Year 5 - number 147 Wednesday 24 february 2021

Digital education (2021-2027): changing eLearning in the EU

The European Union's vision of how to strengthen cooperation to bring effectiveness, inclusion and engagement to digital education.

The massive and "unprecedented" use of eLearning during the pandemic prompted the European Commission to launch an open consultation to gather experiences and good practices to make distance, online and blended education more effective, inclusive and engaging. The suggestions collected between June and September 2020 formed the basis of the new Digital Education Action Plan (2021-2027). What are the two priorities of this plan and what are the difficulties it aims to solve? Let's start with the needs.

Data on digitisation in Europe

Eurostat 2019 data highlights the infrastructure and connectivity gaps in several areas in Europe. In particular, where household purchasing power is lower, the main obstacle to distance education is the lack of broadband connectivity and computers. Italy, for example, is in third place, ahead of Romania and Bulgaria, with 19% of 16-24 year olds living in households without digital skills, compared to 8% for the European Union (EU) 27 average. As for teachers, the public consultation showed that 60% of them learned how to use digital education tools during the pandemic without adequate preparation and, more significantly, 50% believe they should continue learning. Read also " Support for connectivity in Italian schools" and " Ideas for making distance learning work in schools". 

Priority 1: Promoting the development of a highly efficient digital education ecosystem

The starting point for ensuring the success of distance education in Europe is to intensify joint efforts to meet the demands for:

Priority 2: Developing the digital competences and skills needed for the digital transformation

The second priority concerns the strengthening of students' digital competences, starting from pre-school, through:

The consultations launched by the European Commission have shown that the emergence of distance learning, dictated by the hectic pace of the pandemic, has further highlighted Europe's fragilities in basic and advanced e-skills, infrastructure and connectivity (from broadband to LMS). The two priorities of the Strategic Plan (2021-2027) respond precisely to the need to create a favourable environment for quality distance education by overcoming infrastructural obstacles, the lack of e-skills among teachers and students and by promoting young people and women, as well as strengthening coordination among Member States. 

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