SMS keeps school waggers at bay

Schools across Australia are turning to IT solutions in order to help reduce student truancy.

Australian wireless company MGM has designed a patented solution which enables schools to send automated SMS messages to parents’ mobile phones if their children do not turn up to class.

The solution is based on MGM’s already existing MSGU system initially designed as a client-server application for businesses, which links existing software systems to mobile phones.

Attendance data is entered into the schools databases, and any unexplained absences generate a text message asking parents to contact the school, which they can either do by SMS or other means. The system also allows for parents to send absentee notes to the school via SMS.

CEO Mark Fortunatow said tailoring the MSGU system to meet the needs of the education system has been an involved and complex process.

“It has taken 18 months of research, consulting, developing and testing to come up with our finished solution which was launched in South Australia last October,” Fortunatow said.

Ike Ellis, the drector of the safety & security directorate at the NSW Department of Education said at the moment it would be up to individual schools whether they take the solution up or not.

“We are waiting on a study of how successful this solution is in South Australia before we endorse or develop it in NSW at a departmental level,” Ellis said.

Schools in every state throughout Australia, including over 30 schools in South Australia are either trialing or implementing the technology today.

Some of the schools using MGM wireless include Keyneton Secondary College in Victoria, Harvey Senior High School in Western Australia, Mitchelton State High School in Queensland and Ginninderra District High School in the ACT. Lake Macquarie High School was the first school in NSW to implement MGM’s technology.

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