EghtesadOnline: As of the beginning of the next academic year (Sept. 23), all smart schools in Iran will be evaluated and ranked on the basis of students and teachers’ access to information and communication technologies.
The move is aimed at clarifying the status of schools and helping upgrade school equipment to gradually convert them into smart educational centers, Mehr News Agency reported.
According to Mehdi Sharafi, the head of ICT’s Office at the Education Ministry, of the total 108,000 schools in the country, only 22% are currently considered to be smart.
"With the implementation of the upcoming evaluation plan, these smart schools will be thoroughly inspected and ranked, and the amount of digital content offered to the students will be reviewed," Financial Tribune quoted him as saying.
As per the plan, these schools will get a ranking of one to five stars based on their smart educational services.
“Schools with the highest level of technology will be classified in the first rank," he added.
The ranking policy, Sharafi said, will help the parents wisely choose the right school for their children.
Also, this will place restrictions on schools that overstate their technological capabilities and overcharge parents.
Ideally, a fully smart school is supposed to have smartboards, high-speed Internet coverage, laptops for all the students, video projectors, etc.
Sharafi noted that smart schools are expected to offer all the services, including the process of enrolling students, teaching and conducting tests, on a digital platform.
Officials have recently been paying more attention to upgrading schools. An instance of which is the deal signed by ICT Minister Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi and caretaker of Education Ministry Javad Hosseini in the field, on the sidelines of the recent International Exhibition of Electronics, Computers, and e-Commerce (Elecomp 2019) held in Tehran on July 18-22.
Based on the agreement, efforts will be made to transform schools into smart educational centers whereby they get a technological boost.
According to the Education Ministry's website, during the agreement’s signing ceremony, Jahromi said, “For boosting Iran’s digital economy, more efforts should be made to upgrade schools into smart educational centers.”
Jahromi noted that the agreement between the two ministries includes various measures, including connecting all schools to Iran’s National Information Network and equipping them with the primary modern tools needed by students and teachers.
"We are talking about making schools smart. This is while there are numerous schools in underdeveloped regions where classes are held in tents. As per the deal, the least developed schools are to be primarily targeted," he said.
Hosseini said currently 77,000 schools are connected to NIN and use electronic systems. He added that only 23,000 schools offer technological education services and can be called smart schools.
“To increase the number of smart schools in the country, educational experts have prepared 12,000 digital educational contents, including multimedia courses and educational videogames, which will be applied to the curriculum as of the next academic year, Hosseini said.
Smart schools with adequate electronic infrastructures will have to issue electronic report sheets for students and file their health documents in a digital database, he added.
The caretaker of Education Ministry said the agreement specifically targets schools in suburban areas and cities with a population of less than 20,000.
Hosseini said that to achieve the smart education goals, companies active in technological and other relevant fields, private investors and donors have been invited for collaboration.