My Velvet Revolution

It seems to me that this will be probably something as memoirs of the unsuccessful Czech revolutionist, but I feel a strong temptation to publish it.

Several years before the regime change I was involved in the team of Reasearch Institute preparing Adaptive Intelligent Tutoring System for all departments of the Czech Technical University. That time in the second half of 80′s there was a big boom of such systems which aimed to fully control the learning process of students. I loved this work partly because I get an opportunity to learn a lot of new things. I started to read English sources, increased my ability in programming (Assembler, Pascal, Basic, Foxbase) and I had slowly found out that the direction of the development of our work to the students’ control isn’t the right one.

What I didn’t know those days was the fact that the secret police some way influence my life. The only formal sign was the rejection of my application for doctoral studies in1988. Fortunately the change evoked by Soviet leader Gorbachev lastly arrived in November 1989 and we started to think that everything would quickly change.

The years 1990-94 were probably the best in my life. We believed in democracy and better future. Thanks to our president Vaclav Havel we didn’t revenge the communists, so they were able to take advantage of the situation and made the immediate transition to the die-hard capitalists interested solely in money. As the significant example you can compare two of our world known presidents – Vaclav Havel and his follower using the same first name Vaclav Klaus. The intention of our first president Havel was always the true democracy including humanity, active citizenship, green policy, volunteerism, philanthropy etc. Unfortunately the space for such kind of dealing around us is still lesser and lesser. The greed policy represented by Mr. Klaus temporary wins not only here in Czechia but almost everywhere (even in communistic China). The fight between the openness and closeness in our country could be personalized by these two leaders.

It was 1994 and my job was to establish the InfoCentrum dedicated to the help for Czech teachers with the usage of technology. We formed the group of 4 enthusiastic people inside the Institute for Information in Education which was formal part of the Ministry. We were probably the first who came with the intention to bring the benefit of internet to primary and secondary schools. At that time I realized that my belief in better future is probably only a false hope. The government adopted the policy of so called “optimization”. They informed us that the service we do won’t be paid by Ministry of Education. They used the argument that teachers would pay it themselves if they would feel the need. Maybe such kind of policy would have a chance to ask for public support in elections, but there was something what completely changed my attitude to the political situation in our country. It was from the beginning evident that the optimization of state expenses is mainly done in form of transfer of the public money to the pockets of the corruptionists and cashboxes of the leading political parties.

I decided to continue and fulfill the plan which we started to realize in InfoCentrum – to bring the appropriate information about technology to Czech teachers. In 1995 I opened my first personal web BoBr’s Helper which some way continues in form of blog until today (http://spomocnik.rvp.cz/). I have to say that my strong intention to stay on position of openness caused that the only reward I get is unofficial from the reactions of readers. But I am satisfied.