SchoolSMS is a system that enables schools to send bulk text messages to parents, teachers and other stakeholders cheaply and easily.
Sending regular communications to parents and teachers can be a tricky and costly business, even more so in developing countries where email access may be limited. In Kenya, however, a software development start up Tusqee offer a simple solution with SchoolSMS, a system that enables schools to send bulk messages via text. The SchoolSMS software is free to download and install. After installing and registering the software, schools are assigned five free SMS credits in order to test the software, and can buy credits in bulk afterwards. Groups of contacts can be created by manually entering names and phone numbers, or by importing lists from MS Outlook and Excel, and schools are free to create as many groups as they wish. The software allows for customization — for example, schools can populate the “from” field with their name — and once set up, schools can keep parents informed of the latest school news and invite them to meetings via text. A similar product from Tusqee, SchoolSMS Premium, is aimed at parents and enables them to receive exam results for their children, view fee statements from the school and subscribe to the school’s newsletter. The software supports both Swahili and English. Text messaging remains a cheap, simple and reliable communication channel. Inspiration here for other organizations that need to connect with a mass audience without access to the internet? Spotted by: Katharina Kieck