Using Mobile SMS to Track Student School Attendance

Increasing Student School Attendance

The Scenario

In regions where electricity and/or Internet access are limited, tracking student attendance in schools can be difficult. Paper roll-call sheets are often used by teachers to take attendance, which can make collecting and consolidating the data an expensive and time-consuming task, and one that puts the integrity of the data at risk (these sheets can be easily lost, mixed up or manipulated).

This becomes even more difficult when tracking needs to be done for multiple schools with large numbers of teachers and students involved.

Bamba’s platform can be set up to collect this information in real-time, and because data is inputted immediately and through SMS, it’s accurate and cost-effective.

Ideal for Use By:

  • Organizations looking to collect data in regions where Internet access and/or electricity are limited
  • Local governments to monitor student attendance and school performance
  • Organizations that want to incentivize school attendance to keep kids in school
  • School districts & governments responsible for planning and building education infrastructure

Leveraging Bamba

To collect and monitor student attendance, the Bamba platform can be used as follows:

  1. Teachers are trained on the proper format for submitting attendance reporting via SMS.
  2. Teachers at each school take attendance as usual.
  3. They send a daily attendance report via free SMS to the Bamba platform.
  4. The platform rewards each teacher that reports at a specified frequency.
    • Reward is delivered instantly to teacher’s phone via airtime money transfer
    • Can be administered daily, weekly or at any specified interval
    • Any desired amount of money can be chosen for this reward
  5. Other information can also be collected as needed.
    • For example, other parties (such as parents) can be trained on SMS reporting as needed
    • If a student is absent, the system can be set up to send a free SMS to the student’s parents requesting a reason for absence
    • When the parent responds via free SMS with a reason, this is captured by the platform and included in analysis/reporting
  6. Bamba platform consolidates and analyzes this data on an ongoing basis.
    • At any given time, it’s possible to check in on how specific students, teachers and schools are performing on attendance
    • Reports can be customized to include information that is most pertinent to the organization
    • Reports can be sent to the organization at specified intervals

Flowchart: Tracking Student School Attendance

The Outputs

The reports generated by the Bamba platform can be customized to meet the needs of the organization, and can be delivered at whatever intervals are specified. Here are some examples of what you might see in the report:



Benefits of the Approach

  • Immediate results
  • Unlimited number of teachers/students
  • Unlimited number of schools
  • No cost to send/receive SMS messages
  • Reporting via SMS is simple and training is provided
  • Process can be customized
  • Rewards/incentives are transferred immediately via SMS
    • Proven to increase reporting rates significantly
  • Feature phones are the only technology needed by schools for implementation
  • High quality results
  • Reports can be customized as needed


For an example of how this Use Case was applied in the real world, check out this case study where the attendance of students at over 350 schools was successfully monitored over a 2-year period using the Bamba platform.

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