Many schools have adopted bulk SMS messaging to improve communications with parents of school-goers. The traditional communication channels were all problematic in that notes sent to parents via learners often got lost; calling a number of parents telephonically can be very time consuming and; not all parents have access to e-mail and the internet.
“Most parents have a cellphone and can receive important announcements from the school via SMS. With SMS messaging, schools have a more effective and cost-efficient way of communicating with parents,” said Dr Pieter E. Streicher, managing director of BulkSMS.com, a Cape Town based mobile messaging company.
By using a bulk messaging solution, a school is able to send out one message to all relevant parties instantaneously. According to Dr Streicher, “SMS is a good way to keep parents informed – whether it is a notification that a learner is absent from school or will be returning home with a report card, a reminder about a parent/teacher meeting or a sporting event, an announcement for a forthcoming school social or theatre production, or a phone call to parents requesting outstanding school fees.”
Schools are finding that SMS communications reduces expenses such as phone bills, photocopying, printing and mailing. It also reduces staff workload by freeing up time that would otherwise be spent on preparing communications by school administrators or teachers.
“Not only does using SMS messaging benefit the school; it also allows schools to communicate to the parents in a way that includes them in the day to day school life of their child,” said Dr Streicher.
Due to its immediacy, SMS is particularly effective for communicating last minute changes, such as the cancellation of a sports event.
More and more schools are using the BulkSMS Text Messenger service to send SMS’s to parents. This desktop application is user-friendly, and makes sending an SMS as easy as sending an email. In addition, BulkSMS.com offers schools a part-sponsored tagline discount when they register on the Community.BulkSMS.com website. This has the advantage of offering the schools a reduced cost when sending SMS messages.