New mobile app to better connect parents, schools

Mobile application Parents Gateway aims to improve communication between parents and schools at the primary, secondary and junior college levels.
Mobile application Parents Gateway aims to improve communication between parents and schools at the primary, secondary and junior college levels.PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM APPLE STORE
Education Minister Ong Ye Kung chatting with Primary 1 pupils on their first day of school at Huamin Primary yesterday. At the school, he launched mobile app Parents Gateway, which aims to improve communication between parents and schools at the prim
Primary 1 pupil Kaelyn Tan, six, with her mother Felicia See, 40, during recess break at Huamin Primary School yesterday.ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN
Education Minister Ong Ye Kung chatting with Primary 1 pupils on their first day of school at Huamin Primary yesterday. At the school, he launched mobile app Parents Gateway, which aims to improve communication between parents and schools at the prim
Pupils queuing to get food during recess on the first day of the new school year.ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

It can be used for administrative purposes and to send updates on students' activities

Parents will no longer have to fill in consent forms by hand when their children take part in field trips or learning journeys.

They will now be able to do so with the click of a button, after Education Minister Ong Ye Kung launched mobile application Parents Gateway yesterday.

It aims to improve communication between parents and schools at the primary, secondary and junior college levels.

About 200 parents of Primary 1 pupils from Huamin Primary were at the school for the app's launch.

Schools will be able to use the app to send parents updates on programmes and activities.

Parents can use it for administrative purposes such as providing consent for their children to participate in school activities.

Mr Ong told reporters: "There is a lot of potential. We can look at other uses for parents, for example, travel declaration and checking of Edusave balance.

MORE CONVENIENT

We used to receive consent forms and letters from the school, but sometimes we misplace them or the kids might throw them away. Now, we can refer to programme details whenever we want or check if the children have home-based learning.

ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT VANITHA VARATHARAJOO, who has a daughter in Primary 5 and a son in Primary 6.

"Once that is done, we can also include a payment function for school excursions, for example.

"So, I think we need not be limited other than by our imagination."

Administrative assistant Vanitha Varatharajoo, 34, who has a daughter in Primary 5 and a son in Primary 6 at Huamin, said: "We used to receive consent forms and letters from the school, but sometimes we misplace them or the kids might throw them away.

"Now, we can refer to programme details whenever we want or check if the children have home-based learning."

Mr Ong said the app would benefit teachers as well.

"I really hope (through) using this gateway, we can cut down on the administrative load on the teachers and this hopefully will, over time, free up more time for them so they can better focus on what they are good at, which is teaching and learning," he said.

 
 
 

Parents can log in using their SingPass accounts, and receive one-time passwords via SMS two-factor authentication or the OneKey token.

The app is available on iOS and Android, and was developed by the Government Technology Agency and the Ministry of Education (MOE).

Currently, there are 66 primary and secondary schools taking part in the initiative. MOE will progressively extend the app to all schools, though no target date has been set.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 03, 2019, with the headline 'New mobile app to better connect parents, schools'. Print Edition | Subscribe