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According to estimations, by 2020 90% of all jobs will require digital skills whereas, at the moment, 40% of EU citizens aged 16-74 have no or low computer skills. Very few teachers feel confident about their ICT skills – figures show that 70% want to develop them further and do not feel competent enough. Situation is not better even among the student population as only 30% of students belong to the group of the digitally competent.
After the Commission’s communication “Opening Up Education”, which calls for more ICT skills and innovation in education, the European Parliament adopted this month the report on New technologies and open educational resources.
The fifteen-page report focuses on four relevant areas related to the use of OERs: opportunities & challenges, teachers’ and learners’ skills needed, widening the reach of ICT and OERs, and the contribution of EU programmes to better integration and use of new technologies in education and training. Throughout the report emphasis is placed on soft skills, equality, inclusive strategies and free access to ICT, quality assurance, internationalisation through MOOCs and OERs, as well as on the need for stronger links between education and the business sector.
Teacher training has one of the central roles in the report, hand in hand with the exchange of good practice, sharing of experiences and the creation of common learning platforms. Besides the Open Education Europa portal, member states are encouraged to use funding possibilities through European Structural and Investment Funds, Erasmus+ and Horizon 2020 to tackle the existing EU-wide challenges such as digital divide or skills gap.