Brussels (Brussels Morning) Digital literacy in Croatia is poised to grow considerably following an EU investment of 150 million euros to integrate innovative digital technologies in the country’s education system that will connect more than half of the schools in the country.
The e-Schools project is expected to put online 1,166 public primary and secondary schools, based on a comprehensive ICT infrastructure, including enhanced IT equipment.
The idea is to develop educational software capable of connecting students and teachers, which will improve the quality of education and increase students’ employability.
The project’s pilot has already seen success, helping over 150 Croatian schools upgrade.
“The project’s biggest achievement so far was a public call for schools to formally express their interest in participating in the pilot project.
More than 50 percent of all Croatian primary and secondary schools applied (over 700) with the formal backing of their founders (municipalities or counties), which clearly displayed that this project already has wide recognition and offers what schools really need, and resulted in the selection of 150 schools that are now actively participating in the project”, said Juraj Bilić, Expert for EU Projects at CARNet – Croatian Academic and Research Network.
The European Commission approved investment led to fund disbursement from the European Regional Development Fund and the European Social Fund.
Throughout the EU, the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated social disparities regarding access to learning. It is believed that better equipped schools will provide better resources for their pupils to progress.
“Thanks to EU Cohesion policy, Croatia’s education system will be able to fully reap the benefits of the digital era and better prepare young people for their professional future. This project also contributes to boosting the resilience of the sector during the coronavirus pandemic”, said Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms Elisa Ferreira.
In 2015-2020 alone, EU cohesion policy directed 8.5 billion euros of investment in Croatia to boost competitiveness, sustainability and improve the quality of life of Croatian citizens.
The European Commission also identified that Croatia led on its youth, aged 16-24, being digitally literate, with 97 percent of this age cohort having “basic or above basic” digital skills, according to data released by the EU statistics office in July 2020.