Parents Gateway is a one-stop, centrally coordinated app streamlining engagement between parents and schools, capable of direct mass communication of time-sensitive messages of high level of importance to all parents nationwide. With curriculum time saved, teachers previously burdened with onerous administrative work are free to focus on core teaching and to better meet students’ needs. Parents stressed by disparate admin processes for children in different schools can now manage all in one app.

Innovation Summary

Innovation Overview

Parents Gateway, a one-stop technological enabler with secure authentication via SingPass (the national digital identity) has a strong citizen-centric user design focus, with iteratively developed features and enhancements enabled by Agile Software Development Methodology. It was deployed nation-wide to all parents of school-going children aged 7 to 18 to enhance convenience for parents as well as improve the level of engagement with parents as our key partner and stakeholder in education.

In addition, it has also succeeded in eliminating many of the pain points highlighted by our teaching workforce – the frequent, frustrating, manual administrative process involving distribution, collection, collation and repeated reminders when engaging parents, through their children, using hardcopy forms. This has allowed our passionate teachers who genuinely desired to devote more time delivering quality lessons and nurturing students, to be better supported in their core roles.

Busy parents, especially those with children in different schools, were stressed by an onslaught of disparate administrative processes. Parents were, therefore, overwhelmed by different apps used by different schools, all seeking to meet the administrative needs of their children.

Enter Parents Gateway – the one app to rule them all!

The importance of parent involvement cannot be underestimated. Empirical evidence** suggests that parental involvement is strongly associated with children’s socio-emotional development and typical barriers to increased parental involvement in schools are time constraints among parents, a lack of awareness of opportunities to engage and a lack of communication between school and parents – all of which are resolved by Parents Gateway.

Built from end-user’s perspective through extensive customer journey mapping, Parents Gateway empowers effective school-home partnership
(i) its Parent-Centric Design (parents can view information pertaining to their children, consolidated and synced in one app, on-the-go, even if children attend different schools.)
(ii) leveraging on familiar user-behaviour of citizens (such as adding to calendar, in-app notifications, etc.)
(iii) teachers can now effortlessly track and monitor responses from parents within a shorter turnaround time

On 7 Feb 2020 when the government declared a heightened level of disease outbreak readiness (Dorscon Orange) for COVID-19 at the national level, more than 230,000 parents received notifications and instructions from MOE HQ via PG in a matter of seconds. The Travel Declaration feature allows schools to better track travel history and facilitate contact-tracing, allowing MOE to support the national effort of COVID-19 case management.

Focused Group Discussions were conducted with various stakeholders including school leaders and school administrative staff, parents, public sector agencies in the social and family sectors to understand real needs and determine the product roadmap. Thereafter, putting a Whole of Government lens on innovation by collaborating across government agencies to better deliver parent-targeted resources and services being provided, we embarked on the second tranche (Parents Gateway 2.0) – a daring enterprise of Service Journey Mapping across agencies, making Parents Gateway the forerunner in breaking down vertical silos of agencies and encouraging horizontal flow of information through inter-agency collaboration. The very success of Parents Gateway depended on its ability to string together services across various government agencies such as health records from the Ministry of Health, social programmes from the Ministries of Culture, Community & Youth and even pre-enlistment from Ministry of Defence.

Thus, Parents Gateway has become the gateway for dissemination of important messages from the Singapore Government to families and households: Another case in point would be the National Environment Agency (NEA) using Parents Gateway for its national campaign for dengue prevention – educating families on identifying symptoms and applying the "5-step Mozzie wipeout" – to eradicate the danger of dengue.

[** The Longitudinal Process of Early Parent Involvement on Student Achievement: A Path Analysis Momoko Hayakawa, Michelle M. Englund, Mallory N. Warner-Richter, Arthur J Reynolds NHSA Dialog. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2016 Nov 18.
Published in final edited form as: NHSA Dialog. 2013; 16(1): 103–126.]

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