Why is digital education important?
Digital competences and skills are essential to give every individual an equal chance to thrive in life, find employment and to be an engaged citizen. Having digital competences and skills and ensuring the availability of digital infrastructure and equipment have become all the more relevant since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Virtually all future learning and jobs will require some level of digital competences and skills. Constant technological change requires the lifelong development of competences and skills by all learners for Europe to remain economically competitive and to participate in social life. However, on average two in five Europeans aged 16-74 still lack these skills (Digital Economy and Society Index).
Ensuring equality during the digital transition of education and society is vital. Despite scoring higher in information and computer literacy, in 2018 women represented only 18% of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) students (2018 International Computer and Information Literacy Study, Eurostat).
What is the EU doing?
The European Commission is addressing these issues through its flagship policy initiative in this domain – the Digital Education Action Plan (2021-2027).
Find out more about the Digital Education Action Plan (2021-2027).
The following actions also play a vital role
- the SELFIE tool (Self-reflection on Effective Learning by Fostering the Use of Innovative Educational Technologies)
- collaboration with the European Investment Bank (EIB), for example through the InvestEU programme, to enable Member States access to funding for digital and physical infrastructure and to support the development of skills and innovative pedagogies
- the 2021-2027 Erasmus+ and European Solidarity Corps programmes have been made more green and digital
- the Recovery and Resilience Facility supports Member States in addressing their needs in digital education, following the COVID-19 pandemic
- the European Social Fund promotes the development of digital skills as a vehicle to ensure better and fairer job opportunities for European citizens
- the new Digital Europe Programme (DIGITAL) focuses specifically on boosting advanced digital skills
What is our goal?
As part of the European Education Area strategic framework for the period 2021-2030, the Council of the EU has set the following EU-level targets for digital education
- less than 15% of eighth-graders across the EU should be low-achievers in computer and information literacy
A European Education Area Strategic Framework Working Group – Digital Education: Learning, training and assessment (DELTA) – has also been established to encourage mutual learning and the exchange of information and best practices between Member States.