The outbreak of COVID-19 has exposed the weaknesses in the resilience of the education system in Serbia. Most children were able to continue their education either through distance learning or through blended learning, however, some children were left behind.
According to data from the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development, as many as 25% of children belonging to vulnerable groups (including Roma children and children with disabilities) that have not been able to participate in distance learning was due to the lack of appropriate equipment.
The objective of the Bridging Digital Divide in Serbia for the Most Vulnerable Children project is to strengthen the resilience of the education system to the effects of emergency situations, focusing on Roma children. The most vulnerable children will be provided with direct additional support in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. The intervention builds on previous achievements in the development of quality inclusive education and encompasses activities for further system strengthening at the national and school levels.
This will be achieved by supporting further development of an inclusive online learning system and strengthening the capacity of institutions for its delivery, management and monitoring. The activities include investments in the technical capacities of the national distance learning platform, creation of a digital resource bank and nationwide usage of learning management systems. At the school level, digital equipment will be provided to selected schools and Education Digital Libraries will be established.
The intervention also aims to raise the capacities of both teachers and pedagogical assistants so that the most vulnerable children in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic can be provided with additional support that includes quality digital learning, psychosocial support, as well as diverse learning support modalities (such as learning clubs).