15. 12. 2023.

Success of the Digital Pupil in figures: the pilot year of the national project exceeded all expectations – helped tens of thousands of Slovak pupils

The national project ‘Digital contribution for pupils in the Slovak Republic’ (Digital pupil), under which primary and secondary school pupils could receive a EUR 350-grant for the purchase of a new digital device, is at its end. In less than a year since its launch, it has exceeded all expectations and recorded more than 164 thousand unique registrations of pupils and their legal representatives from all over Slovakia. The pilot year of the national project involved thousands of schools, teachers, school digital coordinators and fieldworkers across Slovakia. More than 130 thousand pupils, thanks to the digital pupil at home, have their new, digital, educational and digital skills development equipment.

The pilot year of the national project was officially launched on 28 February this year under the auspices of the Ministry of Investment, Regional Development and Informatisation of the Slovak Republic (MIRRI SR), in cooperation with the Digital Coalition (DK). It allowed primary and secondary school pupils to receive a contribution to buy a new computer or tablet with a keyboard. The aim of the project was to level the starter lines and increase the availability of digital devices among pupils, regardless of their socio-economic background. Almost immediately after the launch, thousands of new registrations and applications for contributions arrived daily. DK had more than 164 thousand unique registrations during the duration of the project, of which as many as 91 thousand applications for pupils came from socially disadvantaged backgrounds. “Our aim was to provide targeted assistance to families with schoolchildren, I am happy to say that we have managed to do so. In cooperation with the Ministry of Investment, we verified the data of each registered pupil in the different national registers. Over the duration of the project, we carried out more than half a million verification actions for individual registrations, totalling more than 130 thousand Slovak pupils, which is an excellent result,” said President DK, Mário Lelovský. “The Digital pupil project had its merits and I want to thank the Digital Coalitions for its implementation,” said Richard Raši, Minister for Investment, Regional Development and Informatisation. He also added that the project had a good idea, but the former Ministry’s leadership had not set it ideally. If we find financial resources and continue the project for the future, we will have to avoid mistakes that the former leadership did not think of. Raši added that the new government plans to distribute web vouchers in its programme statement and it is likely that parts of the target group of the Digital Student project will also help. 

Thousands of primary and secondary schools, 7 thousand teachers and school digital coordinators, hundreds of community centres and fieldworkers across Slovakia were actively involved in the implementation of the Digital pupil project. “The Digital pupil project also allowed access to your own digital technology for Slovak primary school pupils, who would not be allowed to do so by the home environment. The target group included pupils whose technical equipment opened the door to virtual learning, tutoring, finding answers,” notes Eva Horníková, President of the Association of Primary Schools of Slovakia, on the project. Digital vendors also played a non-negligible role within the Digital Pupil, where families were able to claim their contributions. In total, more than 550 sites and 5500 sellers across the country were involved. “When applying the allowance, sellers with pupils and their legal representatives spent more than 100 thousand hours. Similarly, our call centre, where the phone was constantly beautiful. Overall, we managed to deal with more than one hundred thousand different requirements,” explains Lelovský. Thus, even thanks to the effective cooperation of all parties, the Digital Pupil has so far been the only project of its kind which, under Slovak conditions, has delivered targeted aid directly to the individual pupils by means of a vouchard scheme. 

The enormous interest from pupils and families has shown that investment in equipping students with digital technology is essential and serves to improve children’s digital skills. These are key to quality education and subsequent labour market uptake in the 21st century. However, during the lifetime of the project, there were also several individual cases in which equipment purchased with the help of a contribution from legal representatives was sold back-up. We have fewer than twenty such cases. We continue to work actively with the police, where we provide synergies in identifying equipment and beneficiaries,” the Chair of DK continues. At the same time, the Digital Coalition calls for continuing to systematically equip pupils with the necessary techniques, along the lines of European Union (EU) countries such as Poland, Austria and Finland. “The digital pupil is a unique project that confirmed that we are able to handle European resources efficiently and systemically in Slovakia. Let’s make this national project a “owner” and a positive example of how to move in this area. Equipping pupils with digital technology is just starting the process – how our country faces other challenges in this area, such as lack of internet coverage or high costs for low-income households, will be crucial. Activities and projects that will build on the Digital Pupil and ensure the further development of the digital ecosystem in our country are key, as well as the development of pupils’ digital skills, including cybersecurity or working with office tools, which will be available on the project website ,” added by President DK, Mário Lelovský. 

The Digital Pupil project is co-financed by EU resources and was implemented by the National Coalition for Digital Skills and Occupations of the Slovak Republic under the aegis of the MIRRI SR. The cooperating organisations that supported the Digital Pupil project include SK8 self-governing regions, the Association of Primary Schools of Slovakia, the Association of Secondary Vocational Schools, the Association of Schools and Associations, the Institute of Mental Work, the Alliance of Secondary Schools and the Slovak Government Plenipotentiary for Roma Communities. All necessary information can be found on the official project website

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