Robotic Process Automation For The Education Industry

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25th November 2022
5 Minute Read

A study of teachers recently established that 90% had thought about leaving the industry because of the workload in the last year. Funding for schools is tighter than ever and as more and more admin staff are seen as expendable in cost-cutting, so teachers must assume more of the paperwork burden.

Unfortunately for the students, the much-needed time for guidance in their studies falls by the wayside and the vital student-teacher relationship suffers. Many more education organizations are discovering Robotic Process Automation (RPA) as a workable solution to these problems, as they affect ever more education professionals.


What is RPA in education?


Schools, colleges, and universities are unique as organizations, with their own advantages and disadvantages in how they operate. However, one common feature among them all is complex administration, which needs to be conducted quickly and accurately.

RPA in education is increasingly seen as one of the solutions that can help with tasks such as course registration, enrolment, attendance, assignment grading, organizing meetings, IT department, human resources, admin, and finance.

When effectively deployed RPA in education can reduce paperwork significantly, carry out tasks more rapidly and conduct them more cost-effectively as well. It’s not unusual for the capital cost of an RPA education project to be paid back in the first year with a healthy ROI.

With the reduction in admin workload, teachers can once more reclaim valuable time to spend with their students, while at the same time having the backup of efficient admin systems.


What are the benefits of implementing RPA in education?


Improved customer experience


RPA in education has a significant role in effectively automating many back-office tasks. These can include admissions, reports, and mailing among others which are both relevant to teaching and admin staff.

Employees are freed up from the routine, repetitive workload, where complex service level agreements and compliance are the priority instead of teaching. Staff can then devote their time more profitably to improving their department systems or spending quality time with students.


Lowers costs and expenditure


All the tasks associated with managing admin processes in education establishments typically require a large amount of data entry input. RPA is designed to eliminate this manual entry, instead replacing it with automated systems that can execute the tasks much faster and more accurately.

Just this one saving can result in significant labor cost reductions, while simultaneously creating higher revenues as well. RPA not only reduces cost but provides more value to the organizational benefits, while improving efficiency at the same time.


Better management capabilities


With the increasing complexity and demands of education organizations today, flexibility in their management is a particularly useful trait, which enables adaptation to their changing circumstances.

With RPA, deployment can be integrated into one central server, from which all RPA functions can be directed. These can include implementation, scheduling, tracking, and management, and they can all be assigned remotely and varied according to changing demands.

This specific programming enables organizations to better manage functions creating more effective governance.


Increases productivity


With RPA in education organizations, the benefits to productivity are twofold. Firstly, a large proportion of the straightforward but repetitive manual tasks are now managed by RPA, leaving admin and teaching staff with more hours in their schedules.

This time can be devoted to more value-driven projects such as innovative courses and spending personal time guiding students. RPA will also execute the same tasks much quicker, providing a productivity boost to the associated department.


The top 4 use cases of RPA in the education sector


Tracking Attendance


Tracking attendance in education organizations enables staff to verify students’ attendance, absenteeism, and punctuality. The weaknesses of a manual system are shown when students can ask their friends to cover their absenteeism, while the manual process for collecting data is long-winded and error-prone.


An RPA attendance tool is straightforward to deploy, and will accurately track the movements of students, teachers, and admin staff as they arrive at and leave the school. This RPA-harvested data is then consolidated and converted into attendance reports, which provide statistics on sick pay, leave, and overtime, as well as attendance and punctuality.


Schedule meetings


Educational organizations include many different parties who often need to collaborate via meetings. However, seemingly straightforward meetings are often fraught with complications, such as when rooms are double booked, or the venue must be changed at the last minute. Keeping on top of the changes is difficult with a manual system.

RPA is an ideal tool, which can be programmed to create automated scheduling of room bookings. There is no need for a member of staff to oversee the system, which saves costs and improves productivity. When the meeting room is booked online, and the arrangements made, all the relevant delegates can be notified of the time, date, and venue by email.


Reducing enrolment process interruptions


Student enrolment is a complex and time-consuming task, in addition, enrolment takes place at the same time for all the new students in a year. This creates a bottleneck, which can result in excessive errors and inefficiency. Manually evaluating applications is repetitive but must be carried out diligently.

This requirement for accuracy and efficiency means that RPA is well-placed to manage enrolment much better. RPA can be programmed to scan completed forms, analyze the data in them, verify eligibility criteria and even calculate whether a student is eligible for enrolment.


Monitor student’s performance


One of the most involved tasks facing teaching professionals is keeping up-to-date with the confusing data associated with each student’s performance. Using a manual assessment numerous parameters are used to evaluate performance. Some organizations encourage students to oversee their own academic progress as a way of stimulating responsibility and ownership.

RPA can take on the assessment role too, aggregating term performance figures to calculate student grades and reports on progress. In this context, RPA automation works in tandem with statistics in the database to create accurate reports with no human intervention.


Final thoughts


The need for educational organizations to have a degree of flexibility in their business process management tasks makes RPA an ideal candidate, where it can be programmed individually and tailored to each application.


The teaching staff has been under the continued pressure of reduced funding, which has reduced admin staff and seen some of their work passed on to struggling teachers instead. Many of the repetitive tasks of educational admin can be effectively managed using RPA, leaving teachers with more time to devote their core teaching skills to their students.

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