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Program “Laptop for a Student” suspended. Accusations from the prosecutor’s office in the background

EDUCATIONProgram "Laptop for a Student" suspended. Accusations from the prosecutor's office in the background

The government’s plans to suspend the “Laptop for Student” and “Laptop for Teacher” programs, which aimed to support the development of digital skills, are a symptomatic conclusion of the unimplemented initiative of the PiS government in Poland. Minister of Digitization Krzysztof Gawkowski reported the possibility of a crime being committed in the tender for the equipment purchase within the program to the District Prosecutor’s Office in Warsaw.

Yet Another Poorly Prepared Project

The purpose of last week’s meeting of the Digitalization, Innovation and Modern Technology and Education, Science and Youth Committees was, among other things, to present the substantive grounds for the implementation of the “Laptop for Student” and “Laptop for Teacher” programs. It was also meant to analyze the choice of equipment and the expected impact on educational outcomes.

Unfortunately, the meeting lacked substantive conclusions and was dominated by political quarrel. From the reports of the Deputy Ministers of the Ministry of National Education and Digitalization, a dismal picture of the scale of inappropriate preparation of the entire program emerged from a strategic, organizational, and educational perspective.

The authors and implementers of the project have been criticized for: pre-election distribution and the social character of the program, which in theory was supposed to strengthen digital education.

The suspension of the program announced by the new government due to the lack of consent of the European Commission to finance the project marks the end of this initiative.

“There are many indications that the ‘Laptop for a Student’ program was just a pre-election program of the previous government team. Mistakes should be corrected. Bad administrative decisions of officials will probably end up in court. However, we cannot afford to throw out the baby with the bathwater (student with laptop). The character of the program, so far actually only social, should be urgently and reasonably modified or even created anew,” says Wojciech Płażalski, BCC expert for telecommunications and digital development.

“I hope that the modified ‘Digital Student’ program will prove to be a necessary, rational and thoughtful project that will receive support from EU funding, and at the same time will actually work to improve Poland’s embarrassment statistics in achieving the goals of the ‘Digital Decade of the EU’ in terms of education,” summarizes the BCC expert.

In the opinion of BCC experts, Minister Gawkowski’s announcement of plans to implement digital hygiene matters into the curriculum for grades 1-3 should be rated positively.

“We cannot allow the youngest generations to use new technologies reflexively and consequently harmfully. I hope that specialists, not just uncritical enthusiasts of AI and new technologies, will be engaged to work on the practical dimension of future lessons for the youngest students,” concludes Wojciech Płażalski.

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