SMS goes to school

Emirates Telecommunications Corporation (Etisalat) has launched its new 'School Connect' service, which will allow more than 1,200 schools and colleges, with more than 500,000 students enrolled throughout the UAE to communicate instantly through mobile phones, using SMS messages.

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By  Maddy Reddy Published  April 24, 2004

Emirates Telecommunications Corporation (Etisalat) has launched its new 'School Connect' service, which will allow schools, colleges and other educational institutions throughout the UAE to communicate instantly with their various audiences through mobile phones, using Short Message Service (SMS). According to the UAE government statistics, the seven Emirates currently boast of more than 1,200 schools, which includes public, private, adult education and defense schools with a total enrolment of more than 500,000 students and 20,000 students at higher level educational institutes. “After an assessment of the education sector’s communication needs, School Connect was launched to provide educational institutions with a simple, cost-effective and instantaneous method of communicating with their different audiences,” says Mohammed Al Fahim, executive vice president, marketing, Etisalat. Currently schools stay in touch through telephone calls or letters to communicate announcements or developments, which can both time consuming and unreliable says Etisalat. The new service allows the school administration to send messages to specific groups using a simple web interface where the user inputs details such as target group, date of issue and message body-text. During the first phase, messages of up to 160 English characters or 70 Arabic Characters can be broadcast using pre-set groups of numbers stored on databases. Groups can be set up based on any criteria including age, grade and nationality. Messages can also be ‘triggered’ by dates, where a pre-written communication can be programmed to broadcast on a particular day at a set time. “The aim of School Connect Service is to ensure that a school’s range of audiences is informed of news and events taking place throughout the year. Through SMS messages, the service provides an ideal medium for communicating anything from exam results to dates of upcoming holidays,” adds Al Fahim.

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