CARNET is implementing the e-Universities project with the aim of digital transformation of higher education (HE) in the Republic of Croatia (RH) by improving the digital teaching infrastructure, introducing digital teaching tools and strengthening digital competences of teachers for teaching in a digital environment.
The digital transformation of public institutions in higher education will be approached systematically. Digital transformation contributes to the flexibility and innovation of education, unifies the raising of organizational, management, infrastructural and educational categories of development, enables the convergence of public national and EU policies of HE, while continuously following the current directions of digital technology development.
As a part of preparatory activities for the e-University project, CARNET participated in another project funded through DG REFORM’s Technical Support Instrument that is carried out by the OECD, in close cooperation with the European Commission and Croatian Ministry of Science and Education, entitled “Assessing and improving digital readiness in Croatian higher education institutions”. This initiative resulted in recommendations and guidelines based on the practice of other countries that have made comparable investments in higher education and provided a valuable support in determining the type and scope of investments in public institutions of higher education for the entire territory of the Republic of Croatia.
As part of the project, investments will be made in:
- network and computer infrastructure
- equipment and related services
- cyber security activities
- improvement of the existing IT system and linking of records in HE
- educational support and educational programmes to strengthen the competences of teaching staff for learning and teaching in a digital environment
- support and professional development of expert staff.
General objective of the project
The general objective of the e-Universities project is to improve the quality and accessibility of the higher education system, by strengthening the flexibility and innovation of public higher education institutions through supporting investments in digital teaching infrastructure.
Specific objective of the project
Investments in network and computer infrastructure, equipment for the creation and production of audio/video content and related services (applications, licenses and support tools) and cyber security activities will ensure the key prerequisites for the continuation of the digital transformation of higher education institutions throughout the Republic of Croatia.
Improvement of the existing IT system and connecting records in higher education will create a unique platform that will contain timely and relevant information for monitoring trends on all decision-making levels and a key base for monitoring the system, creating reports and analyses, as well as for planning and forecasting, which will provide for systematic monitoring, evaluation and achievement of programme financing goals of higher education institutions.
Investments in digital infrastructure with accompanying educational support to empower teachers to create digital teaching content, followed by continuous research regarding the state and application of digital technologies in higher education and business, as well as the experimental implementation of a modular education programme, will strengthen the competencies of teachers and raise the level of digital maturity of institutions of higher education in the entire territory of the Republic of Croatia.
Duration of the project
From March 2022 to December 2025
Main elements of the project
- design and implementation of passive and active networks at the locations of components of higher education institutions (HE)
- upgrading the access part of the network at the HE component locations
- upgrading the capacity and stability of access connections of HE component locations
- upgrading the backbone of the CARNET network
- improvement of the technical conditions of aggregation CARNET hubs.
- services (applications, licenses and support tools)
- equipment and tools for recording and processing digital content
- equipping with equipment for conducting hybrid classes
- cyber security
- improvement of the infrastructure and repositories of digital contents
- establishment of a central information system of records in higher education (ISeVO), building and connection with existing systems
- establishment of an information system for the implementation and monitoring of programme contracts (ISpPU)
- harmonization of existing information systems in higher education with ISeVO (refinement of existing applications as well as upgrading with new functionalities) necessary for connection with IspPU.
- qualitative and quantitative research, analysis of the state of educational and business needs of the application of digital technologies in higher education
- creation of a modular education programme for development of digital competences, implementation of hybrid teaching and expedient application of digital technologies in education and business of higher education institutions
- advisory support to users in the implementation of project activities and the purposeful application of digital technologies in education and business and creation of an interactive portal for dissemination and exchange of information, knowledge, trends, experiences and connecting users in regard to the topics of application of modern education in a digital environment.
Ministry of Science and Education (MZO) – Holder of NPOO investment “Digital transformation of higher education”
End users – public institutions of higher education
What will the institutions involved get from the project?
