City schools take SMS route to student safety

Parents get updates about movement of vehicles ferrying children

City schools take SMS route to student safety

Several schools have signed up for services from companies which offer information to the parents like the expected time of arrival, emergency alerts and online tracking of vehicles.

The safety measures have assumed significance in the backdrop of the death of a student in an accident involving his school van in the city on December 15. Schools like Deens Academy, Presidency School, BGS International School and Little Flower Public School are already offering SMS alerts to the parents.

The move is aimed at allaying the fears of parents, who are worried about rash driving of school vans and accidents on city roads. 

Road accidents

The possibility of road accidents is one of the major concerns for several parents says Jayanta Roy, the father of a third standard student at Deens Academy.  "My child studies at a school which is 16 kilometres away from my apartment. A confirmation SMS that he has reached the school or has boarded the bus safely is a huge relief for me," says Roy.

He also insists that the emergency alert system offered by his son's school, which sends a message to the nearby emergency services, also adds to this sense of security.

For this secure feeling, several parents like Usha Agarwal do not mind spending a nominal amount periodically.

"An SMS alert when the school bus is in the vicinity of my apartment is extremely useful.
The fact that somebody is monitoring my child's bus is definitely worth the money I am spending," says the mother of the class V student of Little Flower Public School. 

Many service providers use GPS, GSM/GPRS technologies to ensure the safety and security of the children aboard the school buses.

Buses of subscribers are equipped with GPS devices that continuously send monitoring and tracking signals to the integrated central server.

The movement data of school buses is generated is converted into SMS alerts to be sent to parents and school authorities.  According to Bobbie H Kalra, CEO of Magnasoft, a company which offers vehicle tracking and monitoring services for schools, these services can also generate detailed activity reports on routes with details of mileage, duration and stop timings.

These details could be used to work out solutions, he said. "The system allows schools to track their vehicles as well as the drivers. Our service, North Star, enables parents and schools to keep track of the school buses online. It also sends alerts for over-speeding and route violation to school authorities," Bobbie said.

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