It is no secret the Kenyan education system is based on traditional, cumbersome and outdated management systems that are must be dropped if efforts by the Ministry of Education are anything to go by. This welcome development will be augmented by new players in the education field that look forward to automating school functions with Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solutions.
We managed to have a long chat with Bunifu, a tech firm that some of us may have heard of thanks to its Kenyan-based, yet unsuccessful antivirus program. The company was conceptualized more than a decade ago but managed to acquire enterprise certification in 2013. Before relocating to Nairobi a couple of months ago, Bunifu was based in Baringo where it extensively tested its primary product.
Upon registration, it launched its first, widely-available product, Bunifu Antivirus. While the product did not catapult the company to postulated heights, it formed a basis for the creation of multiple, tech-related products. Among its many offerings, Bunifu says it has zeroed on a developer kit dubbed Bunifu Framework (launched in 2015), the previously mention Bunifu Antivirus (launched in 2013) and an ERP system for schools that has been in development since 2011.
According to Bunifu’s Product Manager, Mr. Keith Korir, the product targets schools (from primary institutions to tertiary levels) owing to the benefits of automated system that greatly improve management processes. In essence, it is a centralized database that links all departments of a school and improves communication with stakeholders. It automates school administration processes including student information and financial departments, among other sections. The outcome is a fast and efficient administration that makes informed decisions in a timely manner.
In other words, Bunifu ERP gives efficiencies in all areas of operations in a school, from automating difficult human resource processes to management of student data.
The product, which is available for PC users (development for Mac users is ongoing as the firm scales) is not entirely web-based. Data can be saved offline if internet connection is unavailable. Nevertheless, users will experience the same interface and functionality on the system, with an additional Android app that lets parents and teachers stay connected to a school’s activities such as attendance and grades, to mention a few. Parents will be apprised of real-time information, a process that creates a cohesive platform for collaboration among all stakeholders.
Admittedly, traditional school systems face several inadequacies. For instance, having all data and statistics of students, departments and finances in one place is difficult to manage bearing in mind that this information is manually documented in cumbersome forms. Secondly, it is a hard task to unify student data including enrollment, assessment and financials, among other details. In the same line of thought, it is hectic and time-consuming to manage exams, deadlines, events and conveying results to parents using manual systems.
Bunifu’s solution aims to solve these issues with its ERP where administrators can manage classes, staff, students, among other variables. Afterward, dependent users can see this information on their interface.
Bunifu ERP Features
Student Admission and Registration
Bunifu ERP keeps count of students and maintains their data, which include guardian details and earlier education details. This information generates a student profile that includes a passport photo. Administrators can add extra information such as classes, hostel details and so forth.
Inbuilt Messaging System (SMS and E-mail)
Bunifu ERP is equipped with an inbuilt SMS and e-mail system that allows schools to send alerts to stakeholders in a timely manner. This creates seamless correspondence between tutors, students and parents. Furthermore, this module augments communication in terms of student fee payment reminders and staff payslip alerts.
Web Portal Access
While the system works offline, a web portal that allows remote access exists. Students and staff can manage their accounts, in addition to accessing key information. At the same time, procurement services are available here for visibility to potential suppliers.
Accounts and Finance
This is one of Bunifu’s key module in the ERP. The company says its inclusion will allow access to a comprehensive, multi-channel platform to automate financial data while offering real-time insights into a school’s financial performance. At the same time, Bunifu says the module will markedly cut costs and simply the entire exercise.
Academics and Examination
Perhaps, this is one of the most important modules for parents who want to check the progress of their children. The module manages exams and ranks students per subject basis in a bid to help guardians track performance. Moreover, the module automates examination report generation, a process that saves a lot of time.
Bunifu is aware of chances of data loss as a result of hardware or system failure, human error, software corruption or natural disasters. Thus, transaction information made on Bunifu ERP will be backed up to an online portal for access via a browser.
Additional modules include HR and Payroll, reports, bank reconciliation, transport management and purchase and procurement. The system can be tweaked based on what a client wants to pay for. It is clear the modules constitute a robust ERP that is packed to the brim with useful features.
Bunifu Android App
Already in Google Play, Bunifu’s mobile app is the link between schools, parents and staff. Parents will be required to sign up to get access to their kids’ information.
According to Bunifu’s Communication Rep Mr. Solomon Komen, Bunifu looks forward to making the tool a standalone utility. It hopes to achieve this goal by bundling it with e-learning materials such as eBooks and tutorials thanks to a partnership with Longhorn Publishers.
Bunifu has availed the pricing model of the product on its website, which can also be customized based on the number of modules a school wants. You can check more details such as maintenance and support for one-off plans for the basic and pro variants here.
It is also leveraging NEMIS provisions to ensure digital student registration processes are seamless.
The product is also available in Tanzania. Future expansion plans target additional markets like the extensive East Africa region.