The impact of the ongoing pandemic, although felt on all industries and businesses, has been much more destructive on the education sector. As schools, colleges and universities across the world shut down to limit the spread of the virus, educationists and the administration heads found themselves facing a situation they had neither faced nor prepared for.
According to UNESCO, “One year into the COVID-19 pandemic, close to half the world’s students are still affected by partial or full school closures, and over 100 million additional children will fall below the minimum proficiency level in reading as a result of the health crisis.”
As the virus continued to ravage the world, it became clear that a return to normalcy had become nothing but a dream and living with the virus was now an accepted reality. This is when educational establishments realized that the show must go on, but without physical classrooms.
Staying Afloat Amidst a Storm
Physical classrooms, playgrounds, libraries and being a part of a larger group of students is what defines school life. The greatest attraction that pulls students towards colleges and universities is the whole experience they get to live, not just the lectures. Therefore, when the pandemic resulted in lockdowns, restrictions and limited mobility, the very concept of learning in these educational establishments came under fire. It was a storm and there was no choice but to face it and stay afloat, waiting for the worst to pass.
The Solution was Always there, but Never Optimally Utilized
Online classrooms and e-learning has been prevalent in the education realm since many years. However, its potential was neither fully realized nor was it seriously explored by a majority of educational establishments till now. When the pandemic struck, the establishments that were equipped with an ERP software for educational institutes were relatively prepared to face the new reality. Although many had to re-adjust their processes, the existence of an ERP software saved the day for them.
Institutions that had been depending on manual, non-digital processes were caught unawares. They were forced to build digital processes and deploy them on a war-footing. Lack of training among the staff resulted in non-usage or under-utilization of digital systems.
With the second wave of COVID 19 and the looming threat of a third wave, educationists have agreed that establishing robust digital processes for schools, colleges and universities is inevitable. This is where ERP for schools and colleges come into picture as they form the backbone of digital processes.
Choosing the Best School ERP System in the Middle East
When we ask ourselves, how to choose the best educational ERP software in Middle East, we should first understand and accept the following new realities of the post-COVID world. Understanding them in the context of digital processes would help you zero-in on the major factors that would influence your choice of ERP software.
Online Classes are here to Stay!
Schools need to equip themselves with the proper digital infrastructure to make online classes a norm. It would require them to train their staff, enable monitoring processes, ensure attendance and so on. The sooner this reality is accepted, the faster your school could bounce back to efficiency. Medical experts and scientists have warned that even with vaccination, social distancing could not be completely done away with. As school students are more vulnerable to the virus, it is unlikely that physical classrooms would be resumed. Even if they do resume, it would be with limited capacity. The conclusion: online classes are here to stay!
Collaboration is the Key!
All the staff meetings, formal or informal, are now moved to chat groups, phone calls and video calls. For the staff, working from home brings its own challenges. The lack of physical interaction is resulting in increased work stress among employees across the world. Teachers and professors are not immune to it. Therefore, strong mechanisms have to be built to ensure there is smooth communication between the staff so that work collaboration does not suffer.
Digital Resources for Teaching and Learning
Are you providing your staff with the digital resources they need to fulfil their duties? Do they have access to e-libraries, presentation tools, cloud storage etc.? Is there a process in place to centrally store all data so that important files could be easily accessed? These are some of the pressing questions you should ask yourself as an owner or administrator of an educational establishment.
Students also require access to these digital resources so that they are not disenchanted due to lack of support from their school or college.
What should you Look for in an Educational ERP Software in the Middle East?
In the following, we discuss the main factors to look for when choosing an ERP for schools, colleges and universities in the Middle East. Combined together, these factors would help you get the most out of the ERP application.
Applicant Management and Online Fee Processing
Enable students to apply for courses at your school or college online. Integrate your website with a secure database where all information could be stored and access with ease. The finance management module of a tailored ERP for schools would allow you to integrate a payment gateway with your web portal for quick and seamless fee payments.
A next-gen ERP for schools and colleges would ease all your worries related to data management. It would manage the data efficiently despite its high volume, secure it against potential leaks and provide you with easy access without compromising on security. You could define various levels of data access so that specific members of your administration and staff could access the data they need for their respective responsibilities.
Securing student data on a single database would also help the management in taking important decisions as they would have a bird’s eye view of what is happening at the school or college, its current financial status and operations.
Course Scheduling and Timetables
With a customized educational ERP, you would no longer have to worry about the complex task of course scheduling and timetables. The ERP software would help you prepare class-specific, teacher-specific and subject-specific timetables while ensuring there are no scheduling conflicts.
Apart from scheduling, it would also automate attendance. Your staff would not have to sift through spreadsheets to find the attendance of a particular student, for a particular month or subject. All data would be available on the click of a button, in the form of easily readable reports.
Inbuilt CRM for Communication and EdTech Integration
Modern ERP systems are equipped with inbuilt CRM applications to help you disseminate information to students, parents and staff. You could send mass SMS and emails regarding important information such as examination dates, class rescheduling, fee alerts and more. The CRM would also allow you to integrate with EdTech systems and third-party applications for optimum usage.
Fixed Assets Management
Pandemic or no pandemic, your institution would always require a system to efficiently manage its fixed assets. With an ERP software’s fixed asset management module, you could track and manage all your school buildings along with other assets. You could also schedule maintenance operations to prolong the asset life. The module would also calculate deprecation automatically, based on the type and terms of deprecation you define.
Expert Advice is just a Click Away!
Focus Softnet is one of the most trusted providers of the best educational ERP software in the Middle East. We have enabled many educational establishments with advanced digital solutions. Our ERP solutions have won various awards throughout the years and are used by over a million users worldwide.
If you need expert advice regarding which ERP system to choose and what modules to select to administer your school or college, just fill the form and we would get in touch.