SHAH ALAM: A safe and secure school environment is a major consideration for parents in choosing an institution for their children.
But what many people might not know is that Intelligent Technology (IT) can be a conduit to provide safety and security in schools.
“GPS tracking and smart closed-circuit televisions (CCTVs) are available and with incentives from the government, the private sector can assist in equipping schools with such capabilities and pair them with applications for parents to worry less about leaving their children in school,” said Emerging Enterprise Sdn Bhd managing director Datuk Nazmi Talib.
Nazmi founded the Intelligent School Support Systems (i-3s) www.i-3s.com.my student management system for public and private schools.
I-3s is a cashless student management system aimed at digitalising attendance and payments in schools and the management of student activities, by providing a standardised school communication platform. It is operating in selected pilot schools.
I-3s manages the expenditure of students using an online prepaid card and has automated attendance monitoring. It connects parents with schools and teachers through web and mobile applications.
“It all started with a proposal to the Education Ministry in 2012. After a pilot project was concluded in 2014, Emerging Enterprise received approval from the ministry in 2015.
“It conducted a study to finalise the system functions and tested it in 2017.
“Within that time, Emerging Enterprise met hundreds of primary and secondary schools before installing the system in eight schools in Petaling Jaya and Kuala Lumpur and in one Maktab Rendah Sains Mara.”
The schools started using the system this year with a focus on student management systems which connected to a licensed e-wallet with benefits for students, teachers and parents.
This programme will be offered for free to schools until 2021.
“We started this in January and upgraded the system in May due to changing user behaviour.
“Then we restarted the service in September after fully testing the final version, which is running at SMK Sultan Abdul Samad, SMK Sri Aman and SK Sri Petaling in Petaling Jaya, and SMK Bangsar in Kuala Lumpur. The rest will start operations in January.”
However, implementing the system was not without hiccups. One obstacle was trying to convey the value of the electronic payment to canteen operators, who are mum-and-pop operations.
“Changing their mindset from handling cash to going to the automated teller machine instead was challenging.
“We are in the business of convenience and transparency. With an e-wallet, operators can record and monitor sales using their phones to ensure that full collection is received.
“The other challenge was convincing parents that their children’s data is safely stored.
“Our systems have been audited by Bank Negara and comply with the Personal Data Protection Act.
“Once they understood this, they signed up their children for this programme.”
Next year, Emerging Enterprise plans to launch the system in 100 schools in Kuala Lumpur, Selangor and Johor.
“We will work with our partner to give more value for money to the parents, teachers and students in these schools.
“Also in the plan is an upgrade using facial recognition to record attendance.
“This upgrade will be rolled out next year in one school.”
Nazmi said it had not identified the cost to be charged back to schools after 2021.
“We may extend it further, based on demand. What is certain is if the schools register before 2021 ends, they get this system for free, regardless of when it is installed.
“We are collaborating with the ministry and guided by its education blueprint in getting private institutions and communities to support school operations and teaching.
“We are receiving good feedback from parent-teacher associations, especially when i-3s helps associations in generating funds for school activities.
“The schoolchildren are excited to get a card with their picture on it and use it to pay for food. It’s a new experience for them.”
He said there were plans to roll out the system to rural schools.
“For this, we would be grateful if the Education Ministry could share the cost with us.”
Biometrics technology and Artifical Intelligence (AI) are other innovations that will be changing the school environment and learning in the future, he said.
“Biometrics can be used to help track children in school. AI assists in analysing learning patterns of children and suggests the best method of learning.
“For instance AI could suggest whether the children need visual learning, aural, verbal or physical forms of learning.
“Students can choose the method of learning that suits their character for faster absorption.
“Teachers provided with these tools can monitor the students’ progress and identify their weaknesses and strengths.”