DIGITAL PREPAREDNESS OF THE EDUCATIONAL SYSTEMS IN FIVE CEE COUNTRIES

N. Begicevic Redjep

Faculty of Organization and Informatics (CROATIA)
This paper is focused on the assessment of digital preparedness of the educational systems in five Central-Eastern European (CEE) countries: Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, Serbia and Romania. The analysis of policies, programmes and school evaluation reports were done as well as analysis and interpretation of various statistical data sets, relevant documents and statements issued by the government, agencies or stakeholder organizations. Based on the results of digital preparedness of schools and governance systems in the CEE countries, conditions and possibilities for digital transformation of educational system in the CEE countries are analyzed and presented in this paper.

If we are comparing CEE countries to the European average based on the share of digitally equipped and connected schools, there are less highly digitally equipped and connected schools at all levels. Before any investments in improving the ability of schools, main conditions must be ensured. Most of the CEE countries are planning to use systematic approach in equipping the schools by using European Social Funds (ESF) and European Investment Bank (EIB) loans. After ensuring the main conditions, the next phase for schools is a reconstruction process with big emphasis on the consolidation of the processes in school enabling them to adapt digital technologies and improve the quality of teaching and learning. This process must be based on the know-how approach and professional expertise. The school must be able to absorb external resources and professional support. To reach this objective, it is necessary to use systematic approach and create governance environment for supporting schools in this process.

Digital transformation of educational system is a systematic and continuous approach based on the framework with a clear roadmap involving a variety of stakeholders with their strong support. From an organisational point of view, digital transformation can be seen as a deep and accelerating transformation with regard to processes, activities, competences and models. It allows organisations to take advantage of the changes and opportunities offered by digital technologies.

How to integrate digital technologies in a decisive way is one of the main challenges for educational system. Digital transformation brings a new digital technologies, methodologies and mindsets of the stakeholders. The main prerequisites for the digital transformation of educational systems are strong leadership and strategic planning of digital technologies integration.

Digital transformation must be a systemic approach planned and implemented at the level of educational institution in accordance with support from national level.

The process of digital transformation of educational institutions is progressing at different speeds and with different aims and outcomes and it is a need for using framework for digital maturity to foster the integration and effective use of digital technologies by educational organizations. In this paper the various reference frameworks for digital learning outcomes and for the digital preparedness of schools and teachers as well as contextual relevance of international frameworks in the CEE countries will be analyzed and systematic - strategic approach will be suggested.