systematic recording and reporting of student attendance, teacher absences, examination scores, inventories, and so on are mostly done with photocopied paper forms. The downside is that an education officer in the area must then collect the forms and transport them to the ministry of education. Then, the stack of reports must be entered into a database by enumerators, so that the information can be interpreted. This type of an administrative system is archaic and inefficient. These administrative processes present a huge gap between the time of reporting, analysis, and action, which leads to education stakeholders being unable to understand and respond to local needs in real-time.
How is Technology Benefiting the Administrative Systems?
By streamlining the administrative tasks, more financial and human resources can be targeted at improving instruction, and the teaching and learning environment. A system aimed at quality, a more effective and efficient system, is a better system, one which will be more capable of delivering better education to young people in a more efficient way.
The use of emerging technologies is an essential part of a school advancement strategy, and for that purpose, student advisors, faculty, and students need to accept and use it. In order to focus on efficiency and improvement of education administration, it is important to address the ways of improving two-way communication.
Communication is important for those who are delivering education on the ground, in order to report the situation they are encountering. In addition, two-way communication also enables education planners to get a good read on the situation on the ground. Numerous benefits can be derived from good communication, improving the efficiency and effectiveness of an education system. It can lighten the load for teachers while also reducing costs through the provision of more streamlined and efficiently run services.
Another way to improve school administration with technology is to apply it to administrative functions, such as the reporting of attendance, which can also be recorded electronically. With this system, schools can overcome some of the challenges around paper based forms of data collection. Data on attendance, assessment, lessons, school fee collection, and other processes can be automatically synced to the school manager’s smartphone and sent to the central office, allowing for real-time data collection and analysis.
The Progress of SIS
According to Ovum‘s 2016/17 ICT Enterprise Insights (ICTEI) survey, investments in student information systems (SIS) will happen at a faster rate than any other core application over the next 18 months. Approximately 56% of institutions have strategic or minor investment planned for their SIS in the near future. This is unsurprising given that the next generation of SIS solutions is beginning to emerge, added to an institutional need for innovation in administrative systems. With the continued pressure of tight budgets and the need for differentiation in a competitive market, there is a growing need among institutions for upgrading or replacing legacy SIS solutions with modern technology
It is important to mention that student information system (SIS) providers have addressed this pressing need for innovation in administrative systems, and they will continue to do so in the future.
How Can Technology Enhance Administrative Functions?
- It can drive down costs
Possibly technology’s greatest improvement for making schools efficient is its ability to drive down costs of many functions. SMS messaging can be an effective form of communication, at a fraction of the cost of printing and mailing information between stakeholders. The need for expensive financial systems can be cut out by using mobile money. These are particularly cost effective when leveraging devices stakeholders already own and know how to use.
- It can save time
Teachers and school leaders spend a great deal of time collecting and analyzing data, from administering and grading assessments to collecting information about attendance. Crowdsourcing assessment questions and facilitating automatic evaluation can save the teacher’s time to focus on instruction. Innovative administration systems can use technology to draw all the data that school leaders need in one place.
- It can improve communication
Technology can facilitate communication between different stakeholders in the education system. Some school administration platforms aim to improve dialog between local and national education administrators in order to strengthen education system operations.
School Administration Platforms
BloomBoard offers schools and districts an innovative approach to professional learning that’s continuous, personalized, and competency-based, using micro-credentialing. This platform is changing the way educators grow and learn. Their professional learning programs provide state and district leaders with an effective way to offer educators personalized learning opportunities specific to their growth goals and recognize them (both formally and informally) for the skills they’ve demonstrated in the classroom.
SchoolMint software streamlines all aspects of the student enrollment process – student recruitment, application and lottery management, registration, school choice and unified enrollment, family communications, and year-round digital forms. It is available online and on mobile devices.
Clever supports technology use in the classroom by giving the software applications a platform to easily connect with schools and give districts a central location to manage all of their learning resources. This is the easiest way for schools to manage learning software. Clever also makes it easy to connect student information systems (SIS) with learning apps.
Parchment platform transforms credentials from paper form to digital. The Parchment transcript network enables millions of enrollments at member high schools and universities to request, collect and deliver their digital transcripts to pursue admissions, licensing and employment opportunities. In March 2017, they added digital certificates and diplomas to the platform.
The following study programs in European universities will give you an example of which types of program are desirable when it comes to working in this field.
- University of Cambridge: Education, Policy, and International Development (United Kingdom)
- University of Groningen: Computing Science (The Netherlands)
- University College Cork: Science Education (Ireland)
- Aalborg University: Electronics and Computer Engineering (Denmark)
- University of Antwerp: Instructional and Educational Sciences (Belgium)
- University of Jyväskylä: Educational Leadership (Finland)
- Universidad Autónoma de Madrid: Information and Communication Technologies in Education and Training (Spain)
- University of Cambridge: Educational Leadership and School Improvement (United Kingdom)
Job Opportunities Related to School Administration
Schools that aim to improve their status and quality of education they offer need to have a good team behind their administration. These job positions will give you an insight into the type of jobs in school administration.
Administrator – School administrator job requirements often include managing school budgets, keeping academic records up to date and general day-to-day management of teaching staff. A master’s degree is preferred, and a few years of experience as a school administrator.
Program Coordinator – This position includes planning, developing, conducting, and monitoring courses for students, according to approved curriculum, keeping in view the individual learning needs of the children. When it comes to education, a bachelor’s degree is a minimum requirement. Having teaching experience is a plus, since it helps the employee to have a better understanding of the school program.
Education Inspector – The importance of this job lies in that the inspectors’ goal is to ensure that schools are constantly improving and that the education provided is of a high standard. A bachelor’s degree is required and it is helpful if candidates have experience in inspecting, auditing (internal/external), quality assurance, school inspection and/or ISO inspections and a strong background in education.
The benefits of upgrading the school administration systems are undeniable. From lowering the costs to enabling easier access to school and student data, technology enables school administration to spend less time on paper forms and more time on improving the school system. The future generations are yet to fully accept the change and for that reason, future job seekers in this field need to be prepared to be a part of creating an efficient and technology-oriented school system.
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