The Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research (BMBWF) is responsible for creating the best possible learning environment for schools, universities and Research institutions in Austria.
With the onset of COVID-19, families and students struggled as schools and universities were forced to suddenly shift online. A 12,000-parent survey conducted by the Austrian parents association (Bundeselternverband) revealed the scale of the problem: parents felt they were being sent from digital ‘pillar to post’. The need became clear; the new educational landscape required a portal, a single source of learning to make sure everyone involved was kept informed in a timely manner.
In May 2020, the Ministry turned to Accenture to help create a single digital schooling platform that was hosted in the cloud for optimum performance. First rolled out across Federal Schools, this new platform is now serving as a point of entry for all education and public administration applications.
With the potential size of the new portal’s user base, there was a lot to take into consideration. User needs had to be analyzed, potential tools evaluated and a truly collaborative approach was essential.
After initial desktop research, the team invited parents, pupils and educators to a series of workshops and qualitative interviews that provided invaluable insights and feedback.
The need for a combination of educational, administrative and communication tools led to collaboration with local Austrian companies, while agile and inclusive working practices allowed the team to tackle multiple tasks simultaneously and cohesively.
The project brought together a rich blend of talents and expertise, including Accenture team members from five different countries. To ensure a safe environment for everyone on site, the team used more than 1,000 COVID-19 rapid tests.
different organizations collaborated to bring flexible access for all, through the cloud.
COVID-19 rapid tests used to ensure a safe environment for everyone on site.
A valuable difference
Initial work began in May 2020. The Digital School portal was announced in a press conference by the Austrian Chancellor; the Austrian Minister of Education, Science and Research; and the Minister of Digitization and Economics. The portal was launched in September.
Since then, the portal has welcomed more than 500,000 users online and been continuously improved and expanded, with a single digital identity for all students; a fully integrated content management system; and de-centralized functionalities for schools.
Looking ahead, the portal has parent onboarding planned, as well as more interactive features and an event hub.
For the entire team, the size, prominence and complexity of the Austrian Digital School portal provides an example of true collaboration, and a huge sense of pride in providing students, families and educators with a next-generation learning platform.