UNICEF supports the long-term improvement of online education in Croatia

Nearly half a million HRK for the improvement of the quality distance learning

02 June 2020
Predstavnici triju institucija
MIlej/UNICEF

Zagreb, 3 June 2020 – In cooperation with the Ministry of Science and Education and the Croatian Academic and Research Network CARNET, the UNICEF Office for Croatia has supported the renewal of the infrastructure needed for the safe running of distance learning by donating a long-capacity data storage system. The procurement of a new data storage system, worth more than HRK 480,000, enables the smooth and efficient implementation of the online education for students in Croatia. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the amount of data in CARNET systems increased several times in a short period of time, and UNICEF invested in data storage systems to ensure that all content used was securely stored. Although this investment was important in times of crisis, it also has long-term effects on education in Croatia as children will use virtual classrooms, online learning tools and prepared content after they return to school as well.  

“Distance learning is our pioneering endeavour, thanks to which we have ensured the educational process for all students in Croatia in extraordinary circumstances caused by the coronavirus pandemic. We were lucky that thanks to the admittance of curricular reform in schools, we equipped our schools on time and thus created the preconditions for this type of teaching to be possible at all. I thank UNICEF for donating a system for long-term storage of large capacity data (Tape Library), which in this way supported the entire process," said the Minister of Science and Education, Prof. Ph.D. Blaženka Divjak.

Due to the coronavirus epidemic in Croatia, regular classes were interrupted as of March 16 this year, and online classes were launched. Despite the crisis and all the difficulties faced by teachers and students alike, the transition from a traditional way of teaching to a virtual curriculum for upper primary and secondary school students has been ensured. However, it also meant a greater overload of the existing system because of the large amount of applications and the increased number of users. In order to conduct teaching and learning via digital educational platforms, it was necessary to ensure a reliable upgrade of the CARNET's data storage system. The Tape Library system allows the secure storage of data, keeps the system stable and provides the best solution for managing extremely large databases.

"In the extraordinary circumstances caused by coronavirus, CARNET and the entire education system were faced with a challenge to provide the best possible support to all our users and ensure the stability of the whole process when switching from traditional learning to distance learning. Since the beginning of distance learning until today, half a million teachers and students have access to numerous applications, services and tools for distance learning every day via their electronic identity in the AAI@EduHr system. Therefore, we are grateful for the donation that will help maintain the stability of our systems and consequently provide all students and teachers with an improved experience and unhindered distance learning," said Goran Kezunović, Director of CARNET.

During the coronavirus crisis, UNICEF worked hard to provide support to children and families in Croatia. The range of activities included the procurement of protective and medical equipment, disinfectants and other hygiene items, support for families in difficult life circumstances and psychosocial assistance to foster families, support for early intervention services for children with disabilities and protection of children from online violence and fake online news, and a large part of UNICEF activities in Croatia has been focused on ensuring quality continuation of education. In addition to developing guidelines and advices for education professionals, UNICEF support also included procuring tablets and providing WiFi access for the children in need. Investing in upgrading CARNET’s storage system is an additional contribution that helps students and teachers maintain distance learning during and after the crisis.

Regina M. Castillo, Head of the UNICEF Office for Croatia, stated: „Education is not only a right but one of the greatest gifts that a child can receive. UNICEF is proud to support the Ministry of Education and Science and CARNET to make sure that all children, regardless of their circumstances, have access to quality education. Although the COVID-19 pandemic was a trial period for everyone, it was especially difficult for children and their families. As UNICEF we worked hard to provide equipment especially computers and SIM cards to children in need as well as simple-to-use materials to keep both children and teachers informed and safe. We are happy to know that CARNET's improved storage system is a significant contribution to our joint and ongoing efforts to ensure quality education for all.”

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