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Commission launches i2010: What impact will ICT policy have on education and training?

In June 2005, the European Commission launched i2010 – A European Information Society for growth and employment.  The initiative is the first by the Commission to be adopted under the EU’s renewed Lisbon strategy.  The new initiative replaces eEurope as the key strategy for promoting an inclusive European information society.  Research, education and training are recognized as playing roles in this process.

i2010 is a strategy which has several policy priorities:

  • Increase EU investment in research on information and communication technologies (ICT) by 80%
  • To promote an inclusive European information society. To close the gap between the information society “haves and have nots”, the Commission will propose: an Action Plan on e-Government for citizen-centred services (2006); three “quality of life” ICT flagship initiatives (technologies for an ageing society, intelligent vehicles that are smarter, safer and cleaner, and digital libraries making multimedia and multilingual European culture available to all (2007); and actions to overcome the geographic and social “digital divide”, culminating in a European Initiative on e-Inclusion (2008).

i2010 education and training aspects: There is a growing scale of and rise in demand for education and training to respond to the requirements of the knowledge society. With an increased interest in the achievement of the Lisbon goals, it is probable that the knowledge-based society aspect of ICT policy will rise in importance.

Specific to education and training, i2010 aims to “invest more in human capital through better education and skills”. The initiative recognises that educational institutions are facing the challenge of having to respond quickly in a rapidly moving environment. Digital competence is becoming a new category of “general competency”, like numeracy or literacy skills, which will encourage the potential of knowledge workers. According to this rationale, all stakeholders should be mobilised to develop and foster a true culture of lifelong learning from the earliest age. Improvement of economic performance goes hand-in-hand with organisational renewal and improvement of skills.  i2010 initiatives will be funded by DG Research Sixth and Seventh Frameworks Programmes (for more on FP7 see "EU research funding in jeopardy" in this issue).

i2010 Press release
Impact assessment of i2010
Seventh Framework Programme