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Croatia: international recognition for digitalisation of schools

Croatian e-Schools project receives prestigious UNESCO award for initiatives introducing ICT in education in 2017

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) listed the Croatian e-Schools project among the top 12 introducing ICT in education in the world in 2017, in a competition among 143 projects from 79 countries. The UNESCO annual award is conferred on individuals and organisations that promote innovative use of new technologies in expanding access to high quality education and lifelong learning.

The pilot project e-Schools: establishing a system for developing digitally mature schools aims at raising and improving levels of digitalisation in primary and secondary schools in Croatia; it is piloting and evaluating the implementation of ICT in both education and administrative processes in 10% of Croatian schools. Project activities in 2017 included the development of infrastructure and equipment procurement for schools and regional education centres and the installation of wireless networks in 145 schools. Further activities were the development and the implementation of a digital content repository, a process informatisation system, an organisational analytics system, and digital education content such as e-Reading and two massive online open courses (MOOCs). Activities also involved project impact assessment and evaluation of schools’ digital progress, as well as capacity-building workshops and webinars for teachers.

The project coordinating body is the Croatian Academic and Research Network, CARNET, with the Agency for Vocational Education and Training and Adult Education as the project partner and the Ministry of Science and Education as the main authority for development and maintenance of infrastructure for the introduction of new technologies in Croatian education and research. The pilot project value is over EUR 40 million, with 85% of the budget funded by the European Social Fund (ESF) and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). Based on the results of the pilot project e-Schools, implemented in 2015-18, full-scale Croatian school digitalisation is foreseen in 2019-22. The comprehensive digitalisation of schools will advance efficiency and transparency in primary and secondary school management in Croatia, enhance teacher and student digital competences and so promote innovation in education and competitiveness of the country’s future workforce.