Most consider digitalization to be a top priority for the further development of Czech society. Recent months have highlighted the importance of our digital transformation, putting it at the forefront of the public interest. After switching on to a distance learning education system, schools at all levels began to seek innovative and effective solutions leveraging online teaching. However, experts warn that digitization often takes place spontaneously and that a so-called digital divide is emerging, resulting in deepening inequalities in access to quality education.
As noted by Zdeněk Bakala, when cementing the partnership between the Bakala Foundation and the non-profit organization Česko.Digital: “This current unprecedented situation can be perceived as an obstacle or as a catalyst. We should not waste resources on rebuilding society as we know it from the past, but rather invest in its transformation for the future. Digitalization is undoubtedly a key path to restarting the Czech economy and society and bring them to a more advanced level.”
As part of the partnership, the Bakala Foundation has donated 4 million CZK for the development of Česko.Digital and for the support of two key projects. “Učíme online” (Teaching online) is a systematic project focused on the digitalization of Czech education and “Střecha duševního zdraví” (Roof over mental health) is a gradually moving project dedicated to children’s mental health.
“It would be a mistake to think that with the current return of children to school, digitalization is no longer a major issue. Digitalizing – it’s not just online teaching. We still have a long way to the effective use of digital tools at all levels of the Czech education system,” explains Václav Pecha, director of the Bakala Foundation, adding: “The topic of our youth’s mental health also deserves maximum attention.”
Česko.Digital is a community of expert volunteers that helps non-profit organizations, local governments, and the state with digital projects. The “Teaching online” project, connecting over 8,000 teachers, has helped more than 600 online technology schools, as well as needy families, schools, and children’s homes with over 2,000 computers. The second supported project, the Roof over mental health focuses on older pupils in the 2nd grade of primary school. The program provides children with information on prevention and early help in handling mental discomfort or difficult life situations with digital tools.
“In 2021, we want to offer an extension of online education to all types of schools and focus on the long-term use of established technologies. We also want to help raise the current level of digital competence. Our next goal is to use the acquired system and know-how to anchor the structure of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, and other programs of the Czech educational system,” says Eva Pavlíková, CEO of Česko.Digital. “The partnership with the Bakala Foundation will help us to develop the full potential of Česko.Digital, our expert volunteer community work, and implement and achieve the goals of both projects,” adds Pavlíková.