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Parents, take heart, tech is here to take care

On Tuesday, social media was abuzz with messages flying across of an attempted kidnap of a school student in KK Nagar. Earlier in February, two students went missing after school hours in the city. Such incidents are becoming more common.
Schools in the city are working towards the safety of students within the school and while in transit. Tying up with tech startups, some schools have an RFID-based tracking mechanism in place that keeps parents and school authorities informed of their children’s whereabouts.
In order to address the needs for school transport safety, Northstar, a cloud based platform, a product of Magnasoft Technologies , provides real-time tracking of school buses.
School administrators transport providers have access to a dashboard to track the buses, monitor speed, receive caution alerts, view driver safety ratings and arranging for alternate transport in case of a breakdown. Live feed within the bus is saved on the cloud which can be retrieved instantly on request.
“Recently, a girl went missing after school leading to panic among parents and teachers. On pulling out the live feed, it was discovered that the child had alighted the bus a stop in advance to visit an aunt. All this was resolved in a matter of minutes,” said Shyam Ramamurthy, CTO, Magnasoft.
In addition, a dedicated command centre is manned by Magnasoft for quick action. Northstar is used by over 500 schools including American International School, Maharishi Vidya Mandir, Chennai Public School etc,.
“Northstar has helped us build a stronger rapport with our stakeholders – parents and students.There is complete information from the time the child boards the bus till heshe reaches school. Over 92% of our parents use the platform,” said C Hemalatha, principal, Ravindra Bharathi, Keelkattalai.
Schools are also installing biometric machines to record the attendance of the students to keep track of whether the children have entered the school, once they leave their homes.
Immediate updates are sent to the parents. Parentsalarm, which serves as school’s channel for communication to parents with updates on attendance and performance has stationed GPS machines in the school buses that is linked to the parents’ mobiles.
“For those with the app, live tracking of the bus journey is made available. In case of deviations in routes, parents will be informed of delay ,” said Kanhaiya Kumar, founder of this firm. Parents receive regular updates on attendance through SMS and missed call notification.
This has reduced the instances of absenteeism too, schools add. “Right after the children board the bus or get off the school transport, a message reaches the parent saying heshe is safe.
We are also working to install biometric ma chines in schools to record the children’s attendance to take care of their safety within the school,” said T Rajendran, principal, Shraddha, children academy, Kottivakkam, which has tied up with Parent salarm. The company works with more than 100 schools in the city and has tied up with schools in Bihar as well.
While Parent salarm charges ‘249 for each student per year for its services, North star is available at ’70 to ‘150 per month, depending on the services offered.