Developing digital skills – supporting children’s education
Children from the Ljubović Centre are mastering tools for distance learning and learning how to use the internet safely
PODGORICA, 25 September 2020 – The closure of schools due to the COVID-19 pandemic has additionally demonstrated how important it is for children to have access to digital technologies, as well as the necessary knowledge and skills to use them, all with a view to being able to follow the teaching process which has, due to the pandemic, migrated to the internet and online environment. However, according to a recent UN study conducted in Montenegro, 16 percent of families with children under the age of 18 do not have access to a desktop or laptop computer connected to the internet.
With the aim of reducing the negative consequences of the pandemic on the education process, first and foremost with regard to children from vulnerable groups, UNICEF organized training for children, in cooperation with Telenor, on the safe use of the internet during the COVID-19 pandemic. The training took place in the recently established IT laboratory in the Ljubović Centre, where children who have been imposed by the court or have behavioural problems are placed.
Every child is entitled to high-quality and inclusive education, regardless of his/her place of residence. We have tried to support one of the most vulnerable groups of children and adolescents in the learning process and thus reduce the negative impact of the pandemic on the education process.
The children who took part in this three-day training have positive impressions from the workshop, in which, as they say, they have acquired very useful and immediately applicable knowledge.
“We learned about Office applications, such as Word, PowerPoint and Excel, which will be most useful in my education. In addition, I have learned to use social networks to find information that interests me faster and more easily. All this will come in handy in my future life,” Damir says excitedly.
Marko sees the value of this training in the fact that the skills he has mastered are boosting his computer literacy, and will also eventually help him in the labour market: “The training has helped me to improve my skills and to learn more, which will be very important for eventual future employment, because nothing can be achieved without information literacy nowadays. Furthermore, the newly acquired knowledge will make distance learning easier for me.”
What makes Dino especially happy is the fact that he will be able to immediately apply the knowledge he has gained to the way he consumes news on the internet.
“I am especially happy that I have learned how to identify fake news, i.e. how to tell what is true and what is a lie, because I will be able to verify and read all the information in a different way in the future. For example, many people believed the view expressed on the internet that a person is not infected with coronavirus if he/she does not start coughing after 10 seconds of holding his/her breath. During the training, we determined that this was nothing but fake news,” Dino proudly points out.
Emir agrees with Dino in that they have learned how to spot fake news: “I have learned to understand that some information that I thought was true is actually false.”
The company Telenor, which equipped the IT laboratory and thus enabled children to have access to online learning tools, reminds everyone that it is important for children to develop their digital skills even during the period when the schools are closed due to the pandemic.
We want to help children acquire, in a creative manner, the knowledge required for safe and responsible use of the internet in this environment and era when digital literacy is one of the necessary skills. This will enable them to take an active role in the digital society.
The training for children is part of the “Digital Safety for Every Child” initiative, implemented in cooperation with the NGO Digitalizuj.me, with the support of UNICEF Montenegro and Telenor. The goal of the initiative is to support the use of digital technologies in the teaching process, to strengthen the capacities of professionals in this field, as well as to raise the awareness of children and adolescents about online safety during the COVID-19 pandemic.