South African educators are fighting back at increased violence, truancy and lack of discipline at schools in the form of cellphone technology with remarkable results.
Headlines relating to increased violence at schools have become commonplace throughout South Africa, motivating an innovative company, www.smsweb.co.za, into designing a cellphone package that could help parents to be far more aware of their children's activities and movements.
Identifying the lack of communication between parents and educators as one of the main reasons why children manage to skip school and subsequently drift off into delinquent activities, an increasing number of schools are using the new cellphone technology provided by smsweb, to communicate closely with parents, making them aware of their children's behaviour and whereabouts.
The ingenious service offered by smsweb enables schools to send an unlimited number of sms's to parents regularly informing them about the school's programmes and enabling increased parental involvement in their children's school lives.
"We have found that pupils who are defying school rules, are also the ones who don't bring their parents notes from school, making many parents oblivious to important information pertinent to their children's welfare at school." says Salah Elbaba, MD of smsweb, which created the concept about four years ago.
"With the sms service, schools can inform parents instantaneously of school activities, changes in programmes and most importantly students who fail to arrive. By identifying and acting on truancy immediately, teachers are able to nip in the bud, the next step to criminal behaviour, by working together with parents timeously, often tracing truant pupils within hours of them skipping school," adds Elbaba.
Truancy has been identified as the most common entry point for criminal behaviour amongst teenagers and it has become increasingly difficult for school staff to deal with this issue alone. By actively involving the parents as soon as students don't arrive at school, the smsweb system is utilising resources, up until now not available to schools, enabling them to prevent students from engaging in these delinquent activities.