The coronavirus pandemic’s impact on education has been enormous, with school and university closures affecting more than 90% of the global student population in 194 countries.
Governments had to react quickly and set up remote learning. Many adopted online learning programmes. Where that wasn’t possible, they turned to television, or even radio. But the crisis exposed the digital divide between and within countries. In doing so, it has made clear the global need for digital transformation of the education sector. The European Investment Bank is ready to support the transformation.
In Serbia, with the help of the Bank, all schools will go digital by 2021.
Digitalisation and education reform are the top two priorities for the Serbian government. And the European Investment Bank backed a €65 million loan to upgrade digital infrastructure and digital teaching materials, as well teacher training (with UNICEF support). Taking into account the importance of the project, the Bank is financing almost 60% of the total €111 million project cost.
“The COVID-19 pandemic and social restrictions imposed caused severe disruption in educational systems and processes. These unprecedented circumstances showed that better digital infrastructure improves the school’s efficiency in case of emergencies,” says Isabelle Stoffel, the senior EIB loan officer who worked on the deal. “Besides increasing the resilience to future crises, this investment will create conditions for youth employability, higher competitiveness and growth of innovation in the country.”