The Internet is undoubtedly a great tool, which has greatly facilitated many activities in our everyday life. One of its main tasks is, of course, to provide us with access to knowledge - in a few moments we can find information on virtually all the topics we are interested in. For this reason, it would be rather difficult to imagine that any modern school would not provide its students with access to the Internet. For some time now, the Digital Poland Operational Programme has been implemented throughout the country.
The second phase of the programme has recently begun. One of the elements of its implementation is to collect from schools all over Poland the results of questionnaires concerning the level of digitalization in particular institutions. The project has been prepared by the Ministry of Digitalization and it is the Ministry that conducts the survey among schools. It is estimated that the situation of more than 30,000 schools throughout Poland will improve under the Program. However, for a school to be able to count on appropriate assistance, it must fill in the questionnaire in detail and specify all its needs.
The survey includes a number of questions about the situation of digitization in a given school. They are related, for example, to the bandwidth to which students have access and the technologies used in the institution. The directors must also prepare a detailed report on the cost of using the current link in the school. Without this, the facility will not be able to count on further assistance in maintaining the new link after the project is completed. The telecommunications link itself is only one of many factors taken into account in the program. Local networks and active devices used to connect to the Internet are also taken into account here. This is a great advantage of this program, because thanks to it schools can also receive funding to modernize such things, not only the basic connection. The interest in the programme turned out to be very high. The Ministry expects to receive more than 30,000 applications by the end of the application deadline.
Constant digitalization and improvement of the situation of Polish schools in this respect is a very important thing for our authorities - for many years now, active efforts have been made to catch up with Western countries in this respect. It is true that for a long time it has been announced that the projects under preparation will be carried out on a national scale - not only in schools, but also in hospitals - but so far only smaller, local activities have been announced. An example is the connection of over 20 schools in the Mazowieckie and Podlaskie Voivodships to a broadband connection. With time, the list of institutions which will benefit from such aid will surely grow.
At the moment, it is difficult to clearly assess whether such ambitious plans prepared by the Ministry of Digitalisation are feasible at all. It is a fact that the coverage of so many institutions with assistance in the implementation of new telecommunications technologies is primarily associated with high costs. It is also unclear exactly what kind of Internet providers would choose the outlets. If the programme provides for the establishment of cooperation with commercial providers on a wider scale, it will constitute a serious cash injection into the Polish economy. Government specialists have already calculated that the cost of modernising the link in one school will be about PLN 8000 on average - of course, it all depends on the specific case and conditions. However, the implementation of the project itself is only a part of the expected costs, because it will cost much more to maintain the new lines later - something like this is supposed to cost, depending on the school, from 500 to 1500 PLN per month. Therefore, the plans are very ambitious, but at the moment it is difficult to decide whether it will be possible to implement them at all.
Access to the Internet is one of the absolutely basic elements of any modern teaching institution, and effective teaching and knowledge transfer is virtually impossible without it. However, many people are not aware that the situation of Polish schools in this respect is currently quite difficult. Although virtually all schools have access to the Internet, in many cases the infrastructure is already outdated and the bandwidth is far from modern standards. For this reason, it is necessary to carry out extensive modernization activities, so that Polish schools do not lag so far behind. All such projects therefore deserve recognition, although it is another matter to implement them properly. Whether ambitious plans will actually be implemented - time will tell.
The article was written in cooperation with the service www.batfiber.pl