President Stevo Pendarovski addressed and opened today the public online forum “Digitalization and Education”.
Expressing his gratitude for the opportunity to address the forum focusing on the challenges related to digitalization in education and the transformations that await us in the future in this area, President Pendarovski stressed that in these processes it is necessary to have a partnership of state institutions with educated people, civil society, in order to find solutions based on the needs of citizens.
Please find below the full text of the address of President Pendarovski.
“Thank you for the opportunity to address this forum which discusses the challenges related to digitalization in education and the transformations that are inevitably expected in the future in this area.
Unfortunately, extraordinary events occur, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, to encourage us to implement things that we previously thought we were not ready for or that the time had not yet come, or both at once. On one occasion, I recently said that until recently it was unthinkable that we could organize classes online. But, from March onwards, the circumstances made us, like everyone else in the world, discover all the new features offered by digitalization and, like it or not, we migrated online and the digital way of working, not only in education, became our everyday life.
It is indisputable that teaching through digital platforms remains a challenge, especially for a country with small resources, as we are, and for those who teach, but also for pupils and students, for parents, for all of us. We have recently witnessed intense debates about the digitalization of education and given that we are now in the process of transformation, I think the right word is a transition from traditional to new teaching methods and hence, of course, there is a room for our improvement.
In general, digitalization in education opens up great opportunities to facilitate the education of all citizens and our past experiences in this area must be used after the end of the COVID 19 crisis. It is definitely clear that the door to digital education will remain wide open and we need to think about the best models and solutions from now on. Furthermore, the existence of digital resources that will be available to every child, at all times, will help us in creating what we call, inclusive education.
The availability of education for all and overcoming physical barriers is, in my opinion, an incredible benefit for each individual and for the society as a whole. Therefore we should be ready to invest in information technologies and develop digital tools, but above all, generally speaking, to work on digital literacy.
It is indisputable that the digitalization in different walks of life took place before, somewhere with less, somewhere with greater intensity, effect and success, but the current situation allows us to radically spread it.
Not because I belong to the older generation, but I do not think that the future of education will be only digital. The process of education also has a social dimension and it seems to me that in human nature is the need for learning through direct contact. Of course, I do not dispute the fact that digitalization in education will open new perspectives and opportunities and thus, preconditions for the progress of the whole society.
On this occasion, I would like to welcome the activities of civil society organizations, scientists, professors, computer scientists and all others who have done a lot to increase the options for digital learning.
In these processes, I think it is necessary to have a partnership of state institutions with educated people, with the civil sector, in order to find solutions based on the needs of citizens. Policy making, not only in this segment, must be a two-way process, where the state will have constant communication with experts and people with practical experience.
I welcome the efforts of all factors in the country aimed at encouraging the digital transformation of the Macedonian education and its advancement. I believe that all relevant stakeholders who can contribute will direct their efforts in overcoming the challenge called digitalization of education. This will be and is certainly an excellent opportunity for all professionals, for all creative people to continue to develop digital tools and content that will contribute to digitalization not only in education but also in other spheres of life.”