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Interactive school sites keep parents clued in on wards

Sep 2013 Source: Times of India

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Working parents now don't have to take time out to meet principals or teachers at their children's schools to receive updates on how their wards are performing. All they have to do is log on to the schools' websites.

Few schools are yet to update details on their websites after the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) made it a mandatory procedure. Most already comply with the requirement and some have stolen a march on others by launching interactive websites to keep tech-savvy parents in the loop on how their children are faring.

Bhavan's Rajaji Vidyashram in Kilpauk, which launched a new website last week, has included a forum for discussion with parents to inform them about classes and homework.

"The school has given tablets to all teachers so parents and students can interact with them," said senior principal J Ajeeth Prasath Jain. "Parents can also subscribe to the discussion forum to get updates be email."

The website is meant to bridge the gap between parents and teachers, said Jagdish Devarajan, the site designer and parent of a student at Bhavan's. "It will allow for one-on-one communication between teachers and parents," he said. "A parent who wants to discuss his child's health, for example, can do so in private with the teacher."

"Some schools are reluctant to allow online interaction between parents and teachers because they think it will increase the burden on them," senior principal Jain said. "But it actually makes things easier for parents and teachers." The principal will be able to monitor all activities on the website to ensure conversations are not offensive.

CBSE regional director (Chennai) D T S Rao says some schools have taken the initiative to develop innovative websites because they understand that technology can benefit not just parents and teachers but students too. "We only inform schools what is compulsory to post on their websites, but some institutions go the extra mile and that is the sign of a good school."

The board had set a deadline of September 15 for schools to upload details such as information about staff and fees and the books in their libraries. As schools are in the process of registering their Class 9 and Class 11 students for the board examinations, CBSE asked all schools to mention website details on application forms. "This will help us check and identify the schools that are not following the rules," Rao said.

Schools like Chettinad Vidyashram have not only allotted space on their websites for the information stipulated by CBSE, but also update them on a regular basis.

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