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School administration software

I have a feeling that school administration software is an untapped market in South Africa. There are many different systems, each competing, with none being able to inter-operate (I stand under correction on that one.)

For the past 3 and a half years at my job, I’ve used a program called ProED to create school reports, while the admin staff kept student records up to date, detention lists, sports houses and other things a school needs. ProED is extremely powerful, and it’s gone under many changes and improvements over the years. However, it’s greatest weakness is still the fairly user unfriendly interface, and it’s way of working over the school network.

If I could write a package, I would instead create something client/server based, with a good clean logical user interface, that also repsonds fast to user interaction. Many staff members at schools are very techno phobic, so the easier it is for them, the better. This is unfortunately where ProED falls far short, and causes a lot of grief amongst staff. Something that has simple menus would go a long way to help ease the burden.

I have not used competing packages, so I am unable to comment on them. I have heard however that a rival package called EduAdmin appears to have the features I’ve mentioned as ideal. Unfortunately, these packages cost a lot of money, and schools do not like to change unless it’s absolutely needed. The biggest hurdle is the fact that the data that has been inputted into one package cannot be easily extracted and put into another one, unless the one package has such an import facility.

Such a package could be developed the open source route I think, to the betterment of all schools in the country, but to my knowledge, the one open source program that started to do something hasn’t come too far and looks pretty ugly.

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