People have forsaken the handshakes and hugs that enrich daily interactions to prevent the spread of the pandemic. Similarly, for months, groups of children with backpacks and chatter did not troop into schools of Kosovo. With school doors remaining closed, a magnified demand for remote learning was noticed. As a result, new platforms and software began to be used alongside traditional teaching methods, confirming the potential of digital learning.
While many argue that school closures have caused damage that extra lessons cannot fix, the switch to digital education made it possible for kids to catch up and bridge the learning gaps created by lockdowns. As with almost everything else, the closure forced on the world by the covid-19 pandemic put pressure on schools to embrace innovation.
This was the case with “Hello Academy of Education” – a primary school in Gjilan. This school operates since 2017 and currently provides teaching services to 540 students, namely kindergartens (children 2-5 years old), preschoolers (children aged 5-6 years old), and primary school students 1-9.
The assistance that this school needed most – facilitation of digital transformation – during the pandemic came through the Digital Empowerment Initiative (DEI). The DEI mechanism enabled Hello Academy to receive subsidized automation and optimization services. As a result, the traditional forms of teaching are now long gone for this school, and Hello Academy ascertains that today’s children are “growing up in the digital era.”
“Through this grant, we improved our website and the e-learning platform, giving parents a deeper look into their children’s performance in the classroom. This platform enabled teachers to manage their students’ accounts, submit assignments, and publish all their lecture programs online” says enthusiastically the principal of this school, Mrs. Hysnije Ismaili. “Through the services received via DEI, we also introduced the electronic payment method, improving accountability and transparency, but also overcoming many financial management hurdles we faced before. More importantly, our students and teachers have now embraced a paperless culture, as all assignments are no longer printed, but rather submitted electronically” adds Mrs. Ismaili.
According to the school principal, parents appear to have appreciated the ability of the school to meet children’s and parents’ needs by keeping up with technological advancements taking place in the education system. The new features of the platform and website seem to have improved the school’s overall image, as portrayed by the increase in the number of student applications.
“Following the improvement in our digital presence, we have encountered a pronounced increase in the number of students, welcoming 120 new students. This also conditioned the increase in the number of teachers. The number of employees in our school increased from 48 to 80 this year” – maintains proudly Mrs. Ismaili.
DEI is a mechanism funded by KIESA, which supports the digital transformation of Kosovar businesses. The implementation of the DEI is supported by the ACCESS program, which is funded by the Austrian Development Cooperation (ADC).