European Commission unveils plans for digital education

The European Commission Wednesday adopted a new Digital Education Action Plan, which proposes a set of initiatives for high quality, inclusive and accessible digital education in Europe.

“The key lesson of the COVID-19 crisis is that digital education should no longer be viewed as an island of its own but considered an integral part of all education and training,” Margrethe Vestager, the Commission’s executive vice president responsible for A Europe Fit for the Digital Age, quoted a teacher as saying at a press conference in Brussels.

Vestager said that it was with this in mind that the Commission has proposed that 20 percent of the Recovery and Resilience Facility is invested in digital transformation through the reskilling and upskilling of people and the modernization of public services including education.

Under the 750-billion-euro (879-billion-U.S.-dollar) recovery package agreed by European Union (EU) leaders in July, the Recovery and Resilience Facility is allocated 672.5 billion euros, amounting to the biggest single program.

Vestager said modernizing education is about adapting what is taught and how it is taught. A framework will be developed on the use of artificial intelligence and data in teaching and learning.

The action plan also prioritizes the enhancement of digital skills and competences as more than one in five young people fail to reach a basic level of digital skills, she noted.

Vestager said a new certificate will be created to serve as a kind of “passport” for Europeans to indicate their level of digital proficiency.

Meanwhile, the European Commission adopted a communication on the European Research Area, an initiative that focuses on research to enable ground-breaking and marketable innovation.

Vestager said EU member states which are below the EU average in scientific research should increase their total investment in research and development by 50 percent in the next five years, utilizing EU funds.