President of Latvia Egils Levits, Minister of Education and Science Ilga Šuplinska, Minister of Environmental Protection and Regional Development Artūrs Toms Plešs, Minister of Finance Jānis Reirs, Head of the Saeima Education, Culture and Science Commission Arvils Ašeradens, Chairman of the Latvian Association of Local Governments Gints Kaminskis signed a Memorandum of Cooperation “Computer for every child” in Riga Castle today. The initiative is coordinated by Ieva Ilves, Adviser to the President of Latvia for Information and Digital Policy.
‘I am deeply delighted and pleased to welcome you all to the Riga Castle for the signing of the cooperation memorandum, which is vital for giving our young generation access to full range of online opportunities. They have mostly been learning online for the past 12 months, and we can see that there is still a considerable group of children without remote learning equipment like computers. That is unacceptable. This memorandum is specifically designed to support joint effort for building a system that provides computers to every child and teacher who needs it. This not a computer procurement project. We are building a system where computers are acquired and replaced after the end of a life cycle, with all technical maintenance and support required to help users learn necessary computer skills. We are happy to scale up the initiative successfully launched by the Ministry of Education and Science. Indeed, it will be a system that will address our long-term needs,’ underlined the President of Latvia Egils Levits at the opening of the memorandum signing ceremony.
Parties committed to make all possible effort to provide all pupils and teachers in Latvia with computers required to ensure modern learning, in particular:
- make sure all students and teachers have access to appropriate computers for efficient learning by 2025,
- develop sustainable stock management procedures which ensure that pupils and teachers across Latvia have access to devices at all times,
- create Computer stock network of focal points at every state or local school in Latvia with appropriate legal framework, resource planning and organisational structure that details responsibilities of all stakeholders: Ministry of Education and Science, Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development, local authorities and educational establishments,
- identify and transfer international experience, practices and innovations applied in computer procurement and/or lease projects for education sector, and thus ensure cost-efficiency and ease of the maintenance, repair and replacement of computers in the Computer stock,
- implement batch procurements to guarantee the best price and then distribute, operate and service the computers through the decentralised network of focal points,
- identify and collaborate with private partners to compensate for initial shortages of skilled experts and practical knowledge while making sure all pupils and teachers have unhindered access to efficient ICT infrastructure,
- develop and implement support framework enabling all municipalities to achieve efficient and meaningful use of computers for learning processes,
- make sure schools have clear strategies for computer-assisted learning and development of digital skills, including training of teachers on how to deliver computer-based learning.