Digital technologies are transforming European schools and classrooms. Kids need to gain new digital skills, learn coding or improve computational thinking to be ready for their future jobs. Teachers need to master new technologies such as 3D printing or augmented reality to better explain the subjects. Schools are requested to provide support, fast and reliable connectivity and proper training.
The COVID-19 crisis saw education facilities across Europe shutting their doors and moving rapidly to distance teaching. Within weeks, the education landscape in Europe and around the world was fundamentally changed. Teachers, students and their families adapted quickly and kept learning going showing sheer determination and resilience.
The COVID-19 pandemic has shown significant gaps and shortcomings in terms of digital skills, connectivity and the use of technologies in education. Additionally according to the latest Digital Economy and Society Index, 42% of Europeans still don’t have even basic digital skills and European labour market faces a significant shortage of digital experts. Moreover, the COVID-19 crisis is also shining a spotlight on both the opportunities and the risks of life online, and is bringing home the vital need for a better and safer digital environment for all, but especially the under-18s.
Share your views
In June 2020, the Commission has opened a public consultation to gather views on how to move forward. Schools, teachers, companies, organisations and anyone concerned have the opportunity to share their opinions and suggest improvements on the way the EU supports and stimulates digital education. The consultation collects views about most relevant digital skills and competences for the 21st century, the future role of remote learning or the EU’s value added in digital education.
The contributions should reflect the fast technological developments and the new reality that the COVID-19 emergency triggered. During that time, the National Coalitions for digital skills and jobs showed their vital role in helping teachers, schools and students to adapt to the new reality of fully remote education. In many countries, the Coalition’s involvement and cooperation with relevant public authorities resulted in free offers of online tools, more learning resources, laptops for the kids who needed them or technical support to teachers. A list of these good practices is available on the Shaping Europe’s digital future website.
The Public consultation on the new Digital Education Action Plan will close on 4 September 2020. The Commission will also organize a series of online outreach events in the upcoming weeks to collect additional input.
What is the Digital Education Action Plan?
The Commission adopted the first Digital Education Action Plan (DEAP) in January 2018. It contained 3 pillars and 11 actions to support technology use and the development of digital competences in education.
The President of the European Commission Ursula Von der Leyen stated in her political guidelines (pdf) that digital literacy has to be a foundation for everyone. The DEAP needs a major update to ensure that young people and adults in the European Union would acquire the necessary digital skills.
Improving education and skills is a key part of the overall vision for digital transformation in Europe. The strategy “Shaping Europe’s digital future” envisages that the updated DEAP should boost digital literacy and competences at all levels of education.