Korado Korlević - Astronomical Society Višnjan, Nina Išek Međugorac - Head of HT Corporate Communications and Vlado Lendvaj - Institute for Youth Development and Innovation
Having recognised the importance of investment in the popularisation of science amongst younger generations, Hrvatski Telekom has made donations to two best STEM projects in the area of New Technologies and Science under this year's – the eleventh – "Together We Are Stronger" (Zajedno smo jači) donation competition, aiming to enhance the quality of education in elementary schools in the area of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Consequently, due to the donation worth HRK 350,000, each of the projects will be provided the opportunity to perform a vast array of activities intended to introduce children to the world of science, whilst simultaneously providing the opportunity also for HT employees to participate in the projects using their expertise and experience.
The project entitled “Internet of Things in Croatian Elementary Schools in 2016”, whose project holder is the Institute for Youth Development and Innovation, was the winner in the category of New Technologies. It is expected to bring together around fifty schools and almost 750 pupils during the first phase. Moreover, the project will contribute to the development of pupil and teacher potential in the area of robotics through Croatian Makers robotics game, where the youngest generations will be taught advanced concepts of automation and develop their IT skills in a practical, entertaining, and comprehensive way.
In the category of Science, the best project was “Campus” of the Astronomical Society Višnjan, which will include a system of workshops (schools and camps) intended both for elementary and secondary school students. Camp attendees will be provided the opportunity to participate in diverse STEM-related activities. As a result of the donation competition, workshops will involve around 450 children, which tripled the number of the children involved thus far. The Astronomical Society and one of the most productive observatories in the world have developed the project within Science and Education Centre Višnjan, whilst Višnjan Observatory is planning to spend the funding donated in this competition for the purchase of equipment required for the interdisciplinary Laboratory for Biology, Chemistry and Astrobiology (LABOS) integrated in the camp.
“We are welcoming this initiative by Hrvatski Telekom concerning the donation exclusively to projects in the area of science and new technologies, which will certainly contribute to the popularisation of natural science, technology, engineering, and mathematics amongst the youngest generations. The need for employment of educated STEM experts is continuously on the increase, and it is hence fundamental to encourage children from the earliest age to education in these areas, albeit in using entertaining and practical methods which has been advocated through these projects,” pointed out Ignac Lovrek, Professor at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing and a member of the expert panel.
“Hrvatski Telekom is one of the leading STEM employers on the Croatian market. Through this year's donation competition entitled “Together We Are Stronger”, we were striving to highlight the importance of high quality and practical education of future generations of young experts in the areas of natural science. I can express my utmost satisfaction with the fact that our employees and experts will also be involved in project activities. We were also aiming to include the scholarship recipients and trainees in our HT STEM HUB project. It is a segment of the overall story of establishment of an active academic and economic community that will significantly contribute to improving the education of future generations through practical work,” noted Marija Felkel, Member of Management Board and Chief Human Resources Officer at Hrvatski Telekom, as well as one of the members of the expert panel.
39 projects in the two previously mentioned categories have been submitted under this year's competition and we were looking for those involved in the promotion of STEM education amongst elementary school pupils in the best possible way. Hrvatski Telekom’s employees selected up to five finalists from each category through an internal selection process, whilst the winners were selected by the expert panel comprising of Hrvatski Telekom’s representatives and experts from competent institutions and associations. Through its “Together We Are Stronger” competition during the previous ten years, Hrvatski Telekom has donated over HRK 9 million to provide support to the implementation of 240 valuable projects.