Support for digital education cost CZK 8.2 billion. In practice, it has had only limited effects. The COVID-19 pandemic has helped to accelerate the digitalisation in schools

Press release on audit No 22/02 – 13 February 2023

The SAO examined how the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports (MoEYS) and the National Pedagogical Institute of the Czech Republic (NPI) spent state and EU funds to support digital education between 2019 and 2021. The audit also focused on remote learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. The MoEYS spent a total of CZK 8.2 billion from the state budget and EU funds to support digital education. According to the findings of the SAO, these funds have not been spent entirely effectively, as in some cases the positive impact of the aid provided to the education system has not proven itself yet. The SAO selected four systemic projects for its audit, of which only two had an impact on the education system. The two other projects are expected to be launched in the year 2024.

The auditors confirmed that schools were not ready for remote learning and faced a lack of necessary information and communication technologies (ICT), in particular laptops or tablets, before the outbreak of the pandemic. The MoEYS did not have a sustainable system for financing ICT purchases for schools. Therefore, during the pandemic, the Ministry had to provide extraordinary one-off financial support from the state budget to primary schools and lower secondary schools which amounted to CZK 1.3 billion. In total, 4,100 schools received this type of aid – however only during the second wave of the pandemic, i.e. from September 2020 onwards. As a result, the number of portable ICT devices in schools increased by 91% in 2021 compared to 2018. Paradoxically, the pandemic has thus contributed to the development of digital education.

The SAO also found that neither the MoEYS nor the NPI had an overview of the level of digital competence of teachers in the Czech Republic. This overview is missing because the NPI failed to monitor and evaluate the data obtained from the application Profile Teacher21 (in Czech: Profil Učitel21). This application is voluntary and is set in such a way that the login users evaluate themselves. The SAO revealed that less than 2% of primary and secondary school teachers tested their digital competences in the 2021/2022 school year.

The NPI did not find a way to promote the use of digital learning materials in teaching. In digital education, working with digital learning materials such as worksheets, videos, audio demonstrations, animations, simulations, etc. forms a part of the key skills of teachers. These learning materials were available on the RVP.CZ Methodological Portal, which was managed by the NPI. However, the portal was not widely used by teachers. The SAO found that the portal contained a large number of educational materials which were not organised in a clear manner and therefore could not be considered user-friendly and attractive, which the NPI itself confirmed. For example, the catalogue of digital educational resources alone contained around 46,500 documents at the end of June 2022. However, 64% of these were never displayed by any user.

Would you like to learn more about teachers’ and parents’ experience with remote learning during the pandemic? For example, how many families had to purchase a new PC or laptop, how children coped with remote learning, or how useful hybrid teaching is in everyday life? Look at the results of the exclusive research carried out by the SAO. In total, 21,656 primary school educators (including headteachers) and 28,852 parents replied to the questionnaire. Click here for more information (only Czech):

Communication Department
Supreme Audit Office

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