‘eSchools’ initiative helps teachers, students and parents in Opolskie
More than 100 schools in Opolskie, Poland are enjoying the benefits of the latest Information Communication Technologies (ICT) thanks to EU funding. The investment package paid for the development of e-services and the purchase of computer equipment, making it easier for the schools to access teaching resources and materials, keep in touch with parents, and provide students with exciting learning opportunities.
" The implementation of the project meant that thousands of students were granted access to professional IT networks and modern hardware and software. Wide access to multimedia resources has raised the competences of both teachers and youth – and their parents. "
The project delivered the IT infrastructure and software necessary for the development of an eSchools portal. 57 junior secondary schools are connected to the portal, along with 19 primary schools, 33 secondary schools and two kindergartens. The schools received a range of computer equipment including laptops, interactive whiteboards with multi-media projectors, wireless networking facilities and access cards for the eSchool system. Training was an integral part of the project. More than 4 500 teachers and administrative employees learned how to use the ICT applications. So far, more than 17 000 people have used the online services. Four new jobs were created through the project.
Students and teachers are using the service and new equipment in their everyday work and study, while virtual lessons can be delivered by specialist tutors. For example, dedicated classes can be established to support talented students with specific abilities, or for students with learning difficulties who need extra help.
Parents benefit too as they can use an online school register to check their child’s attendance record and results. They can also interact with the school using text messages and emails. Moreover, the new technologies are helping to improve management systems and communications between the region’s educational institutions.
The electronic platform provides a number of other benefits. Registered users can set up discussion forums covering a number of schools at a time. The service also makes it easier for students to work in groups while staff can swap teaching materials in an efficient way.
Promoting digital inclusion
The eSchool initiative was a response to the difficulties some of the region’s educational institutions were having in accessing ICT. Therefore, the project has helped to improve digital inclusion in the region. Some participating schools have provided a multimedia kiosk through which anyone can use free wi-fi to check their mail box or search for information. The kiosks can also be used by parents and local people who do not have internet access at home.
Total investment and EU funding
Total investment for the project “eSchool of the Opolskie Region – a school for the future” is EUR 3 922 949, with the EU’s European Regional Development Fund contributing EUR 3 334 507 through the “Opolskie Operational Programme for the 2007-2013 programming period.