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The European Commission has just published the long-awaited Digital Education Action Plan 2021-2027, a vision of modernised and quality technology-supported education and training for the future or in the Commission’s words: a plan of “Resettling education and training for the digital age”.
The plan contains the key findings from stakeholder consultations, a set of guiding principles to equip education and training for the digital age and two main strategic priorities encompassing a range of actions to achieve them.
The findings from stakeholder consultations confirm the impact of COVID-19 on widespread delivery of digital education and learning – pointing to its relevance but also risks and pitfalls. Online provision in some instances happened in an ad hoc manner, without fully ensuring quality, access and inclusiveness, which are the main concerns respondents reported. They consider educators’ digital skills to be the most important aspect in online provision, followed by institutional and leadership vision, and suitable content and infrastructure.
To ensure adequate education and training systems of the future, the Commission outlines the guiding principles that call for high quality and inclusive digital education, mindful of privacy and set as a strategic goal of all actors – which implies holistic societal engagement in transforming education for the digital age, supported by appropriate investment in infrastructure and organisational capacities and skills. To avoid further digital divide and ensure equality and inclusiveness of all learner groups, it is key to support development of digital skills and competences for all, and make basic digital skills part of the core transferable skills of every individual.
The ambition set in the Plan is based on two priorities pertaining to the educational setting and capacity to use it: the development of high-performing digital education ecosystem and enhancing digital skills and competences for the digital transformation. For the former, the Plan puts forward a set of actions which are to contribute to developing frameworks for digital education, ensure cooperation and exchange of good practice, supported by adequate infrastructure (connectivity, exchange platforms, or the proposed Erasmus Teacher Academies - networks of teacher education institutions and teacher associations) and to ensure ethical use of technology through guidelines and training. The second strategic priority addresses the need for digital competencies and digital literacy developed from an early age, ensuring citizens who understand emerging technologies and are equipped to deal with digitalised services in their daily life, job seekers with adequate skills as well as with advanced digital skills to meet the market demand for digital experts. The Commission proposes developing common guidelines for digital literacy, updating the European Digital Competence Framework, developing a recognised European Digital Skills Certificate as evidence of citizens’ digital skills level, improving provision of digital skills as well as monitoring of data collection on student digital skills and professional development for educators in all sectors of education and training. Last but not least, the Plan calls for incentives to have a better gender ratio in STEM areas in cooperation with relevant EU initiatives.
More information here.