The e-School programme aims to strengthen the elementary and middle school education system in Croatia. To achieve this, the programme aims to foster more digitally mature schools (i.e., schools with a high degree of integration of digital technologies) and lead the way forward through a systematic approach to using technology in schools. Ran by CARNET, the Creation Academic and Research Network, the portal offers a wide range of trainings, workshops and tools targeting students and teachers.
With this focus, the programme seeks to increase capacity-building within schools and prepare students for digitalisation in the labour market in an adequate and consistent way. Teachers are equipped with documents supporting the application of digital content and tools in teaching, an e-diary, instructions for using equipment, online distance learning platform and network portals (e.g., e-laboratory on digital tools). A Technical Support Specialist (STP) assists school staff in using the equipment and network from the project, updates operating systems on the equipment as needed, and reports faults to CARNET.
A pilot project (2015-2019) tested the organisational, technological, and educational aspects of introducing information and communication technology (ICT) in the classroom. The experience of the pilot served as the basis to develop the strategy for a system of digitally mature schools in both primary and secondary educational facilities from the Republic of Croatia, implemented between 2019-2022. The initiative supports long-term sustainability and investments in digital skills through the Strategic Framework for the Digital Maturation of Schools and the School System in the Republic of Croatia (2030)
The e-School programme has contributed to capacity-building through a wide outreach and engagement by its target audience. The initiative succeeded in distributing personal ICT equipment (tablets, computers) to many students and teachers in Croatia: 26.350 computers were delivered in the project's pilot phase, and another 26.755 are planned for distribution in 2021. More than 150 schools took part in the pilot project and mobile support teams visited more than 700 school locations with the aim of supporting the digital transformation of education processes by 2022. The e-Schools Programme also contributed to digital maturity by enhancing distance learning during the COVID-19 pandemic and helped a large number of schools to reach intermediate and high level of digital maturity (i.e. the level of integration of digital technologies within learning and teaching). External evaluation among 250 schools (2020) identified 100 as digitally advanced and 5 being digitally mature. In 2021, the e-Schools project was presented as an example of good practice in digital skills and jobs at a conference on the topic of cohesion policy and investments in digital education, organised by the Ministry of Regional Development and EU Funds, in cooperation with the European Commission.