The 2019 edition of EU Code Week broke all records, involving 4.2 million people – mostly kids – in Europe and all over the world. Thanks to all coding enthusiasts, teachers and trainers who contributed to this excellent result; you’re doing a great job!

number of participants rose from 570K in 2015 to 4,2M in 2019

I’m proud that the European Commission is supporting this grassroots initiative through the Digital Single Market strategy and the Digital Education Action Plan.

Today on the International Day of Education, we are reflecting on the recently published results and drawing four important conclusions:

  1. An increasingly digitised and connected world requires close collaboration. The European Union provides everything we need to connect volunteers, schools, businesses, NGOs and national authorities and EU Code Week is an excellent example. Together, the community helps people learn more about computers, algorithms, the internet and technology so that they can benefit from technology in a safe way. This grassroots collaboration is the real success of EU Code Week.
  2. 49% of EU Code Week participants in 2019 were female. Because we are still far from having a gender-balanced tech sector, this is excellent news. Today, fewer women than men study and work in tech so involving more girls is essential for the digital economy to work in everyone’s interest. When girls, at an early age, see how interesting and exciting digital technologies can be, they will be able to make better-informed choices about their future careers.
  3. At EU Code Week 2019, even more activities focused on advanced technologies such as robotics, 3D printing and artificial intelligence. Attracting more students to study and pursue careers in science, technology and IT is crucial if we want to keep Europe at the forefront of innovation. While it seems the US and China are leading the race, Europe is gearing up with the proposed Digital Europe Programme offering investment of €9.2 billion in advanced technologies, of which €700 million will be spent on advanced skills related to the development and deployment of advanced technologies. 
  4. Empowering teachers is key. Digital learning requires infrastructure, learning content and competent teachers. Over the last few years, the Commission has supported the development of EU Code Week specific massive open online courses (MOOCs), training videos and lesson plans as well as other resources to help teachers introduce computational thinking as a complementary teaching method into their classes. It is exciting to see that thousands of teachers have taken part in the online training courses, developing new skills for themselves as well as for the next generation.

Bringing coding into schools and beyond

EU Code Week is an important tool that brings digital skills to young people all over Europe. In fact, around a third of EU Member States (Czech Republic, Croatia, Finland, France, Italy, Poland, some regions of Spain, Sweden) have – or soon will have – compulsory computational thinking, coding or computer science lessons starting in primary school . 
Since digitisation is moving fast, we must join forces to ensure that all young Europeans get the digital skills they need to thrive as citizens and on the job market. 

This is why I invite stakeholders to take part in one of the biggest digital education movements in Europe – EU Code Week. Follow this link to see what you can do as a school director, teacher, parent, coach, company, library, municipality or coding club. Europe needs us all to work together to make sure that every European has digital skills.