Five things busy parents should know about the Parents Gateway app
TL:DR: Schools are dynamic places for learning and parents are important stakeholders in their children’s education. MOE and GovTech have thus launched the Parents Gateway mobile app as a one-stop platform for schools and parents to communicate more conveniently. Here are five ways the app can benefit busy parents.
For busy parents, keeping up with their children’s schedules in school can be quite challenging. School children sometimes misplace consent forms or forget to get their parents to sign them, or parents may miss important announcements made by teachers.
Such problems could become a thing of the past with a new mobile app —Parents Gateway—co-developed by the Ministry of Education (MOE) and the Government Technology Agency of Singapore (GovTech).
Launched just in time for the start of a new school term in January 2019, the Parents Gateway mobile app can be downloaded from the Google Play Store and the AppStore, and serves as a ‘special assistant’ to parents, helping them streamline their interactions with schools.
The one-stop portal also helps reduce the administrative workload of teachers, freeing up their time so they can focus more on lesson preparation and student engagement.
Read on to find out more about the key functions and benefits of using the Parents Gateway mobile app.
1. One app to rule them all
Currently, parents with children attending different schools will need to download separate apps for each child and may have to switch platforms or accounts as their kid progresses through the education system.
Parents Gateway, on the other hand, centralises the information so that parents can access information on all their children in one place regardless which school they are from. When a student moves from one level to another or from one school to another, his or her particulars will be updated automatically on the app, reducing hassle on the part of parents.
2. Always be in the know
Given the flurry of activities planned for students during every school term, parents can easily get overwhelmed by information about school events.
With Parents Gateway, schools make use of push notifications to keep parents in the loop about programmes taking place within and beyond the classrooms. Simply by tapping on a link on the notification page of the app, parents can add the date, time and venue details of an activity to their phone calendars. The app also allows rapid dissemination of information to parents in the event of early dismissals or emergencies such as school closures.
3. Watch them learn
Being a digital platform, Parents Gateway allows communication between schools and parents to go beyond text-based exchanges. In addition to short messages, teachers can attach videos and photos of students carrying out learning activities, thereby giving parents a more visual account of their children’s experiences at school via the app. This feature will be progressively improved.
4. No more paper cuts
During the pilot trial of Parents Gateway at ten MOE schools, some schools were able to eliminate hardcopy forms and letters from their administrative processes successfully. Besides cutting down the hassle of printing and distributing forms, the app also results in cost savings for schools.
Furthermore, with just the click of a button, parents can consent to send their children on camping trips and excursions. A travel declaration function is also expected to be rolled out on Parents Gateway this year.
5. More functions on the horizon
Sometimes, school activities may require payment through a child’s Edusave account. Therefore, MOE and GovTech are currently working on a feature to allow parents to check the balance of their child’s Edusave account before granting access for the activities.
Another critical touchpoint between parents and schools is the parent-teacher conference. Instead of having to schedule meetings over phone calls or paper-based forms, the aim is to have an online reservation system for more convenient allocation of meeting slots.
These functions and more will be added gradually to Parents Gateway to serve the needs of teachers, parents and children better, so stay tuned!