By Rogers Mukalele / Jun, 23
2 decades ago, owning a school website appeared to be a luxury. In fact it was thought to be merely a venture of prestige that is why only schools like King’s College Budo and Gayaza High School had websites. The cost of building a website then was even high and that is why schools administrators were reluctant to venture into an expensive project with no visible returns. However, this slowly kept changing in the last decade. With more people venturing into web design as a business and the reduction in building and maintenance costs, almost any average school in Uganda can afford a website. Also, the need for a school website is now even more and more evident than before. Here are a few reasons why a school needs a website.
First, a website helps a school showcase itself. In otherwords, it is a brochure than can be refered to anytime, anywhere. Unlike brochures which
are discarded or lost after the first read, a website can be refered to at anytime and anywhere as long as you have an internet connection. According
to UCC statistics, over __ Ugandans have access to internet, giving your school access to a wider market. It should be remembered that a website can
be updated at anytime giving visitors uptodate information about your school.
Through a website, a school will update visitors about the activities happening at the school. A school sports day, music gala, confirmation, visitation day or speech day are just some of the activities parents would be interested in. These activities are too many to fit on a brochure or magazine. Also, a brochure will not have videos of these activities yet they can be easily shared on a website which can also automatically be connected to the school’s social media pages.
A school website gives administrators a perfect way to get feedback from visitors. With the several tools available that enable instant communication with visitors on a website, the school benefits by getting genuine or even anonymous feedback, something every serious institution needs in its efforts to serve their clientele better.
With plugins like tawk.to and click to chat, instant communication between parents and administration are easily enabled. tawk.to gives a school the ability to chat with each other just like one would with the customer care department of a telecom company. On the side of social media, Click to Chat enables parents to use their whatsapp accounts to instantly chat with school authorities.
Through these tools, constant and instant communication between the school and other stakeholders helps build a strong relationship, helping the school better understand it’s clients. Parents also are more comfortable with an institution that listens to them through all available means. This helps the school because parents trust the school.
It is now more evident that learning doesn’t only have to go on between the 4 walls of the classroom. That’s where e-learning comes in. A school can create an e-learning experience through its website. E-learning helps students get reliable learning material from their teachers saving them the burden of scouring the internet for resources, many of which end up being irrelevant.
Schools like Gayza High School and King’s College Budo are pioneers in this but have been joined by others like Midland High School and St. Aloysius SSS Nabbingo. Building a school e-learning platform help occupy students during holidays, increase the number of learning activities for them and also give teachers more time to concentrate on classwork during the school term.
WordPress, the worlds most popular Content Management System has easy to use tools like Learn Press and Learn Dash which make building learning environments very easy. A school however can opt to simply post notes, tests and related resources in an easy to use blog style where students can download according to subject or class.
Online payments are slowly being adopted in Uganda. A school website gives the school an opportunity to accept payments without the need for parents to travel to banks. The school bursar on his side needs not to travel with huge amounts of money thereby reducing the risk of losing it. Smaller projects like school trips, class work books and social contributions can be catered for through an online payment platform like woocommerce. Just like woocomerce
there are plenty of platforms available for WordPress to do the work.
A school website helps administrators get a picture of the clients they attract and therefore where to focus during the client search process. With tools available, one can know which region most website visitors come from. This helps in marketing strategies and so reducing the risk of spending in areas with little or no returns.
In relation to comments received through the various platforms on the school website, a critical analysis helps you understand where you score high and where a school needs improvement. Comments help give a picture of parents and students’ interests which can be responded to in a beneficial way.
Building a website is no longer as hard as it used to be a decade ago – thanks to Content Management Systems like WordPress. Any member of staff of a school with basic computer literacy can come up with a website. Secondary schools however are privileged to have teachers of ICT and Computer Studies of which Web Design
is a topic. This means that a school has no reason not to have a website.
At E-zone Web Services, we help schools build their websites with school needs in consideration. You can take a look at our hosting plans and domain prices here or talk to us using 0772 111 223 or 0752 111 223.
In the next article, we shall be sharing what what it takes to have a website.