Official launch in Swaziland of ADEA mobile application for capturing teacher and learner attendance
Through its Working Group on Education Management and Policy Support (ADEA-WGEMPS) and in partnership with the Ministry of Education and Training in Swaziland, the Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA) launched the Smart School System (3S), a mobile application for capturing teacher and learner attendance, financed by the Government of the Kingdom of Swaziland and ADEA.
The official launch took place on April 11, 2017 in Mbabane, attracting 60 participants, among them the Principal Secretary of the Ministry of Education and Training, Patrick Muir; the Chairperson of the Teachers Service Commission, Simanga Mamba; the Chief Executive Officer of MTN, Ambrose Dlamini; several high level officials from the Government of Swaziland; a delegation from the Ministry of Education of Namibia; local education groups; staff of the Ministry of Education and Training of Swaziland, MTN and ADEA-WGEMPS; teachers and school children, as well as different media.
The Smart School System (3S) is an education management tool that has the potential to improve the management and reporting of daily teacher and learner attendance and contribute to the improvement of Swaziland’s education quality in terms of learning outcomes. The system currently captures teacher attendance data in real time, together with aggregated attendances for students based on gender, grade and with a special category for orphans and vulnerable children. The application is built upon open-source software, easily customizable, fraud-proof and user-friendly. It has the ability to work offline and online, allowing it to reach remote schools and has relatively low implementation and usage costs.
The 3S application will be piloted in 55 schools across Swaziland starting May 16, 2017. It is anticipated that the pilot will pave the way for further improvements in view of the anticipated progressive scaling up in Swaziland and through a replication of the lessons learned in other African countries.
Simbarashe Dzinoreva of ADEA-WGEMPS, who presented a detailed outline of the concept and architecture of the application, underlined the tool’s ability to enhance the capacity for data collection, management, analysis and communication, in addition to supporting concerted planning at national, regional and school levels.
A representative of the ADEA-commissioned consultancy group Saltracker demonstrated the use of the application, which could provide a conduit for the Ministry of Education to communicate with schools on a variety of issues, and may serve as a foundational framework upon which more innovation and technology could be built.
Findings from this initiative could be used by the Ministry to inform policy decisions and implementation orientation in view of improving the efficiency of the education sector. To this end, ADEA continues to support the 54 African member countries to explore cost-effective mobile technologies and other management tools.
Delivering a speech on behalf of ADEA Executive Secretary Oley Dibba-Wadda, , Makha Ndao, the Coordinator of ADEA-WGEMPS, congratulated the Government of Swaziland and the Ministry of Education in particular for adopting this initiative. He highlighted the importance of putting a focus on the data collection system and analysis to ensure Swaziland has in place a lasting, cost-effective and sustainable solution on teacher and learner attendance. Ndao concluded by reiterating that teachers are the driving force for better quality of education at all levels, a fact reinforced during the ADEA 2017 Triennale held in Senegal in March 2017.