The Minister of Civil Affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ms. Ankica Gudeljevic, today received 229 laptops, purchased by UNICEF and UNESCO in Bosnia and Herzegovina as part of the project “Reinventing Education for Girls and marginalized boys during and after COVID-19 in Bosnia and Herzegovina”.
Representatives of the United Nations in BiH, led by the United Nations Resident Coordinator in BiH, dr. Ingrid Macdonald, UNICEF representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina, dr. Rownak Khan and the Head of the UNESCO Antenna in Sarajevo, Mr Sinisa Sesum, handed over laptops purchased for primary and secondary schools, as well as for higher education institutions in Una-sana canton , Western Herzegovina Canton and Republika Srpska.
According to data collected by UNICEF and UNESCO in 2020, around 4,700 primary and secondary school students did not have access to e-learning due to lack of ICT equipment and internet connection.
Minister Gudeljevic thanked the UN representatives for their continued cooperation and commitment to ensure equal access to education for all students, especially the most marginalized: lower than in countries of the EU, with the quality of education, which must be improved, as well as the conditions for carrying out educational processes. These challenges were even more glaring at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, both in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in many other countries around the world. Education systems had to react quickly and shift overnight from in-person and traditional education to hybrid education.
She also added: “As we summarize the results of the project, we can say that the main objective of the project has been achieved, responding to the challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the learning losses incurred through a gender-sensitive approach, and encourage parents and students not to give up on learning.“
Lack of accessibility to education can cause significant learning losses and deepen the educational and socio-economic divide in the longer term.
The United Nations Resident Coordinator in Bosnia and Herzegovina, dr. Ingrid Macdonald said: “The United Nations in Bosnia and Herzegovina is committed to supporting authorities, teachers, parents and students with the latest global educational innovations and to bridging the digital divide. Our goal is that no child not be left behind in access to education in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Together with our partners, I am proud that the United Nations Secretary-General’s COVID-19 Recovery Fund has supported the efforts of UNICEF, the UNESCO, ILO and UNV to create a stable foundation for the transformation of the education sector with the Reimagining Education initiative.
The head of the UNESCO office in Sarajevo, Mr Sinisa Sesum, underlined the importance of defining basic standards for the purchase of ICT equipment: “The document which was drawn up and adopted by all educational authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina during a consultation process of several months is an important step forward. in the process of digitization of education, allowing a harmonization of the quality of ICT equipment that corresponds to the real needs at all levels of education. Thanks to the cooperation with Microsoft, all educational authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina now have the opportunity to purchase ICT equipment on very favorable terms and with significant savings, more equipment can be provided to the most marginalized students said Sesum.
The purchase of ICT equipment for this project is carried out through the Microsoft program “Shape the Future”. This initiative offers opportunities to supply ICT equipment for educational purposes at favorable prices, with a 95% discount on software.
Dr Rownak Khan, UNICEF Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina, underlined the importance of equal access to ICTs and the Internet for all children: “The lack of ICT equipment and Internet connection limits only children and young people to go online, but also prevents them from being competitive in modern technologies. economy. It isolates them from the rest of the world. When schools close, like those during the COVID-19 pandemic, it deprives them of learning. Frankly: lack of access to ICT equipment and the Internet can cost the next generation their future.
In the coming period, the purchased equipment is to be delivered to the education authorities of Republika Srpska, Una-Sana Canton and Western Herzegovina Canton, and distributed to the most marginalized students in primary and secondary schools and higher education institutions.
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