After the determined analysis of the situation and needs and based on the guidelines for investment criteria in digital teaching infrastructure, network and/or computer infrastructure will be built and/or upgraded in higher education institutions. Institutions will receive advanced network management with a security component, the ability to use advanced network services with guaranteed capacity and connection stability. Institutions will receive accompanying services and tools as well as digital teaching equipment. Throughout all segments of equipment, the focus will be on the safety component.
Public universities participating in the project will have the option of investing in the following type of equipment:
- Network-LAN – access to the network and educational resources for employees in premises intended for student education with a reliable high-speed Internet connection consisting of a passive network (wire), network connections and associated active equipment
- Network-WiFi – network access for students using laptops, tablets, smartphones, in study areas and other work and living areas. It consists of a passive network (wire) and associated active equipment
- Equipping hybrid and multimedia lecture halls with projection screens, interactive screens, audio systems and other equipment
- Audio-visual and conference equipment that can support the use of digital resources during lectures and equipment that can be used to record live lectures and hybrid classes (computer and video conference equipment – large studio, small (integrated) studio, hybrid lecture rooms, mobile AV devices).
Upgrade and establishment of the Information System of records in higher education (ISeVO)
As part of the project, the upgrade and establishment of the Information System of Records in Higher Education (ISeVO) and the adaptation of the existing information infrastructure of higher education are foreseen:
- It will create new functionalities and connect the already existing records of the Ministry (Registers) into one whole.
- It will also connect other information systems and applications that need to be harmonized and adapted to work with the information system of records that are currently in the higher education system.
- A unique platform will be created that will contain timely and relevant information and will be used to monitor trends at all decision-making levels (college/university/state).
- By monitoring enrolment quotas and occupancy and the success of students during their studies, and by adapting existing and establishing new study programmes, it will be possible to respond more adequately to the needs of HE.
Education and support
The project includes education and support:
- Advisory and educational support of partners
- The opportunity to participate in educational activities that contribute to the development of digital competencies of teaching and administrative staff, particularly related to the implementation of hybrid teaching, the use of audio-visual equipment to enhance teaching processes, the creation of digital teaching materials, and cybersecurity.
- The building of a community of practitioners and mutual connection of users from different higher education institutions will be encouraged through various activities, with the aim of exchanging knowledge and experience related to the application of digital technologies in education and business.
- An important segment in building a community of practitioners will be an interactive internet portal that will be established as a central place for the dissemination and exchange of information, knowledge, trends, experiences, and connecting users related to the topics of implementing modern education in a digital environment. The portal will primarily be intended for university employees as support in the application of digital technologies in education through access to digital tools, a repository and a learning management system, as well as instructions for their use. It will also be intended for the publication of professional and scientific articles and the exchange of experiences and knowledge of higher education employees.
- Customer support is provided in the form of a mobile team responsible for written, telephone and field support.
Obligations of institutions in the project
CARNET will enter into individual contracts with public universities in order to regulate mutual rights and obligations.
It is important that each institution participating in the project actively participates in the activities of the project and fulfils the following obligations:
- Appointment of a responsible person for the purpose of planned implementation and timely coordination of project activities.
- If necessary, ensure the conditions for the implementation of passive and active networks and the upgrade of the access network at HEI locations.
- After completing the works and equipping the HEI, co-sign with CARNET and the contractor the handover record based on which the HEI will become the user of the IT equipment and will be obliged to handle it with the care of a good businessman.
- Include teachers and professional staff in the project activities in accordance with the needs of the project and HEI.
- Enable students to connect to the network with their own devices in accordance with CARNET’s recommendations.
- Ensure that from the offered programmes of educational activities they actively participate in educations and events intended for the systematic development of their digital competences as well as other competences for the use of digital technologies
- Ensure the participation of employees (teaching staff of the institution) and students in research that will be carried out continuously during the project and in the evaluation process of project activities and results
- At the request of CARNET, deliver to CARNET all information necessary for administration and reporting on the project according to the system management and control bodies of the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (NPOO).
The project holder, the main partner organization and the beneficiary of the project is the Croatian Academic and Research Network – CARNET, and it is implemented in partnership and cooperation with relevant institutions: