The City of Espoo’s most significant agile development project, eVaka, creates a link between homes and day care centres by improving the exchange of information between them.
The digital eVaka project is a joint project between the cities of Espoo and Tampere. Its purpose is to improve the exchange of information concerning children between homes and early childhood education units, for example day care centres, to digitalise the process of going through the early childhood education plan and to provide real-time information about the time a child spends in early childhood education.
The first version of eVaka was introduced in Espoo in stages during the spring of 2020, and this year families have been able to apply for a place in early childhood education and pre-primary education through the system. The eVaka system has not only made the application process easier but also facilitated invoicing. Users have been very happy with the fact that the system is easy to use.
The project has now reached the second phase. At the moment, the aim is to create digital services to support interaction between homes and early childhood education staff. In Espoo, new digital eVaka services will be introduced gradually throughout this development phase.
For the City of Tampere, the aim is to introduce its version, treVaka, in stages during 2022 and 2023, after which the system will be used to handle the early childhood education matters of approximately 25,000 children in Espoo and Tampere.
From the very beginning, the functionalities of eVaka have been developed with the needs of municipal early childhood education in mind. For the City of Espoo, eVaka is the most significant agile development project at the moment. The system is being piloted at seven of the city’s day care centres (six units from Finnish Early Childhood Education and one from Swedish Education and Cultural Services), providing information about the users’ wishes and user feedback on the existing functionalities throughout the development process.
Through the Ministry of Finance incentive scheme for the digitalisation of municipalities, Espoo and Tampere received funding of EUR 3.4 million for the eVaka project’s second phase of development. The eVaka source code has been published and is being developed further as an open source code. Both cities are actively involved in the agile development of new digital eVaka services. The current development phase will end at the end of 2021.
The eVaka system is suitable for all Finnish municipalities that wish to improve interaction between homes and early childhood education units. The aim is to develop an open software product that meets the early childhood education needs of all municipalities and that would be used for handling the early childhood education matters of some 100,000 children in the coming years, with an active user and developer community built around it. The eVaka project is a remarkable open-source effort in the area of key municipal information systems. As eVaka has been developed using an open-source model, it can be freely utilised by anyone.
The core of the eVaka system will be the same for all municipalities. Turku and Oulu have participated in the concept design of the second version of eVaka, and more than 20 municipalities (with a population of 2 million) have already shown interest in eVaka.
Project Manager Meri Vainio, tel. 040 550 5542, firstname.lastname@example.org