The Digital Opportunities for School Children programme is a great example of a successful partnership between civil society and business. In this digital era, IT-literacy and knowledge of practical application is of vital importance.
Child Development Foundation Director
The Ministry of Education is in the process of reviewing standards, and based on the success we will be changing programmes and learning tools, so that initiatives like DO Project can be included and children can learn with pleasure.
Senior Expert at Secondary Education Division of Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sport
BRIDGING THE DIGITAL SKILLS AND LITERACY GAP
Since taking part in the DO (Digital Opportunities for Children) Project, 16-year-old Gayane Sargsyan can see exciting pathways opening up ahead of her. “We learned so many things that I never thought I’d have the opportunity to learn. This knowledge will really help me at university and in my career,” says the teenager.
Like many teenagers, Gayane, a high school student in Nor Kharberd, Armenia, is eagerly planning her future. After secondary school, explains the bright 11th-grader, her dream is to train as an air traffic controller.
But living outside of Armenia’s capital, Gayane and her classmates have more limited access to the digital tuition they need to prosper. A nation of just 2.9 million inhabitants, Armenia’s secondary education system struggles to attract highly qualified IT teachers to its more far-flung provinces.
Bridging the gap is DO (Digital Opportunities for Children) Project, a digital literacy programme launched by VEON’s Armenian operating company, Beeline Armenia, in partnership with Armenian NGO the Child Development Foundation.
IT experts, funded by Beeline Armenia, visited ten schools in four remote provinces to give workshops on educational software and cyber safety, with Beeline Armenia providing access to apps. The 100 participants later demonstrated their new skills in a competition that challenged them to show how digital technology can solve real-world problems.
Finally, in the most far-reaching stage, DO Project tutors, in collaboration with Armenia’s Ministry of Education, are preparing digital skills and literacy guidelines based on learnings from the project. These will be distributed to schools nationwide, serving as a vital resource for teachers and students.
In this way, says Beeline Armenia, DO Project contributes to UN Sustainable Development Goal 4, aimed at ensuring “inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all”.
Moreover, from a commercial standpoint, it enables Beeline Armenia to reach a wider audience for its services, in a country where only 60% of the population are mobile internet users*.
“Digital technology is of paramount importance for achieving success in career or business. We are confident that the knowledge gained by our programme participants will be the biggest contribution to their future life,” says Beeline Armenia CEO Andrey Pyatakhin.
Reflecting on her own experience, Gayane agrees: “Participating in DO Project has been crucial to my life.
“And now, thanks to this project, we can help our schoolmates to learn the same things.”