New initiative to help ensure children learn digital skills for a modern workforce
Ankara, 2 May 2023 - An estimated 18 million students in Türkiye will ultimately benefit from an initiative to build teachers’ digital skills, which was launched in Ankara today.
The €3.75 million (nearly 80 million Turkish Lira) ‘Digital Ecosystem for Teacher Training’ project is funded by the European Union and implemented by UNICEF, in collaboration with the Ministry of National Education.
Under the initiative, an initial cohort of 200,000 teachers, school administrators and other education personnel across the eight provinces of Istanbul, Yalova, Izmir, Ankara, Rize, Mersin, Erzurum, and Gaziantep will undertake online digital skills training.
They will then help to train other colleagues, benefitting an estimated total of one million teachers across the country.
As digital technology continues to shape the job market, it is crucial that students are equipped with the skills required to succeed in a rapidly evolving economy. A recent report  estimated 3.1 million net new jobs could be created in Türkiye over the next decade through digital technologies, automation, and artificial intelligence.
The initiative is designed to equip teachers to better match the skills children learn at school with the needs of employers, opening up more job opportunities and allowing students to reach their full potential. It will benefit students from years K-12.
The initiative, which will run until 2026, will provide an online training platform offering 120 hours of interactive modules on digital skills. Teachers will participate in content development phases and collaborate in eight teacher training labs.
Other educators, including relevant public officials, academics, and employees of non-governmental organisations are also expected to participate.
While the Government of Türkiye and its partners continue to respond to the most urgent learning needs of students affected by the February earthquakes, projects to invest in the longer-term quality of education systems, such as this teacher training initiative, are also moving forward.
UNICEF Türkiye Country Office Deputy Representative Paolo Marchi said the project recognised the vital role of teachers in helping students prepare to enter the workforce.
“The role of teachers is critical to help transform the education and training models in ways that better prepare children to become active members of a fast-changing economy and society” Marchi said “ How we will be able to support teachers to leverage the potential of digital learning will impact the overall equity and quality of the education”.
Angel Gutierrez Hidalgo, Acting Head of Cooperation at the European Union Delegation to Türkiye, said; “A national, robust digital education ecosystem is not only crucial for increasing the quality of education for all learners but also to ensure for strong education responses during emergencies with the goal of minimizing learning losses.”
Deputy Minister of National Education, Petek Aşkar said: “Considering the processes that our country and the world are going through, the Digital Ecosystem for Teacher Training project has been implemented in order to support the digital education skills of our teachers and to advance the studies on digital education in integrity. It is aimed to benefit 200,000 teachers, school administrators and other education personnel. Thanks to the teachers who are equipped with digital education skills; students will be provided with a more effective education and training opportunity and ultimately better student learning outcomes will be encountered.”