Aimsis aims to push digitalisation in schools
By Masyitha Baziad September 5, 2016
- Customisable online school system eliminates paperwork
- Teachers, parents, students connect through a cloud platform
WHILE Indonesia is moving towards exploiting its full potential as Asia’s next digital economic powerhouse in sectors including e-commerce, travel, public transport and financial technology (fintech), the country also needs to focus on digitalising its education sector, says Aimsis chief executive officer Christophorus Bema Indrajid (pic above).
“There is always a market for an entrepreneur, and for me, I want to help teachers, parents, pupils, and schools to be connected on a real-time basis with an online school system that is reliable,” he told Digital News Asia recently in Jakarta.
Aimsis is an integrated online system for schools, where teachers can put up announcements, check real-time attendance, upload online teaching material and report grades.
Christophorus wants to eliminate the need for emails, flash drives and even hardcopy assignments for students across the country.
Parents and students can find everything they need for school centralised in one cloud-based interface. Parents can stay updated on their child’s attendance and teachers can generate report cards with one click of a mouse.
“Take grading for example, where the manual process can take an average of three days for teachers to complete; the system it will only take minutes, half an hour tops.
“Teachers should not spend their time on paperwork. It's tiresome. What we want to do is shorten the process and ensure teachers’ productivity in the classroom. We hope to play a part in increasing the quality of education,” he explained.
For now, Aimsis is targeting to deploy its technology in private schools, starting with the West Jakarta area. Eventually it wants to serve every public and private school in Indonesia.
Global consulting firm McKinsey and Company forecast that the market value of private schools in Indonesia will reach US$40 billion in 2030, as more people enter the middle income group.
With all this potential, Indonesia’s rank in the World Economic Forum’s Human Capital Index is still lower than its counterparts in the region.
Indonesia sits at number 69 out of 124 countries in the list, lagging behind Singapore (24), the Philippines (46), and Malaysia (52).
According to Christophorus the problem is that students are not getting maximum value from the school system, as old administrative methods are hindering the sector from keeping up with the pace of technology.
“Education technology is not a booming sector. It has never been. However, there is an urgent need to digitalise and trust me, education is a very demanding sector,” he emphasised.
Christophorus said that the feedback from parents and teachers is always in the form of more requests, asking Aimsis to add features such as, a teacher-parent chat group.
“More requests means the potential and interest is high. It shows that teachers and parents already have expectations of this technology that can help the school do better, and pupils to study better,” he added.
Aimsis was stablished at the end of 2013. Christophorus and Aimsis co-founder Vincent Setiawan spent two years building the product. It was launched in 2015.
Aimsis has had two series of small funding since its inception, both from undisclosed angel investors for undisclosed amounts.
Christophorus also declined to disclose how many schools are using the Aimsis solution now.
The startup is targeting to deploy its technology in major schools in Indonesia’s largest cities by end 2018 or early 2019.
Solving the basic problem
It was his mother, a schoolteacher who inspired Christophorus to look for a solution.
“At the end of every school year or term, my mother would bring back piles of exam papers and ask for my help in sorting everything out. There was not enough space at school and not enough time to read, assess, score, and sort everything manually.
“She was always overwhelmed by text messages or calls from parents asking the same questions over and over again,” he explained.
While other online system providers have been in the market for years, the fact remains that many schools still utilise a manual process.
What is lacking, according to Christophorus, is the ability of the products to be customised for each school as they all have different requirements.
“The online school system is actually a very simple solution, but when we go to schools, the reality is quite complex. Schools do not want to use the simple solution. They want customisation. They want to add more features to suit their unique needs.
“On top of that, the Indonesian education system and the school curricula change every time there is a new education minister. A good online school system has to therefore, be customisable when needed and highly scalable,” he explained.
An online system to efficiently connect teachers, students, and parents must also offer a simple yet sophisticated user experience, taking into account the diverse age groups and education levels of its users.
Christophorus has set a high benchmark for himself and Aimsis. He has already come a long way from helping his mother manually sort test papers to helping teachers, parents and students connect in a paperless cloud environment. He still has a long road ahead to aid in moving Indonesia up in the World Economic Forum’s Human Capital Index but he certainly looks as if he has the grit and endurance for the journey.
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