SAO: Support for digital education has limited effects, it cost CZK 8.2 billion

SAO: Support for digital education has limited effects, it cost CZK 8.2 billion

NKÚ: Support for digital education is limited; impacts, cost 8.2 billion CZK

Computer keyboard. Illustrative photo.

Prague – The Ministry of Education (MŠMT) spent 8.2 billion crowns from the state budget and European funds to support digital education between 2019 and 2021, but in practice the support has so far only had limited effects. The Supreme Audit Office (NAO) stated this in a press release today. According to the controllers, only the covid-19 pandemic significantly helped the development of digitization in schools. ČTK is investigating the reaction of the Ministry of Education.

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The Supreme Audit Office selected four system projects for inspection, according to it, only two had an impact on the education system, and the use of the other two is not to begin until 2024.

The inspectors also confirmed that the schools were not prepared for a distance form of education and, before the outbreak of the pandemic, faced a lack of the necessary information and communication technologies (ICT), especially laptops and tablets. “The MoES did not have a sustainable system for financing ICT purchases for schools. Therefore, during the pandemic, it had to provide extraordinary one-off financial support of CZK 1.3 billion from the state budget to elementary schools and lower levels of grammar schools,” the SAO said. 4,100 schools received it, according to the controllers, thanks to this, the number of portable ICT devices in schools increased by 91 percent in 2021 compared to 2018. The period of the pandemic thus paradoxically contributed to the development of digital education, they noted.

The National Audit Office also found that the Ministry of Education and Culture and the National Pedagogical Institute of the Czech Republic (NPI) did not have an overview of the level of digital competences of teachers in the Czech Republic. According to the auditors, this overview is missing because the NPI did not monitor and evaluate the data obtained from the application Profil Učitel21. The application is voluntary and is set up so that the logged-in user evaluates himself. The SAO revealed that less than two percent of primary and secondary school teachers tested their digital competence in the 2021/2022 school year.

According to the SAO, the Pedagogical Institute also did not find a way to support the use of digital learning materials in teaching, for example work sheets, videos, audio samples or animations. “These teaching materials were available on the Methodical Portal RVP.CZ, which was managed by NPI. However, teachers did not use the portal much,” said the SAO. According to him, the portal contains a large number of confusingly arranged educational materials, and therefore it cannot be considered user-friendly and attractive.