26 Dec 2022

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Experts at CEE Edu Digital Summit: Digital transformation of education should be evolutionary, not revolutionary

Education is a delicate and complicated system of communicating vessels, which, by its very nature, is not favouring revolutionary changes, also when it comes to the implementation of new technologies. What is rather needed is a digital evolution in schools, said experts at the CEE Edu Digital Summit in Lublin, the first edition of the conference on the digitalisation of education. They agreed that systemic development of digital competences - both of students and teachers - is necessary from the point of view of the economy.

The CEE Edu Digital Summit is an event organised by the CEE Digital Coalition and the Digital Poland Association, which was held for the first time in Lublin and was dedicated to issues related to the digital transformation of education systems in Poland and the CEE region.

The importance of digital competences

During the opening debate of the event, Michal Kanownik, President of Digital Poland Association, emphasised the role of building digital competences. – Every school or university graduate is going to face the dilemmas regarding the choice of a career path. It is difficult to find a profession today that would not use the so-called skills of the future. And the requirements are set to grow – he pointed out. The President pointed out that an important element determining the development of young people's technological skills is the appropriate education of the very teachers who pass this knowledge on to them. - We need to prepare them for the technological revolution, teach them how to talk to pupils about the new technologies' purposes - he said.

Valeria Djukic, representative of the Bulgarian digital industry organisation Digital National Alliance and Anthill, agreed. In her opinion, today we still face the problem of schools not being able to provide adequate digital education that could help young people find their way in today's labour market.

This is a major concern because, as the representative of the Bulgarian Ministry of Education, Alexander Angelov, stressed, children and young people are interested in building digital competency skills, but often do not find the right and sufficient knowledge at school. At the same time there is still no "direct correlation" between the number of available technologies and the level of digital skills. - Such a correlation can only occur with the involvement of the education system – he assessed.

Gradual evolution of the education system

Panellists also discussed the issue of how fast digital change is being brought to education. In their opinion, digital reform in schools is needed, but introduced successively. – Educational systems do not like revolution, they prefer evolution. It is a very complex set of interconnected vessels. Parents, teachers, children - when we think of schools, they are the ones who most often come to mind. But it is also local governments, NGOs, etc. It's a whole constellation of participants of education – recalled Justyna Orlowska, Plenipotentiary of the Prime Minister for GovTech, Plenipotentiary of the Minister of Education and Science for Digital Transformation. According to her, "rapid, revolutionary changes would create tension in the system, but it would also cause distress among the participants". - Good reform simply takes longer – she stated.

Digitisation of education is a never-ending process

The panellists also agreed that the digital transformation of education is a process that, by its very nature, never ends, and that investment in new technologies and digital education should be permanent. At the same time, Michał Kanownik, emphasised that while digitising the education system, we should also bear in mind the overall level of digital transformation in other industries. In his opinion, "it is difficult to train young people without investing in digital start-ups". – When we talk about digital transformation in schools, we should not forget about the necessity of digital transformation of the whole country or even the region – Kanownik concluded.