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Working in education has many rewarding facets, but managing the administrative side of things is generally not considered to be one of them. Many administrative processes in education are manual and paper-heavy, making them cumbersome, time-consuming and error-prone. 

This takes a toll on both time and resources which would be better directed toward successful student and teaching outcomes. Most Australian universities, for example, have only one staff member per 20+ students. And for many educational institutions, this imbalance can seem exacerbated when repetitive admin jobs are jarring their workflows. 

The good news is that technology can alleviate the administrative burden put on education staff. Process automation in education allows both administrators and teachers to automate tasks, streamline common workflows, and securely handle large volumes of student data. 

What is process automation? 

Robotic process automation (RPA) technologies can automate administrative and business operations at a fraction of the speed a human can. 

RPA or ‘bots’ can give businesses the capability to synthesise files, gather and analyse data, and trigger certain actions. RPA works by extracting data from documents, organising files and folders, plucking necessary information from web pages, and more. 

More specifically, with RPA technologies, educational institutions can holistically manage, store, and process student and staff data efficiently, securely, and productively. And by automating human-based tasks, you can eliminate human error and reduce time spent on routine activities.

What tasks can you automate in education? 

Student enrolments

Student enrolments can be really time- and labour-intensive and are traditionally managed manually, entering data from thousands of hardcopy forms. The problem with this approach is that it slows down operations and leaves room for human error, missing documents, and mountains of unsecured papers containing sensitive personal information. 

With robotic process automation in education, staff can replace the manual enrolment process with a simple and seamless solution. This is done via advanced data capture and indexing technology which uses AI to extract necessary information from a file, interprets it, and automatically allocates it to the correct location. 

This technology function can intelligently read, check, analyse and classify enrolment documents to approve application forms, validate files and register eligible students in the appropriate grade or course.   

Invoice processing

Inefficient and manual invoice processing systems can be costly for learning institutions and pose a greater risk of error in accounts payable operations. However, invoicing workflows can be significantly improved through automation.

Automatic invoice processing will reduce the time spent on migrating tasks between different systems and people in the approval process through automated invoice workflows. Intelligent data reading and indexing, similar to that of student enrolment automation,  makes it possible for you to swiftly and simply export data into your accounting system and minimise the risk of data entry mistakes. 

As educational institutions generally produce large volumes of billing data, this function is particularly useful as no task is too big or complex for invoice processing automation technology. This saves staff valuable hours that they can use to focus on students and curriculums.  

Privacy and security

Keeping student data secure is absolutely critical for education providers. Another benefit of automation in education is that it can make it easier to secure and restrict access to student data such as progress reports, records, personal information, and so forth. 

Rights-based access clearances and encryption layers ensure that only authorised personnel can retrieve the information, and in doing so, make learning institutions less susceptible to data breaches.

As parent and staff demands evolve with the advancement of technology, education providers need to implement smarter solutions to optimise their workflows, as well as increase security and efficiency. Process automation in education can reduce the administrative burden for educators considerably, freeing up valuable time and resources to direct toward more education-centric tasks.

Whether you're looking to scale up or diversify your business, automation can help you create efficiencies, support future growth and add value to your organisation. Download our guide, Business Automation: How it generates value and supports growth, to learn more.