MINISTER OZER LAUNCHES THE MEB'S EDUCATION TECHNOLOGIES AND INNOVATION CENTERMinister of National Education Mahmut Özer inaugurated The Education Technologies Incubation and Innovation Hub "ETKİM", which was established within the framework of the cooperation between the Ministry of National Education and METU Technopolis.
Speaking at the opening ceremony held at METU Technopolis, Minister Özer emphasized that they will work together to make the education system much stronger by using the achievements of all stakeholders in education. Emphasizing that despite all the difficulties Türkiye has been through, the country has always taken firm steps forward by renewing and strengthening itself, Özer referred to the United Nations Education Summit. Özer stated that the main theme of the summit was "How to make the education systems in the world more resilient by using digital transformation and educational technologies after the Covid- 19 pandemic?"
Stating that they have realized Türkiye's progress in the education system consisting of 19 million students and 1.2 million teachers, Özer stated that they achieved growth not only in terms of quantity but also in terms of quality. Stating that the Education Information Network EBA is highly prevalent, Minister Özer said that Türkiye started to make technology moves much earlier than the Covid-19 outbreak compared to other countries, and thus digital platforms and distance education became much more useful with the contribution of previous ministers. He stated that EBA has stepped in that way.
Expressing that they gave great importance to increasing the number of digital platforms in this period, Minister Özer stated that they first worked on teachers. He said that they established the Teacher Information Network (ÖBA) to not only support teachers with face-to-face vocational development, but also to bring them together with a mechanism where they can get training whatever and wherever they want. Noting that ÖBA has made such a great contribution that the 44 hours of training period per teacher in the 2020s has risen to 250 hours. Özer underlined that they both increased the quality of education and made a significant contribution in terms of quantity.
The contents of digital platforms are being developed and strengthened day by day
Stating that with the move to develop digital platforms in 2022, the mechanisms to support teachers have been developed and strengthened day by day, Özer emphasized that an education system is as strong as its teachers. Reminding that Student-Teacher Support System (ÖDS) was developed to support both students and teachers, Özer stated that ÖDS is one of the digital education platforms with the strongest user capacity in Türkiye. Özer said that ÖDS is a digital platform where teachers can follow and support the personal development of students and access all kinds of resources.
Stating that they focus on three languages, Turkish, mathematics and English, on digital platforms, Minister Özer underlined that it is not possible to learn any language without a mother tongue. Expressing that they consider mathematics as a language because so much data is produced, learning technologies, artificial intelligence and data reading is becoming widespread, Özer emphasized that they need to raise young people full of achievements. Özer said that therefore they created new methodologies and digital platforms that deal with different approaches on mathematics. Minister Özer stated that they have made new initiatives regarding foreign languages and have implemented a digital platform called 'Dialect' for the first time. He stressed that the 'Dialect' has become a foreign language platform that is downloaded and used the most.
Underlining the lifelong support that public education centers provide to adults, Özer noted that a digital platform called HEMBA is offered, where not only citizens living in Türkiye but also citizens living abroad can access and obtain certificates.
Noting that a digital platform related to augmented and virtual reality in vocational education has been put into practice, Minister Özer stated that they have launched seven digital platforms in a short period of one year and will continue to support students and teachers with eight platforms. Expressing that with an interdisciplinary approach, they have established an incubation and R&D and innovation hub where these digital platforms can be developed, Özer said that the Ministry of National Education has established an R&D innovation center for the first time. Emphasizing that these steps will be a milestone in the fields of education, health, transportation and infrastructure considering the fact that the next century will be the Century of Türkiye, Özer thanked everyone for their efforts in bringing such a structure to the country.
After the ribbon cutting ceremony, Minister Özer and the accompanied delegation visited the professional learning laboratory and offices and received information about the activities.
The center will support the activities on implementation of digital education strategies for schools, providing technology-supported good practice examples and capacity building. In addition, professional development studies, pilot applications, R&D studies and technology development activities will take place in the professional learning laboratory in order to effectively use educational technology investments.
It is planned to establish working groups that will include all the units of the Ministry about digital gamification in education, increasing the usability performance of digital education platforms, technology-supported professional development societies, initiating innovation ecosystem development with school-based professional development projects. Along with the initial projects, new projects to support the R&D and innovation culture will be developed by this group in cooperation with the Ministry units.
ETKİM will play an active role in the effective use and development of Education Information Network (EBA), Teacher Information Network (ÖBA), Student/Teacher Support System (ÖDS), Mathematics Education Platform, English Education Platform DIALEKT/DIALECT, Turkish Education Platform, English Education Platform, Public Education Centers Information Network (HEMBA) and Vocational Education Augmented Reality Platforms.