The project coordinating body is the Croatian Academic and Research Network - CARNet. The competent body authorized for CARNet is the Ministry of Science, Education and Sports, which answers to the Government of the Republic of Croatia.
The full name of the project is “e-Schools: Establishing a System for Developing Digitally Mature Schools (pilot project)”. The abbreviated name of the project is the ‘e-Schools pilot project’.
The e-Schools project is part of a wider e-schools programme, and it is important to differentiate these two.
The e-Schools programme is carried out through several projects aimed at introducing ICT into the school system in the 2015-2022 period. The e-Schools programme consists of the pilot project, which will be implemented in the 2015-2018 period and the major project, which will be implemented in the 2019-2022 period based on the results of the pilot project.
The full name of the entire programme is “e-Schools: a comprehensive informatization of school operation processes and teaching processes aimed at the creation of digitally mature schools for the 21st century”.
In digitally mature schools, the appropriate use of information and communications technologies (ICT) contributes to the following:
an efficient and transparent management of the school (direct objective);
the development of digitally competent teachers prepared for the application of innovations in their own pedagogical practices (direct objective) and;
the development of digitally competent students, who are prepared for a continuation of their schooling and competitive on the labour market. (indirect objective).
The overall objective of the e-schools programme is to contribute to the capacity building of the primary-school and secondary-school educational system in order to allow students to be prepared for the labour market, further education and lifelong learning.
The purpose of the e-Schools pilot project is to establish a system for the development of digitally mature schools through the pilot project and the evaluation of the application of ICT (information and communications technologies) in the educational and operational processes of 10% of schools in the Republic of Croatia.
The specific objective of the e-Schools pilot project is to pilot organizational, technological and educational concepts of introducing ICT in the educational and operational processes in selected schools during two school years and to develop, based on the experience of the pilot project, a strategy for the implementation of a system of digitally mature schools in the entire primary and secondary education system in the Republic of Croatia, that is for the application in the major project (2019-2022).
Experiences on similar European projects for the informatization of operational and teaching processes show that a coordinated implementation is indispensable, regarding both infrastructure and education, with an awareness that the foundation of education is the teacher, and the primary focus the student. It is, therefore, crucial that the support and training of teachers and the school staff precede all other activities of the project, and then run simultaneously with, and finally outlives all the other activities that are part of the project. Without strengthened teachers and the school staff, who are capable and prepared for new technologies, services and teaching approaches, the infrastructure will remain unused, and the services and content developed within the project discarded.
Both stages of the project are financed mostly (85%) from Structural Funds of the European Union. Considering the specificity of the project objectives, its implementation has been separated into two strategic projects, which are financed and carried out through two different operational programmes:
Project A: financed from the Operational Programme Competitiveness and Cohesion (OPCC), European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)
Project B: financed from the Operational Programme Efficient Human Resources (OPEHR), European Social Fund (ESF)
The total value of the pilot project is HRK 306,853,186, of which HRK 193,690,148 is financed from the European Regional Development Fund (EFRR) HRK 67,135,059 from the European Social Fund (ESF) and HRK 46,027,977 from national resources.
The pilot project will be carried out from 1 March 2015 to 31 August 2018.