229 laptops delivered for the most marginalized students in the framework of the „Reimagining Education in BiH“ project
26 April 2022
Minister of Civil Affairs of BiH, Mrs Ankica Gudeljevic received today 229 laptops, purchased by UNICEF and UNESCO in BiH within the „Reimagining Education for the Marginalized Girls and Boys during and post COVID-19 in Bosnia and Herzegovina“ project.
Representatives of the United Nations in BiH, led by the UN in BiH Resident Coordinator, dr. Ingrid Macdonald, UNICEF Representative in BiH, dr. Rownak Khan and Head of UNESCO Antenna in Sarajevo, Mr Sinisa Sesum, handed over laptops purchased for primary and secondary schools, as well as for higher education institutions from Una-sana Canton, West-Herzegovina Canton and Republika Srpska.
According to data collected by UNICEF and UNESCO in 2020, approximately 4,700 primary and secondary students did not have access to e-learning due to the lack of ICT equipment and Internet connection.
Minister Gudeljevic thanked the UN representatives for continued cooperation and engagement in ensuring equal access to education for all students, particularly the most marginalized: „It is obvious that in BiH we are facing great challenges, especially when it comes to the learning outcomes, which are lower that in the EU countries, with the quality education, which is to be enhanced together with the conditions of the realization of the educational processes. These challenges were even more flagrant during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, both in Bosnia and Herzegovina and many other countries all over the world. Educational systems had to respond quickly and shift overnight from in person and traditional to hybrid education.“
She also added: „as we summarize the project’s results, we can say that the main goal of the project has been achieved, with responding to the challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and incurred learning losses through a gender-sensitive approach, and encouraging both parents and students not to give up on learning.“
Lack of accessibility to education can provoke significant learning losses and deepen educational and socio-economic gap in the longer run.
The UN Resident Coordinator in BiH, dr. Ingrid Macdonald said that: „the United Nations in BiH is committed to supporting the authorities, teachers, parents and students with the latest global educational innovations and closing the digital divide. Our goal is that no child will be left behind in accessing education in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Together with our partners, I am proud that the United Nations Secretary General’s COVID-19 recovery fund supported UNICEF, UNESCO, ILO and UNV’s efforts to create a stable foundation for transformation of the education sector with the Reimagining Education initiative.“
Head of UNESCO Antenna in Sarajevo, Mr Sinisa Sesum emphasized the importance of defining basic standards for the purchase of ICT equipment: „Document which was developed and adopted by all educational authorities in BiH throughout several-month-long consultations process is an important step forward in the process of the digitalization of education, enabling harmonization of quality of ICT equipment which corresponds to the real needs at all educational levels. Through the cooperation with Microsoft, all educational authorities in BiH from now on have the opportunity to purchase ICT equipment under very favorable conditions and by benefiting from significant savings, more equipment can be provided to the most marginalized students“, said Sesum.
Purchase of the ICT equipment within this project is realized through Microsoft „Shape the Future“ programme. This initiative provides opportunities for provision of ICT equipment for educational purposes per favorable prices, with 95% software discount.
Dr. Rownak Khan, UNICEF Representative in BiH pointed out the importance of equal access to ICT and Internet for all children: „Lack of ICT equipment and Internet connection not only limits children and youth to connect online, it also disables them to compete in modern economy. It isolates them from the rest of the world. In case of school closures, like those during the COVID-19 pandemic, it deprives them of learning. Openly speaking: lack of access to ICT equipment and Internet can cost the next generation of their future.”
In the upcoming period, the purchased equipment is to be delivered to the educational authorities in Republika Srpska, Una-Sana Canton and West-Herzegovina Canton, and distributed to the most marginalized students from primary and secondary schools and higher education institutions.