Equipping people with ICT skills
Change comes quickly to the Information Society: new technologies and services mean that users must be prepared to update their skills and competences – those who do not, because of a lack opportunity or motivation, risk being left behind. The European Commission is acutely aware of the need for Europeans to develop their eCompetences so that they have the correct skills, knowledge and attitude to get the most out of today’s dazzling array of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs).
New technologies which can make life and work easier are always coming on the market, but if people cannot properly use them then they could be left behind in the Information Society and Europe’s economic competitiveness will suffer.
Europe’s ministers were aware of the need to address eCompetency issues when they signed the Riga Declaration on e-Inclusion in June 2006.
The Commission is looking at ways to improve people’s skills and attitudes to enable them to better use ICTs at home and at work, whilst harnessing digital technologies to boost lifelong learning.
Examples of actions and initiatives to meet these challenges are listed below:
Bridging the eCompetency gap
The Commission’s European i2010 Initiative on e-Inclusion, which was adopted in November 2007, states that: “Education and training systems are key to build[ing] digital competence.”
The Commission is therefore calling on public sector bodies, industry and social organisations to help bridge the digital competencies gap. It wants stakeholders to do as much as they can in 2008 to promote eSkills and basic digital literacy training, especially for those who are most at risk of missing out on the benefits of the Information Society such as elderly and disabled people.
Much is already being done – for example, the Commission-backed European eSkills Forum encourages dialogue between public and private sector organisations on issues like training and accessibility to digital technologies. The Commission is also keen to support private sector efforts to improve Europe’s eCompetences, such as the eSkills Certification Consortium which promotes accredited training and certification in EU Member States.
Digital Literacy Review
The Commission has established a Digital Literacy Review to examine ways to improve eCompetency measures and policies. The group that carried the review was made up of senior representatives from industry, academia and civil society. Their report was published in December 2008.
Commission-funded research projects that seek to boost eCompetences