In this hectic pace of life, we are not able to take care of our children every step of the way and often rely on school and daycare centers. Now you can find out all the information from your children’s going to school, to coming home using the mobile application wherever you go. You can even keep in touch with your child’s school, kindergarten, and teachers, and always take care of them. This relationship is facilitated with the help of the “LIBER”, an All-in-One School Management System (SMS), by the “Nomch” IT consulting company.
We interviewed Ms. Undral. B, CEO, and Founder of the Nomch system which acts as the moderator between parents, schools, and teachers. She graduated from the Mongolian-Turkish high school in Darkhan (now Darkhan Empathy School) and from the Computer Science and Management School of the Mongolian University of Science and Technology with a degree in Management of Information systems, and then she founded her company in 2016.
DESPITE WORKING IN THE IT SECTOR, THE LACK OF INFORMATION ABOUT MY CHILD WAS THE MAIN REASON TO BUILD THIS SYSTEM.
- How did you come up with the idea to create the “Nomch” system that coordinates the communication between school (kindergarten), parents, and children?
- I am a mother of four children. In 2016 my daughter started school. Yet as a mother working from morning to evening for more than 8 hours a day, I had very limited options to keep track of my child. My younger sibling took my daughter to school. After work, I helped my child with her homework in the evening. Because I did not know which exercises to do, I had to find out from other parents through social media.
It takes time for elementary school pupils to get used to school, they do not always know or remember what assignments they have been given. Despite working in the IT sector, the lack of information about my child made me vulnerable. At first, I thought it was only I who was facing this problem. In 2016, I did my initial research on the system at a conference called “Family and Child Primary Environment” for social workers. Experts from all walks of life, including police, emergency service, and education voiced in agreement that “Parents don’t pay attention to their children, and as a result, teenagers are becoming more and more vulnerable to alcohol, tobacco, and drug addiction.” From there, I concluded that this is a real problem in our society, and something needs to be done to help the parents. After consulting with professional teachers and psychologists, we began to develop our ALL-IN-ONE School Management System (SMS) with an objective to prevent potential dangers to children.
-What information about our children, can we get instantaneously through your app?
- By logging in to the “LIBER” application, you will receive notifications on your smartphone about your children’s attendance, examination results, participation in extracurricular activities, whether he/she has eaten, and when he/she leaves school. In the past, it was quite common for children to skip classes and after school clubs, but since implementing our system, our customers were happy to see such instances decrease. While you are stuck in the traffic, you will be able to get all the information about your children’s homework.
- On the other hand, parents will be “informed” all the time...
- Nearly yes. After all, some high school students call Nomch as a “gossip” /laughter/. Because we give all the information to their parents about their children’s going to school, boarding the school bus, and returning home. Speaking of Nomch, you may be wondering why you call LIBER application as Nomch. Our application was first introduced and became known as the Nomch application same as our company name.
We are preparing to release an updated version to our customers by the first week of September. LIBER 2.0 ALL-IN-ONE School Management System (SMS) has all the functionalities from first Nomch applications and new functions such as the library system and the uniform order.
- What is the reason for renaming your system?
- We are pleased to announce that we are expanding our operations and introducing our product to foreign markets. As part of the preparation, it was necessary to develop products and services in dual language and to have a name that is understood internationally. “Liber” means book in Latin.
MORE THAN 90 PERCENT OF PARENTS WHO USE OUR SYSTEM AND DAILY USE 30 MINUTES ON AVERAGE. IT IS A VERY POSITIVE PERFORMANCE.
- How much time do parents spend using your system? How do you measure its performance?
- More than 90 percent of parents who use our system and daily use 30 minutes on average. It is a very positive performance. From this result, we can see the degree of how our customer’s needs are met. It is an achievement that parents spend as much time every day for their children’s education. Our study also identified that schools that use LIBER had a 30 percent decrease in paper use, and improved school-parent communication and increased parental support.
- Parents will be even informed of the school bus's exact location, going?
- Definitely. Parents must pick up primary school children from the bus. With 26-30 children on one bus, it is often difficult for families to know when to pick up their children from the bus stop due to traffic congestion. Calling bus drivers frequently by phone can have an adverse effect on road safety and put the children at risk. So, to solve this problem, parents can see the real-time location of the school bus on the application. It is important to understand that these functions protect children from potential risks.
- Can students get information about themselves?
- Yes, they can. We can analyze the students’ grade fluctuations and compare their results within the classes and the entire school. Hence, students can set their goal and they start to make more effort in their studies.
