The draft act on supporting the development of digital competences of students and teachers provides for the possibility of providing public school teachers with vouchers worth PLN 2.5 thousand for the purchase of a computer, said the Minister of Digitization Janusz Cieszyński on Friday in Wrocław. He also announced that the program of laptops for students and teachers will permanently enter the landscape of Polish education.
At Friday’s press conference in Wrocław, the Minister of Digitization Janusz Cieszyński and the chairman of the Education, Science and Youth Committee Mirosława Stachowiak-Różecka presented the assumptions of the act on supporting the development of digital competences of students and teachers.
Cieszyński informed that this week the result of the first round of the tender for the supply of laptops for fourth graders was announced. – 14 companies submitted bids to conclude a framework contract. (…) We are glad that the most advantageous offer in terms of price is within our budget. This is the offer of a Polish, well-known company that has been conducting such activity for many years – he said.
Pursuant to the provisions of the Act, laptops will be provided to all fourth grade students in Poland from public and private schools. It’s going to be a general program. The act will guarantee that in the following years every student who goes to the fourth grade will have a guarantee that he will receive such equipment. We want this program to permanently enter Polish schools, he announced.
He noted that each fourth-grader will receive the equipment and it will be subject to a 5-year ban on sale.
Coupons for teachers. “They have different needs and the law gives them a choice”
The Act also provides for the possibility of providing public school teachers with vouchers worth PLN 2.5 thousand. PLN for the purchase of a computer, which will be granted once every 5 years. As the minister explained, teachers will be able to purchase any equipment that meets the requirements described in the regulation of the Minister of Education and Science. – In the case of students, we focused on a uniform standard for everyone in the class, but teachers have different needs and the act gives them the opportunity to choose the equipment that will be best for them at work. We allow both traditional portable computers and cloud-based equipment – said Cieszyński.
Due to the availability of equipment, vouchers will be awarded in rounds, and the qualification criteria in subsequent hands will be determined Ministry of Education and Science. The first batch will go to teachers who will conduct classes for fourth grade students. The body running the school or institution will be able to apply for a voucher for an authorized teacher via a platform that will be made available by the Ministry of Digitization.
The teacher will be able to redeem the voucher in any electronics store that joins the program. – Importantly, if someone decides that it is worth paying an extra amount of money for equipment that suits them better, such a possibility, as in the case of the program with set-top boxes, will be available – added Cieszyński.
The first batches of laptops for both teachers and students will be financed through pre-financing from the National Recovery Plan. – These are funds that are due to Poland, but thanks to the fact that the Polish Development Fund has provided a pre-financing mechanism, we can use these funds even before European Commission will unlock the amounts due to Poland. Further purchases will be financed from the state budget. This is a program that will permanently enter the landscape of Polish education and for which funds will also be available in the coming years, he assured.
He added that the purchase of equipment is about one percent of the budget that Poland allocates to education every year. – Of course, this is a lot of money, but in the scale of the entire system, these are not funds that determine its future. In our opinion, the possibility of using digital technologies is something that may determine whether young people in Poland will be able to enter the labor market and achieve successes there according to their abilities, emphasized the minister.
Stachowiak-Różecka: The pandemic has taught us that new technologies are very much needed
MP Mirosława Stachowiak-Różecka said that the project was a “deputy’s project”. – And we’re still working on it. This is the time, for the next few days and weeks, for us all to look at it – she declared.
As she pointed out, the ways and methods of teaching are changing and today, without new technologies, teaching children and working with them is no longer possible. – The pandemic also taught us that new technologies are very much needed, it revealed to teachers that it is worth using these tools and working with students using a computer or laptop – she added.
Main photo source: TVN24