Human capital, competitiveness and Ukraine on the world map

Valeria Ionan, Deputy Minister for Eurointegration, Ministry of Digital Transformation


Ukraine's Ministry of Digital Transformation (MinDigital) was established in 2019 as a new ministry with a non-standard state approach as a ministry with people-centric projects, a clear vision, plans and philosophy. Its creed is “Transforming the lives of people, institutions and business for the better with the help of digital technologies.”

This youngest and most effective Ministry was set up not just to fulfil a presidential programme called “Government in your smartphone,” but for Ukraine to make a huge leap through the development of a digital economy, online services, and a growing IT industry, and to become even more competitive globally.

MinDigital has four strategic goals to reach by 2023:

  • 100% of public services accessible to individuals and business online
  • 95% of the population, social infrastructure and main roadways covered by hi-speed internet
  • 6 million Ukrainians involved in the program to develop digital skills
  • Increase the share of IT in the country’s GDP to 10%.

It’s clear that the complete digitalization of Ukraine needs to take place quickly and effectively across all sectors. For this purpose, a resolution was passed that approves the post of Chief Digital Transformation Officer (CDTO) in all ministries and regions.

Digitalization is not just about technology, it is about transformation, about processes and, above all, about people. It is people who change the country and people for whom the country is changing to become a more convenient service, a country in which inept bureaucrats turn into useful service personnel, while government services become every bit as good as service from a private company.

How does digitalization affect human capital? Among all its goals, MinDigital prioritizes digital literacy: today this is as important as the ability to read, write and speak.

There are several all-European standards for teaching and evaluating digital competence:

  • European Computer Driving License (ECDL/ICDL)
  • European Digital Competence Framework (DigComp)
  • Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI)
  • European Certification of Informatics Professionals (EUCIP)
  • European e-Competence Framework (eCF).

Ukraine is adapting the DigComp framework and begun its adaptation with this framework for individuals. According to the European framework, digital literacy involves five blocks, each of which is broken down into competencies:

  1. Information and data literacy
  2. Communication and collaboration
  3. Digital content creation
  4. Safety
  5. Problem solving.

In adapting this framework to Ukrainian conditions, we saw the need to add yet another block: computer literacy.

All told, MinDigital has set a goal of teaching 6 million Ukrainians digital literacy by 2023. First, we ran a study that showed that digital literacy is below the basic level for 53% of Ukrainians. Moreover, 47% of Ukrainians aged 18 to 70 are interested in developing digital skills. Then, in order to reach our goal, we launched the “Diia.Digital Education” project, which has two components, one online and the other offline.

The online component is osvita.diia.gov.ua, a national online platform in digital literacy that already offers access to more than 45 educational serials. All the serials have been developed in the innovative “edutainment” format, combining learning with amusement. These shorts involve experts and famous Ukrainians who chat, improvise and joke around.

The serials available on the platform at this time included: basic digital skills, digital literacy for teachers, digital literacy for civil servants, serials for parents on internet safety for their children, cyber-bullying for teenagers, paying utility bills online, digital technology for the handicapped, digital lawyers, electronic signatures, personal data, friendly digital finance, and more.

The offline component is a partner hub across Ukraine, based on which teaching is organized or where people can gain access to digital gadgets.

Over 2020, more than 1.5 million Ukrainians visited the Diia.Digital Education portal, of whom more than 440,000 registered for courses. We also set up a network of 6,000 digital education hubs all across Ukraine.

With our partners, we also launched a platform for hybrid and distance learning for pupils in grades 5 through 11 called The All-Ukrainian Online School. The platform materials were audited and comply with the country’s educational standards. Pupils using the platform have access to video explanations, outlines, tests, and an opportunity to track their learning progress. Meanwhile, teachers have contemporary methods and examples of how to apply new educational technologies.

Separately, there is a national project for developing entrepreneurship called Diia.Business. Its online component is a portal with free consultations for entrepreneurs at https://business.diia.gov.ua. Plans are for the offline component to offer open business support centres. In 2020[1], we opened Diia.Business support centres in Kharkiv and Mykolayiv, as well as a Diia.Business centre for students and future entrepreneurs in Kyiv.

Another project we are implementing with our partners is an Enterprise University called YEP. Through this program, the discipline called “Innovative entrepreneurship and managing start-up projects” has been integrated into the curricula of bachelor or master’s programmes at 76 Ukrainian universities. Feedback from both students and instructors suggests that it is one of the most useful courses at their universities.

We have also been pleased to work with ULEAD with Europe, which has made it possible for MinDigit to successfully implement national projects aimed at digitalising the country, establishing e-democracy, expanding infrastructure and developing communities in Ukraine’s oblasts.

Translated by Lidia Alexandra Wolanskyj

All terms in this article are meant to be used neutrally for men and women


Valeria Ionan has participated at the International Expert Exchange, "Development of Municipalities: trust, institutions, finance and people", organized by U-LEAD with Europe Programme in December 2020. Her speech delivered during one of the workshops is to a great extent depicted in this article.

In the name of the U-LEAD with Europe Programme, we would like to express our great appreciation and thanks for both inputs of Ms. Ionan. The article will be included in future online publication Compendium of Articles.

Compendium of Articles is a collection of papers prepared by policymakers, Ukrainian and international experts, and academia after International Expert Exchange 2019 and 2020, organized by U-LEAD with Europe Programme. The articles raise questions in the fields of decentralisation reform and regional and local development, relevant for both the Ukrainian and the international audience. The Compendium will be published online in Ukrainian and English languages on the U-LEAD online recourses. Please, follow us on Facebook to stay informed about the project.

If you have any comments or questions about the Compendium of articles or this article in particular, please contact Yaryna Stepanyuk yaryna.stepanyuk@giz.de.

 

This publication has been produced with the assistance of the European Union and its member states Germany, Poland, Sweden, Denmark, Estonia and Slovenia. The contents of this publication are the sole responsibility of its authors and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the U-LEAD with Europe Programme, the government of Ukraine, the European Union and its member states Germany, Poland, Sweden, Denmark, Estonia and Slovenia.

 


[1] This article was written in early 2021.

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