- How many schools have implemented your system so far?
- It is used by 15000 parents and more than 1000 teachers of 12 private schools in Mongolia. It takes a lot of time explaining the system to parents in detail and training teachers at every school. Our system is constantly improving since its launch. The second version, updated this fall, is ready to be released as “LIBER”.
“LIBER” makes the teacher’s job easier.
- What other advantages the customers can benefit from?
- When a parent-teacher meeting is held, the family only used to be informed of what was provided about their child. Now with the help of the application, they can come into the meetings knowing which teachers to meet, and with a plan to cooperate with the teachers to improve their child’s education, and all the while saving their valuable time. Another advantage is the school payment solutions. Before implementing our system, the school administration would send the invoices to the parents and receive the payment through the children’s class teacher. This would put a lot of burden on the teachers. The schools would even send letters and notices to students with late payments through their class teachers. Our system allows parents to pay pending payments directly from their phones. The teachers and financial departments were very grateful for this implementation.
- How did your product facilitate the work of teachers as well as parents?
- As part of this work, I had to research the current situation of the education sector. It is often said that teachers are overworked. This was true. For instance, before implementing our system, teachers used to write the student’s grade four times: in the student’s notebooks, class-book, grade book, and in the parent-teacher meeting presentations. However, since the implementation of our system, once you enter the data into our system, school administrative staff, parents, and students can access it, without the teachers having to type again and again.
Teachers can also use the application to assign homework to students and revise them later. This can save them a lot of time. We are quite positive that our customers appreciate this effective school management system and remote communication solutions we provide between schools, parents, and students, especially during this ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
I was very grateful and encouraged to receive positive reviews and feedback from the parents and our customers.
- The application will be used by everyone involved in school educational activities, right?
- Yes, of course. It serves as the official communication channel between the school principal, administrative staff, librarian, school cafeteria, cooks, accountants, bus drivers, parents, and students, as well as a reliable and direct information source.
LIBER and its centralized data for the institution are accordingly accessed by everyone involved. So, effective and successful use and implementation of this system directly depend on the initiative and organization of the school administration and the attitude of its teachers.
- Can parents contact any teachers through the system?
- Yes. You can chat with them directly.
EDUCATION SECTOR MUST ADVANCE BASED ON DATA AND INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY. BUT WE ARE STILL STUCK WITH PAPERS.
- Therefore, the more the system is used, the more comparative data will be available for schools and teachers.
Before answering this question, I think I should make a little explanation. One of our objectives was to develop an application that provides an easy to use solution for the teachers in communicating the necessary information to the parents and students, and as user-friendly as possible for all the users. Many of the time-consuming tasks that teachers do in Excel have been simplified.
As I am an Information system engineer, I have a firm belief that when records and data are processed correctly, it can increase productivity and save time by producing any reports and analysis. You can track each student’s learning progress within our system. For example, if Undral took 10 exams, did she make progress? You can easily see how it compares to the class average with a click of a button. Besides, the teacher can plan the lesson based on these analyses to determine which topics the children understand better and which topics need to be revised. The teachers like these data analyses a lot. The education sector must advance based on data and information technology. But we are still stuck with papers.
- Do educational institutions in other countries use similar systems?
- There are many school management systems in the world. “Ulaanbaatar Elite International School” started to use our system last year. In the past, they used an American system. But they chose our system as they considered our results analysis, meals, and bus functions more advantageous. It was very encouraging. After they implemented our system, we developed an extra module for calculating student grades in accordance with the Cambridge International curriculum, for them.
- Is there any company in Mongolia that provide the same service?
- Not yet.
- Besides LIBER, what are your future objectives? How is the system being updated?
- We are planning to introduce an automated school entrance registration system in the near future. This is a major concern for schools and parents. Internationally, the school area is considered a special zone. It must be clear who can enter the school. If you look closely, there is a guard post at the entrance of international private school campuses. However, it is not available in public schools, the guards are only on duty inside the school premises. In fact, the school zone is a security zone, so the school must constantly register and monitor whoever enters the school campus. On the other hand, some parents want to get information about their children at school, as well as when they are leaving and entering the school campus during school hours. Thus, the next thing we need to do is have an automatic registration system where students can read their ID card when they leave and enter school. We are planning to conduct our first tests in November. The second planned work is to develop a book registration system. This function will allow parents to find out what books your child reads and studies each week. There are also other software developments planned. New products and services will be announced to the public from time to time.
-Thanks for your time.
-Thank you as well.