Teaching is among the most revered professions, but not many people from non-teaching background actually understand what is required out of a teacher employed at a school. Surprisingly, it is often believed (wrongly) that teaching during lectures and marking the exam papers are the sole activities required from this profession. This naive interpretation can lead to an unfair assessment of the workload that teachers often have to carry due to school administrative activities, which excludes the preparation time spent for lectures.
Over the years, the schools have evolved into institutions with complicated operations involving many stakeholders including teachers. It is true that primary duty of teachers is still educating the students, but like other employees of the organization, they have professional responsibilities that go beyond their primary task. Unfortunately sometimes these operational responsibilities can take a toll on the primary duty of teaching and even leisure time, due to the sheer volume of the work. The intention here is not to deter anyone from taking up this noble profession (with promising career prospects), but to encourage a discussion on how we can reduce the work load pertaining to non-teaching activities. Now that schools are gaining operational complexity of enterprises, why not adopt the technology solution – ‘Enterprise Resource Planning’ (ERP) products, adopted by various industries to achieve exponential gains in operational efficiencies. ERP solutions have not only helped businesses streamline their operations, a separate industry has spawned in ERP products and services space. The wide scale adoption of ERP cemented the need for IT as a competitive advantage and a game-changer in traditional beliefs for business strategies.
Now schools are also adopting ERP systems for better operational efficiency, but how can ERP contribute to the very human aspect of teaching? To start with, ERP systems can reduce/expedite the non-teaching tasks undertaken by the teachers (and even increase the overall quality) by automating them. This will allow the teachers more time to concentrate on class-room teaching, and can also enable efficiencies in executing the teaching responsibilities, especially with curriculum design tasks, and eliminating other paper related manual tasks.
As ERP systems for school have only recently come into picture, their adoption has been facing some initial (expected) hurdles. Cost-related concerns are expected to be mitigated once the relative benefits of ERP systems are made apparent to the decision makers. Additionally with the advent of cloud computing, the associated CAPEX with ERP systems has reduced considerably. Of course institutional support is paramount for this adoption to happen at national scale. But within context of teaching staff, the end-users of this system, there needs to be special focus from ERP designers, so that the overall user experience for the teachers mitigates any resistance to adoption (which is natural if the system is imposed without considering the end-user perspective). Many teaching staff need the requisite support and training to absorb the transformation in teaching process- from traditional ‘chalk and board’ teaching to one leveraging technology.
A teacher is not just an instructor, but an inspiration to the students. This requires them to collaborate with parents and colleagues to map each student’s roadmap for knowledge discovery. And technology solutions, like School Administration ERP, can allow them to spend their valuable time effectively for such purpose.