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EIB Continues To Support Digital Transition In Serbia

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The European Investment Bank (EIB) signed a €1.2 million grant for supporting the successful implementation of the Connected Schools programme in Serbia. This project will enable the Project Implementation Unit to develop necessary practices, knowledge and skills within the ministries and among pupils, teachers and education administration to reach good quality results and bring maximum benefit to the project. This funding compliments the €65 million EIB loan signed in 2020 for improving digital capacities and skills in over 1500 schools in Serbia.

The project enables first-hand training in digital areas for teachers and pupils across Serbia, at the same creating conditions for the digital transition and the Serbian economy. It is also aligned with the Digital Agenda for the Western Balkans to ensure all sectors benefit from digital opportunities, contributing to a sustainable, climate-neutral and resource-efficient economy, and better governance and public services for the citizens. This investment is part of the EIB’s Economic Resilience Initiative (ERI), aiming to intensify support for the Western Balkans to boost economic growth, vital infrastructure and social cohesion.

Vice-President Lilyana Pavlova, responsible for the EIB’s activities in Serbia, said: “In the light of digital revolution that is changing the global economies, we are glad to be able to accelerate this process in the Western Balkans and help the region take a head start in a new digital era. Digitalization is key for employment, long-term stability and increased resilience to crisis. Every investment in this sector creates numerous benefits to development of connected, competitive, knowledge-based, sustainable, innovation oriented and thriving economies in the region. By ensuring implementation of best practices and maximum utilisations of EIB funds previously allocated in Connect Schools project, we are supporting generations of pupils in gaining necessary digital skills and competences, which are going to change the future economic landscape of the country.”

Tatjana Matić, Minister of Trade, Tourism and Telecommunications in the Government of Serbia stated: “The Ministry of Trade, Tourism and Telecommunications actively works on the development of infrastructure that needs to address a digital gap between urban and rural areas in our country. Within the project ”Connected schools”, wireless local internet network has been installed in 930 schools already. We expect to cover over 1800 schools in the course of project implementation, which will create conditions for systematic digitalisation of education system in Serbia. Digital skills are important not only for daily communication and personal growth of each Serbian citizen, but for the progress of digital businesses, entrepreneurship and overall economic growth, ensuring that everybody receives equal opportunities to benefit from new possibilities of a digital era. EIB donation for the project ”Connected schools” is going to enable teachers to provide even more effective results on the ground, and our children to obtain competencies that will allow them the same choices as their peers have in developed digital economies.”

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Emanuele Giaufret, Head of the EU Delegation to Serbia, said: “This project will further help to ensure that school kids can fully reap the benefits of the fast-paced digital transformation. Our commitment and Serbia’s commitment to the Digital Agenda overall – not only in the context of this project – will ensure that citizens have the skills to match the demands of the new economy and will help modernise public administrations, strengthen cybersecurity and increase connectivity. It is great that we can address all this already at the stage of school children’s age. It is good to be connected.”

In 2020, the EIB Group invested €125 million for improving digital capacities in Serbian schools and among small and medium companies. For more information about Connected school project, please visit the following link: www.eib.org/en/stories/serbia-digital-education.

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