UNICEF and the Austrian Government support the Ministry of Education, Science, Technology, and Innovation with a donation of 170 laptops to ensure the continuous learning for all children ahead of the new school year

26 August 2021
Safe return to school
UNICEF/2021/L.Maxhuni

Prishtina, 17 August 2021 - Today, UNICEF Kosovo Office, the Austrian Development Cooperation and the Ministry of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI) donated 170 laptops to 64 schools in the municipalities of Gjakova, Gjilan, Lipjan, Dragash and Zubin Potok to bridge the digital divide for all children.

The 170 laptops procured through UNICEF in partnership with the Austrian Development Agency (ADA) in Kosovo will alleviate the problem of resources faced by schools, supporting additional teachers and students to have access to teaching-learning devices to ensure continuous, seamless learning both in-person, in schools or through distance learning. Furthermore 15 schools have already been connected with dedicated internet and 174 upper-secondary school teachers from Gjlan, Lipjan and Gjakova have been trained on  skills building programmes UPSHIFT, Ponder and Podium developed by UNICEF Kosovo Office with ADA funding for supporting strengthened school to work transitions for adolescents and youth. These novel programmes have been running as an informal education progammes since 2014, have been accredited by the MESTI in 2020 and are now being incorporated also in the formal education curricula. An additional 47 schools have been identified and will be connected to dedicated internet for all students and teachers to be able to fully benefit from digital opportunities to enhance learning outcomes.

The impact of the global pandemic on children’s lives has been highly disruptive, as school systems across the world shut down during lockdown and teachers moved overnight to online platforms to ensure continuity of learning for children. As the Ministry of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation in Kosovo has worked tirelessly to continue learning for more than a year now, one of the key challenges faced especially by teachers and parents has been the limited technology resources both in schools and at home.

In response to this situation, UNICEF Kosovo Office earlier provided 261 laptops and 800 tablets support to the Ministry of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation for the COVID-19 education response with the support of Austrian Development Agency in Kosovo and UK in Kosovo during the 2020-21 school year. UNICEF in Kosovo is one of the first three places in the world launching the digital learning platform Shkollat.org, to facilitate distance learning for all students. The shkollat.org platform comes with a digital library that contains 14,000 video lessons covering all subjects from grades 1 to 9. This balances the ability to offer the digital tool to 345,000 students and at the same time individualized attention. The schoolat.org platform connects every student to the platform through a unique email address. Blended learning and digital skills are one of the things that will be part of education beyond the pandemic, as an essential part of the 21st century learning environment. 

UNICEF’s Acting Head of Office, Mrs. Larissa Bruun stated that  ”while schools should continue being the last to close, first to open during the pandemic, it’s currently absolutely critical to continue being strict about measures to minimize the risk of COVID-19. We’re very excited to have been working closely with MESTI over the last year on making content available online for blended learning through online solutions (schollat.org platform) that can allow flexibility if smaller class sizes are required and students continue learning partly online, partly in school.”

“In these challenging times we are doing the utmost for safe opening of the schools, with physical presence of all children. I congratulate UNICEF for their efforts and support during and beyond the pandemic”– said Mrs. Arberie Nagavci, Minister of Education, Science, Technology, and Innovation.

"ADA is the biggest supporter of UNICEF youth programs. UPSHIFT, PODIUM & PONDER are the best youth related programmes. As mentioned, 2,000 teachers are trained with the aim to understand those programmes and implement the knowledge learned from it in their teaching techniques and methods in schools. Thanks to teachers for taking this extremely challenging and important task to facilitate, cooperate with us, and support us on making changes in learning methods," – said Mrs. Sandra Horina, Councilor and Head of Austrian Development Cooperation in Kosovo.

UNICEF Kosovo Office in partnership with Ministry of Education, Science, Technology, and Innovation is continuing to work to move forward with innovative and collective action to make sure that no child is left behind.

Media contacts

Dafina Zuna
Head of Communications
UNICEF Kosovo Programme

About shkollat.org

It is one stop center for all children and young people, including teachers. 17,000 videos will be uploaded, 300,000 students will have its unique e-mail address name.surname@shkollat.org  

How will the data be collected? – teachers will ask students to provide basic information such as name and surname, name of parent, school, municipality, and a phone number. Students will create their personal profile in the platform. Ministry of Education ensure that all data of children and parents will be kept confirmation and they will be used exclusively for the purpose of the learning platform.

#About UNICEF

UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across more than 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone. For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org./kosovoprogramme 

For more details you can contact Dafina Zuna, Partnerships and Communications Officer at UNICEF in Kosovo at + 383 44 185 123 or dzuna@unicef.org