The School of the Future doesn’t have to wait for tomorrow

Published: Thu 18 Aug 2016 09:26 AM
18 August 2016
The School of the Future doesn’t have to wait for tomorrow
With information technology today an integral part of society, schools across New Zealand are eyeing up the advantages they can gain by deploying it for administration as much as they are considering the benefits of more technology in the classroom.
That’s among the findings of a study conducted by Fuji Xerox New Zealand which polled 100 principals across the country to establish the requirements to deliver the Schools of the Future, today.
Fuji Xerox New Zealand Managing Director Gavin Pollard says modern schools are complex environments where principals are tasked with ensuring great outcomes from students, while also acting as the CEO of managing financial, building, staff, IT and stakeholder issues.
“This means they face two main technology challenges. “The first is developing internal processes that streamline often complex and compliance-driven administrative activities; the second is equipping teachers with tools to inspire and engage students, so they can compete and thrive in a digital world,” he notes.
The first point, says Pollard, is foundational and should precede the second.
The company’s study found that while few schools are today taking advantage of the power of automated processes and integrated document management solutions, most have it on their radar. These processes can greatly accelerate a range of functions including enrolment, records-keeping and management, and compliance with Health & Safety requirements.
While the findings of the Schools of the Future study are extensive, Pollard picks up on some key results which he says demonstrates the range of opportunity for efficiency gains. “The study shows that even though ‘digitisation’ is in its infancy in most secondary schools across the country, personnel are aware of and recognise the potential for improvement,” he says.
“That’s reflected in the overwhelming number of respondents who noted the capabilities and desirability of an online document management system to enable compliance. However, it’s still 1-5 years off for 71 per cent of them, while in a decade, 94 per cent intend to have an online document management system to meet compliance obligations.”
Similarly, says Pollard, respondents indicated their enthusiasm for concepts such as automated online enrolment (74 per cent saying this is important, but 11 per cent have or are moving to such a system), and automated systems for key processes such as Accounts Payable (67 per cent).
“Notably, close to 80 per cent of respondents know that they need to kick their reliance on paper processes. Our schools are, therefore, staffed by people who are increasingly aware of the power of technology to improve the management of their campuses – and that, in turn, means the ability to stretch budgets further, achieve more with less, and allow teachers to focus on what they do best.”

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