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30 November, 2022
 
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Embracing the digital age through the 'smart school' program

The new system is expected to improve school management and the daily administrative needs of parents, teachers and students

Opinion

Opinion

by Yannis A. Economides

Our educational system, the Ministry of Education, and the State are making an important and historic transition to the digital era with the signing of the €20 million Contract for the "Support Services System" Project on September 6, 2022. Neofytos Papadopoulos, Director General of the Ministry of Education, Sports, and Youth (MESY), and Andreas Dermosoniadis, Managing Director of Contractor Company NewcyTech Business Solutions Ltd. both signed the contract on behalf of their respective organizations.

This project will significantly improve the functioning of public schools. It will improve the day-to-day operations of the school.

The Contract provides for the development, installation, maintenance, and operation of an integrated Computerized System of Digital Transformation through which school unit management will be improved, teachers, parents/guardians, and students will be supported in their daily administrative needs, and the competent Services of the Ministry of Education, Sports, and Youth will actively assist in the daily management of all issues (MPEY). The Project entails the creation and distribution of advanced equipment and logistics.

The primary goal is for parents/guardians, students, and teachers to be able to carry out all of their daily activities and statutory procedures related to their school unit, as well as interact with one another using any "smart" device they may have (mobile phone, tablet or any type of computer). With the implementation of this Computerization System, all stakeholders will have direct access to school operations and information from the Ministry of Education Directorates, allowing them to be served quickly and find solutions to their problems. Simultaneously, using the System will significantly reduce bureaucracy and inconvenience for citizens, as well as achieve greater efficiency of the Ministry's services and better coordination of the Ministry with other government services.

Specifically, the project includes the following:

- The computerization of various Special Education procedures, such as staffing and management of school units, State Institutes of Further Education, National Examinations, electronic registration of students, and electronic payments to Parents' Associations, in order to process them without delays or errors.
- Ensuring data security and ongoing information updates.
- Standardization of all Ministry of Education and Culture internal administrative procedures in order to reduce processing time and administrative costs.
- To provide everyone with integrated electronic services.
- Improving the services offered by the CFCA.
- Improving cooperation and coordination between the Ministry of National Economy and other government departments, while ensuring effective information exchange between the services and institutions involved.

This is one of the most significant digital transformation contracts ever signed by the Republic of Cyprus. The project is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and national funds.

This project will significantly improve the functioning of public schools. It will improve the day-to-day operations of the school. Our schools are finally and coherently moving into the age of full digital organization thanks to this project.

The Project, which began in September 2022, will produce its first practical results at the end of the 2022-2023 school year, with the first deliverables due in July 2023. While it will take 30 months to be completed by March 2025.


This investment in e-technology is part of the strategy for Digital Transformation and Modernization of the State at the Service of Citizens. A modern, technologically advanced school. A school that is always accessible and user-friendly, as well as more open to the community.

Parents and guardians will be able to interact with teachers, the school administration, and other key parties through the same electronic system. Additionally, you will be able to interact with the Parents' Association and process payments for the kids' educational expenses.

For their part, all students will have access to any information they require at any time and at their leisure, whether it is about the Timetable or, more broadly, about all School Activities, excursions and visits, group activities, competitions, events, or games, and so on. They will also be able to receive information about the scheduling of assessments that are relevant to them, their performance, or their Individual File. As well as for all School Community announcements in general. Students will be able to communicate directly with classmates, their teacher(s), or the administration in addition to obtaining useful information. However, by submitting requests, you can also communicate with the rest of the School Community.  One realizes how much procrastination and unnecessary procedures will be avoided, procedures will be facilitated and simplified, the necessary information will be accessible to everyone at all times, and relationships and efficiency will be improved.

Similarly, the possibilities provided by the electronic organization system will be extremely beneficial to the more than 13 thousand teachers, who will find their daily lives greatly facilitated and will be able to maintain constant communication with one another, as well as with their students, parents, management, and Ministry services.

Teachers will also be kept up to date on the Timetable and all school-related activities. You can get information about Student Assessments at any time. In addition to their own issues, the Teacher Information Sheet and the Teacher Register, as well as any evaluation procedures, leave and substitution procedures, and training programs and procedures, will be accessible. They will have continuous access to the Guidelines and will be able to communicate with inspectors or District Officers, as well as have better coordination capabilities within their Specialty.

Additionally, school boards, the Educational Service Commission, educational organizations, as well as other government agencies, have the chance to continuously access and communicate with the system.

The National Recovery and Resilience Plan's "Cyprus to Tomorrow," which will provide 6,600 digital classrooms in all schools, will transform education by opening up new, fantastic pedagogical possibilities in the classroom, and this e-Government reform is added to that project. Together, they make up the other significant project currently underway.

 

Yannis A. Economides is a Political scientist and educator

 

[This article was translated from its Greek original]

TAGS
Cyprus  |  schools  |  education

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