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Further digital development of the education system a priority for upcoming school year in Estonia

Named ‘the most advanced digital society in the world’ by Wired, Estonia is one of the few countries in the world that begins developing the nation's digital skills already in schools and kindergartens. The new school year in Estonia will be digitally transformable, valuing language learning digital development, the Ministry of Education and Research announced.

Minister of Education and Research, Mailis Reps said that it is the government’s priority to develop infrastructure to support schools in having high-speed internet and internal networks. Over the next two years, 164 general education and vocational schools’ IT networks will be upgraded, with the remainder coming between 2021 and 2022, writes ERR. A total of €8.27 million will be spent.

The pilot program for digital textbooks launched last year was successful and the selection of textbooks is expanding further. As an innovation, digital textbooks can also be used free of charge by parents. Educational start-ups will be supported to create new educational asset solutions.

Estonia is already now one of the few countries where children are learning today’s everyday skills such as programming, cryptocurrency mining and 3D-printing already in schools and kindergartens – and as Ede Schank Tamkivi of Eesti 2.0 explains – a perfect place for projects like that (see video below).

It also seems that having taken the digital path years ago is already paying off in Estonia’s schools. According to the PISA tests, the results of Estonian 15-year-olds are the best in Europe and among the strongest in the entire world.

Safety and language-learning also considered priorities

Besides digital development, the government will also improve the implementation of anti-bullying programs and widen the possibilities for teachers to prevent the emergence of situations jeopardizing safety at school. Attention will be paid to preventing violence in both, real-life and in digital environments.

Minister Mailis Reps also pointed out that another focus areas is creating possibilities to study Estonian for children and adults who wish to do so. It will be made easier for children to start their Estonian language studies already in kindergarten.

Adults, on the other hand, will be aided by ICT. “We seek to create more ways to learn Estonian language online for people to learn it whenever and wherever,” said Reps. She added that here, once again, IT will play an important role as additional smart devices and a widened selection of digital learning materials will be used.

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