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Text messaging increases parent, student engagement at schools in Uganda

Students check their phone for SMS text messages in Uganda.

June 2012: Plan Uganda and global telecoms company Nokia have teamed up to develop a simple SMS text messaging system that gives parents short, regular updates about their children’s education, teachers’ attendance records and pupil performance.

The project uses a central server that receives and sends messages with the short code 72000 on major local networks Airtel, Warid and Uganda Telecom. The organisers hope that by taking a more inclusive attitude to parents, they can further engage students, parents and communities in education and increase their participation in school governance.

The project also allows children to discuss issues affecting their learning while appealing to their avid interest in modern technology as well as encouraging parent to take a more active part in their children’s school lives.

Promoting active participation

Improving school governance with active participation of children and parents is a key challenge, with the success in increasing access to education with Universal Primary Education. The partnership between Plan Uganda, Nokia, local communities and government will find innovative solutions to realise the right to quality education for all children in Uganda.

The project advocates for the fundamental right of every individual to have access to quality and affordable education, regardless of age, gender, race or geography.

In Uganda, men especially are not vigilant when it comes to attending meetings at school, or following what their children are doing but through this platform of using mobile phones, they now can participate in these activities and make their contributions in meetings.

Improved results

The project has been piloted in Uganda’s Luweero district, 60 Kilometres from Kampala. So far it has resulted in improved learner's councils in primary schools, which deal with disciplinary and school-related issues.

Nokia is developing mobile solutions that make a positive impact in areas like education, through collaborating with different agencies that assist with research and software development. This development is complementing existing efforts that were previously difficult to track, harnessing the use of existing mobile telephone infrastructure; it’s affordable and user-friendly to communicators.

Read more about the pilot project

Read more on Plan’s partnership with Nokia

Learn about Plan’s work in Uganda