The Digital Champions held their fourth meeting in the margins of the Digital Agenda Assembly 2013, which took place in Dublin between 18-20 June 2013. The discussion was focused on 4 topics: youth and education, jobs and skills, access/Wifi and better e-services.
After this initial debate, each Champion made a short presentation on a project or initiative from their country. More details about each project can be found in the report and in the presentation. The projects covered a wide area: from coding for children to improving financial skills via libraries, from universal access to WiFi to promoting the e-tendering across all public institutions.
Here are couple of points Digital Champions came up with:
Youth and Education: Although ICT is the future, it still has a "nerdy" image and rebranding is the key. Some teachers embrace the technology change, but Europe needs a policy to encourage more into embracing the future. At the same time, without a vision coming from the school management, things will move too slowly. Book editors are not supporting initiatives where teachers/students make their own educational material.
Jobs and skills: Training initiatives exist all over the Member States In Spain and Lithuania there are initiatives to have certified training to fulfil job demands, while Sweden focuses on lifelong learning projects. In Malta, the programmes aim to reach non-ICT users, and in Romania an initiative focuses on improving financial skills of the people from more rural areas.
Acces/Wifi: Several initiatives of free access to WiFi exist across the Member States, but the Digital Champions think this should be spread all over European Union.They also suggested that the access to high speed internet and reducing/abolishing the roaming fee should be long-term priorities.
More use of e-services: As a long-term vision, the Champions think that e-tendering should be mandatory for all public services, as this saves a lot of money for the public sector. E-identity was another topic they find essential.
To date, there are 25 appointed Digital Champions, from which 19 attended this meeting.
For more information about the debates and conclusions you can refer to the report.