SINGAPORE: A one-stop mobile app that was launched on Wednesday (Jan 2) now allows schools to update parents on programmes and activities, as well as provides a platform for performing administrative matters.
The Parents Gateway app was developed in partnership with the Government Technology Agency (GovTech) and the Ministry of Education (MOE).
It will be rolled out progressively to all schools by the end of the year.
Education Minister Ong Ye Kung launched the app at Huamin Primary School, one of the first schools to pilot the programme.
As part of Singapore’s Smart Nation initiative, he said one of the benefits of the app is that parents with children in different schools can use the same platform to complete administrative processes.
“For teachers too, I think this is a major improvement," said Mr Ong. "I really hope by using this gateway, we can cut down on administrative work for our teachers.
“This hopefully frees up more time for our teachers so that they can better focus on what they are good at, which is teaching.”
Parents can use their SingPass accounts, SMS 2FA or OneKey token to access the app, which is available on iOS and Android.
They will be able to receive information and perform administrative functions such as providing consent for their children to participate in school activities.
Apart from reducing workload for teachers, the app also improves teacher engagement with parents, said Mrs Thelaga Gajan, the year head for middle primary level at Huamin Primary.
“If parents forget or if they don’t give consent via the app, there will be another notification three days before the expiry. So at least this way, parents are immediately giving us their response," she explained.
Parents Channel NewsAsia spoke with were largely positive about the new mobile app.
Mdm Alissyazana said one useful feature allows her to save important dates into her phone’s calendar.
“It helps to remind me of excursion dates, like when their learning adventure is. This way I won’t miss the dates, especially since activities like excursions usually require some preparation beforehand. So this is very helpful for us,” said the mother of two school-going children.
She added that she hopes to see instant messaging added to the app to allow easy communication with teachers.
Mr Ong said there is a lot more potential to the app and hopes to incorporate as many functions as possible.
“They can use it for example, to check their Edusave balance and once that is done, we can include payment function. Then they can start to pay for school excursions for example," said the minister.
According to MOE, additional services such as completing travel declarations and updating contact details will be added to the portal by the end of 2019.
The initiative was first piloted in 10 schools in 2017, with 56 more schools joining the Early Adopters programme last year.
These schools aim to roll out Parents Gateway to all parents by the first quarter of this year.
For parents who may not own a smartphone or have Internet access in their homes, Mr Ong said MOE will retain a parallel system where paper forms are still accepted.