Innovative apps to assist schools with finances, offer pupils safe transport

02 March 2020 - 08:08 By Nonkululeko Njilo and NOMAHLUBI JORDAAN
Several schools across the country were hard hit by criminals in the last financial year, with thieves taking off with valuables and money from school premises. But this could be a thing of the past with the development of a school payment app.
Several schools across the country were hard hit by criminals in the last financial year, with thieves taking off with valuables and money from school premises. But this could be a thing of the past with the development of a school payment app.
Image: 123RF/ammentorp

Apps that do away with the need for cash and arrange transport — with on-board cameras — at the touch of a smartphone screen will potentially make getting to school and being in the classroom a lot safer for pupils in SA.

Several schools across the country were hard hit by criminals in the past financial year, as robbers took off with valuables and money kept on the premises. But these brazen heists have become less attractive with the development of a school payment app.

Karri, the cash-free school movement, backed by Nedbank, has helped nearly 1,000 schools move away from keeping cash on the premises into an online, cash-free system.  

This provides a safer environment for teachers and pupils, according to the app founders.

CEO of Karri Doug Hoernle said the app has removed the burden of moving large sums of cash from where there are children to banks.

Parents can download, create a login on their smartphone and start making payments to the school. The app notifies users about upcoming payments.

“It can be a daunting thought for any financial team to step away from what you know and swap over to a totally cashless system,” said Hoernle. “With Karri, creating a cash-free environment does not have to be such a mammoth task for your school’s financial team. This is the only product currently in the school space that combines real-time messages, reminders, a secure payment platform and a comprehensive financial management system,” he said.

Meanwhile, parents wrestling with the logistics of getting children safely from point A to B are now able to use a scholar ride-hailing app to arrange transport.

The app is the brainchild of Tiffini Hein, MD of Cool (children’) Cabs, a scholar transport provider in Gauteng.

It allows parents to book all their children’s lifts in advance, or on an ad hoc basis, in a matter of minutes.

It tracks drop-off and collection times and makes provision for allocated guardians to sign for the child upon collection, using a secure one-time pin. It also tracks each trip in real time.

“There is a very real need in this country to help busy parents balance it all. We have been providing our service for over 10 years, currently servicing over 205 schools daily, and we felt that it was time to develop the technology to make our safe scholar transport even more accessible,” said Hein.

“This has been years in the making with our developers ensuring the end-product is safe and easy to use. It’s peace of mind at your fingertips.

“The app allows for parents or caregivers to book lifts for their child either on a regular basis to and from school and extra murals or for ad hoc lifts,” said Cool (children) Cabs.

“On top of the standard  Cool (children') Cabs safety features such as car seats, only lady drivers and on-board cameras, the app also has a live tracking function allowing you to track your child's journey in real-time,” said Hein.  

Hoerle added Karri provided a fully comprehensive financial management system with a user-friendly dashboard where teachers could create events and collections with ease, monitor payments and reconcile collections.

“It’s time to wave goodbye to your credit card machine, hefty bank deposit fees and painful reconciliations,” he said.


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