With the affect of demonetisation, the cash handling in fees is troubling all the stakeholders like schools and fee collection facilitators. Globally, the countries with most number of schools have moved towards digital inclusion from 2007 onwards with phenomenon success rates. It was about time, that the country with the highest number of schools caught up with this inclusion.
most private schools in India opting for quarterly fee payments, which is about 25 per cent of the Central Board of Secondary Education schools, the average fees of an urban K-12 student being 5,000 per month, the handling of Rs 15,000 in cash is both cumbersome as well as risk-prone.
As per the CBSE guidelines, schools are going digital and this can avoid standing in long queues. It will have 24/7 access to fee account that gives an option to pay at the convenient time which is a boon for the working urban class parents. Payments through mobile are becoming easier day by day, hence payments on the go makes it even more convenient.
With the effect of digitalisation, schools will be benefiting from reduced administration time and direct cost savings.
All transactions will have a clear audit trail, and the payments can be tracked easily without any room for error. Bouncing cheques, cash reconciliation issues, dependence on human error, all will be things of the part. Schools will also begin to realise, the saving up on the time spent on chasing up payments will outweigh the initial cost of migration to online modes of payments. Teachers will be free from handling cash envelopes and classroom collections.
About 90 per cent of the after school hours includes payment reconciliation and assessing student work. Streamlining the auxiliary functions and outsourcing these to fee payment vendors will also help schools focus on academic outcomes and channel the resources on promotion of skills in students.
Cash has been accepted as a legal tender since the 17th century, and it has been persistent enough to stick round, while a lot of other information goods have gone digital. It’s been only recently that the road to a wider cashless society has started to really take shape. PayPal, Square Cash Kenya’s mpesa, Bangladesh’s bKash, PayU Money, PayTM all have been spearheading towards a cashless economy in respective countries. Fastudent, an ecommerce tech enabler for schools, also helps schools get their fee payments integrated in a click making the non-cash transactions through the e-wallet, online payments, credit card swipe on delivery and even the cheque pickups.
CBSE has been taking actions in making endeavours to enhance the transparency of fund usage within the education system. Schools hold a major key in stepping towards a cashless economy. The mandatory disclosures announced three months back would help give transparency to the funds usage under different headers from the number of taps to fee break-up, Wi-Fi speed, admission results, reserve funds and balance sheets.
In coming times, in line with the global precedents, educational supplies entailing all goods purchased from or for school will be needed a platform to facilitate seamless and transparent school-student transactions. For those schools lagging in their digital evolution, the path to cashless nirvana is through investing in digital inclusion first.
(THE WRITER IS CO- FOUNDER AND CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER, FASTUDENT.COM)