Prime Minister Ana Brnabic on Thursday chaired the session of the Council for Innovative Entrepreneurship and Information Technology.
The meeting adopted the Council’s Work Plan for 2019 was adopted, and a report on work done in 2018, the Serbian government announced on its website.
According to this, Brnabic pointed out that the ICT sector is one of the fastest growing sectors in Serbia and one of the largest net exporter.
She added that, according to the National Bank of Serbia, in the first 11 months of 2018, the sector exceeded the export value of EUR 1 billion, with a growth of 27.5 percent compared to 2017.
The prime minister pointed out that the surplus of exports of ICT services constitutes the bulk of the surplus of exports of services, while the sector has recorded a constant export growth of more than 20 percent over the last decade.
According to Brnabic, the average salary per employee in this sector is more than two times higher than in other branches of industry, while one job in the ICT sector creates 4-5 jobs in other sectors.
The Serbian government, as she underlined, recognized the potential of IT industry, took concrete steps to ensure its additional growth and provide a new vision of Serbia’s innovation-based development.
At the session of the Council, the most important projects and plans for the next period were presented – programming was introduced as a compulsory fifth-grade element in elementary schools, while in this academic year students of the sixth grade started learning in the Python programming language.
Internet access is also provided in all primary schools, and an additional EUR 10 million has been invested in high-speed Internet access for schools in 2019.
In cooperation with the Petlja Foundation and the Digital Serbia Initiative, all schools received basic IT equipment, and teachers were given training for lecturing IT subjects.
At the same time, a pilot project for the introduction of digital educational materials into 2,000 “digital classrooms” was implemented, with investments in full digitization of textbooks continuing this year.
The number of specialized IT departments increased this school year by almost five times compared to 2017, to a total of 44 in 36 gymnasiums throughout Serbia.
The capacities of technical faculties have been increased to allow 20% more students to enroll than two years ago.
The Serbian government has set aside around €100 million for investments in infrastructure in order to provide a better environment for startups, innovative companies and research and development.
As part of the IT retraining program, 800 citizens will get the opportunity to acquire knowledge and skills from the programming necessary for the position of junior programmers, and another 1,100 people are already attending the training.
The establishment of a database for a fully electronic government has begun – the Law on Electronic Commerce and the Law on Electronic Administration have been adopted, and the establishment of a register of citizens and an address register has started.
The results achieved include the introduction of new profiles by dual model for high school students in technical schools, at the request of industry and parents, are: digital graphic technician and internet design and electrical technician of information technologies.
As part of the support to the development of regional start-up centers, the government of Serbia supported eight cities and municipalities with the amount of RSD 200 million.
Council members considered the plan for 2019, which foresees realization of 36 activities in the field of human capital development (formal and non-formal education), development of innovation infrastructure and creation of a competitive market (legal framework for business).
It is planned that in the seventh and eighth grades in Computer Science classes, Pygame and Jupiter will be taught, including 2D animation, analytics and data work.
Also, the plan is to call for the launch of a new study program of national importance for the needs of the industry 4.0, while we continue to support the construction of science and technology parks and other scientific and innovation infrastructure in Belgrade, Novi Sad and Nis, Prime Minister Brnabic said.