A press conference on the launch of Mobile Future Labs was held at Elementary School No. 58 in Lublin. Przemysław Czarnek, Minister of Education and Science and Justyna Orłowska, Plenipotentiary of the Minister of Education and Science for Digital Transformation and Head of GovTech Poland presented the premises of the project. The ministers also participated in a workshop on digital education for students and teachers, led by experts from the Educational Research Institute.
The acceleration of the digital transformation is one of the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, changes in the adaptation of new technologies have been taking place not only in the business sector, but also in education. The modernisation of Polish schools is occurring at a pace never seen before.
“At a cost of one billion zlotys, 99% of primary schools have been equipped with modern educational-technological equipment. This is a key element of the wide-ranging digital transformation of Polish schools, the budget of which confirms the importance the government attaches to this area,” said Minister Przemysław Czarnek during the inauguration of Mobile Future Labs.
Emphasising the importance of the education sector, the head of the Ministry of Education and Science also pointed to investments in educational infrastructure as part of the Polish Deal [Polski Ład].
“This is an amount of more than 5 billion zlotys, while the computerisation of Polish schools alone is another several hundred million zlotys invested,” the minister stated.
Thanks to these measures, all Polish schools are connected to high-speed Internet, something that children in other European schools do not have.
Future Labs are a place to develop talents
Future Labs is Poland's largest educational and technological project. Thanks to this unique – not only nationally, but also internationally – investment in education, elementary schools and general schools of the arts have been supplied with modern equipment. 3D printers, VR headsets and microcontrollers are already allowing students to develop the competencies of the future, implement their own projects and hone skills useful in the modern job market.
They are based on STEAM fields (the acronym for science, technology, engineering, art, mathematics). The project aims to equalise educational opportunities for students across the country and provide them with the ability to enter the technology-saturated world with appropriate competencies. This aim will be possible to achieve by providing widespread access to modern technologies and supporting teachers in learning to use them by, among other things, conducting demonstration lessons in schools.
“Launching the Future Labs programme will result in equipping 99% of local government elementary schools in Poland with modern equipment worth one billion PLN and creating the opportunity for students to develop tomorrow's competencies. As of September 1, nearly 12,000 schools already have state-of-the-art Future Labs with 3D printers, VR headsets, robots, microcontrollers, modern recording studios and technical equipment of various kinds, which will enable teachers to help students discover their talents. This will allow Polish youth to be better prepared for the challenges of the future, especially those relating to the labour market as well as to be ready to work in the professions of the future, including those that experts say don't even exist yet," added Justyna Orłowska, Plenipotentiary of the Minister of Education and Science for Digital Transformation and Head of GovTech Poland.
The Future Labs project is still accepting applications for funding from primary schools not funded by local governments, and there are also plans to expand the programme to include secondary schools. At the same time, teams of Mobile Future Labs are already heading to local government-funded elementary schools to support the process of using modern educational solutions in each region. Details and applications for Mobile Future Labs can be found at laboratories.gov.pl.
Mobile Future Labs are setting off into the country
Schools that have purchased modern equipment will now be systemically supported by specialists. What will this look like? Mobile Future Labs, consisting of 16 marked buses supplied with modern equipment, are setting out on the roads of all the regions at the beginning of the school year. Its educators will train teachers and conduct lessons with students in the form of workshops. During the classes, educators will work to awaken their interest in skills, allowing them to use the technologies in ways that are compatible with their predispositions. For some it will be ideas for automation, for others to build a robot, for still others to learn the basics of programming. That's not all, however. “Future Labs is an important part of a comprehensive plan for changes in Polish education. Work is underway on the launch of the edukacja.gov.pl portal, an integrated solution that will allow all students to be included in a comprehensive programme of a personalised educational path," stresses Michał Przymusiński, Deputy Director of the Educational Research Institute for the Digitalisation of Science and Education.
The program is universal in nature, and the formula for the venture is open. The size of the locality or the number of students of a given school does not matter. Any school can apply to participate and invite educators to a demonstration workshop to make even better use of the equipment available to schools through Future Labs. Visits by the Mobile Future Labs team will not be the only support for schools.
One of the most important goals of Future Labs is to work towards equalising educational opportunities for students across the country. Thanks to the programme, almost all elementary schools, as well as general schools of the arts, have been supplied with modern equipment in just one year. Now, in connection with the launch of Mobile Future Labs, we have opened applications for schools to participate in the workshops. Any educational institution equipped with Future Labs equipment can apply. “We encourage all schools to contact their local project coordinators, as this is a unique opportunity for both students and teachers to learn while using the latest equipment. In addition, a dedicated hotline will soon be launched to support teachers developing Future Labs in their schools," concluded Marta Lewandowska, Deputy Director of the Centre for Education Development.
Workshops for students and teachers will be held throughout the 2022/2023 school year. This is an extension of the largest educational and technological project in the history of Polish education, worth more than a billion PLN.
Mobile Future Labs Partners
The Educational Research Institute conducts interdisciplinary scientific research on the functioning and effectiveness of the education system in Poland. Currently, the Institute is a lead unit in the area of the digitalization of Polish education and science, and is responsible, among other things, for launching the edukacja.gov.pl project. This innovative project will allow all Poles to access information on educational offerings and enable the development of personalised learning paths.
The Centre for the Development of Education is a national public teacher training institution operated by the Minister of Education and Science. It was established on January 1, 2010 as a result of the merger of the Central Teacher Training Centre and the Methodics Centre for Psychological and Pedagogical Assistance decreed by the education minister. The purpose of the Centre is to undertake and implement activities to improve the education system and enhance the quality of education in accordance with the state's educational policy in the area of general education and upbringing.
GovTech Poland opens the public sector to innovation. It connects everyone who wants to face the challenge of Poland's digital transformation, improve the effectiveness of the public sector and raise the quality of life of citizens. GovTech works with entrepreneurs, officials, NGOs, innovators and citizens. It organises hackathons and game-jams, coordinates IT projects, co-creates public programmes and supports their implementation. Among others, GovTech Poland is involved in co-developing Poland.Business Harbour, Future Labs, Careers of Tomorrow, IT for the Country, HackYeah (the largest hackathon in Europe), and Klimaton for Cities. It is also active internationally, supporting, among other things, climate protection efforts as part of The CivTech Alliance Global Scale-Up Program.