Online system helps parents track kids

TARANNUM SHAIKH
Last updated 05:00 10/05/2013

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Some Auckland parents concerned about truancy can now check their children's attendance online.

KAMAR was set up in 1999 as a school administration system that allows staff to access the records of a student to monitor attendance, reports and more.

In the past six months many high schools with KAMAR - School Administration, Markbook and Reports - have set up a portal system to help parents keep track of their children.

Mt Albert Grammar School deputy principal Mark Rivalland says the portal is an important addition to the system.

"There's been a huge move over the last few years to involve parents more. This was just the next step. It's available to everyone, just to make everybody more aware."

Mr Rivalland believes that as a result, parent-teacher interviews are more effective and don't involve surprises.

"Feedback has been very positive. Mostly it's things like parents are suspicious of their kids' attendance at school so they check the portal," Mr Rivalland says.

But with counselling and nursing services readily available, students are concerned about their privacy and just how much the parents will know of their school life.

"It's good that parents can check [attendance] but I think it's kind of unfair," Mt Roskill Grammar School student Pranika Singh, 15, says.

"You feel like your parents already control everything, plus you're in school and they're going to see that too. I feel like it's too much into privacy."

Fellow student Tapaita Malu, 16, agrees.

"It sort of makes me feel uncomfortable, knowing that your parents are keeping an eye on you."

Mt Roskill Grammar School deputy principal Jenny Barker says parents are only able to see whether their child is in school, absent or at a school event.

"Parents don't see that they're out of class. It protects the child's privacy. That's perhaps something the kids don't know yet - we're protecting them.

"Students have a right to a lot of things. Students have a right to a counsellor, students have a right to a nurse without anyone asking any questions."

Mt Roskill Grammar and Mt Albert Grammar are just two of the high schools that have opted for the portal.

KAMAR was founded in 1999 by IT teacher Kent Lendrum for Mt Maunganui School.

It started as a reporting system for his school and spread by word of mouth till now, 14 years later, almost every school has adopted the system.

It was also named Business Driver of the Year by Apple subsidiary Filemaker in 2007.

Tarannum Shaikh is an AUT journalism student

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