The European Commission adopts a new Digital Education Action Plan (2021-2027)
On September 30, the European Commission adopted and presented to the public the new Digital Education Action Plan (2021-2027), which offers the main guidelines for an enhanced European connectivity and digital infrastructure with the purpose of increasing the European potential in research and innovation during the next digital age.
In July 2020, the EU’s Innovation and Research Commissioner Mariya Gabriel had declared that the objective of a new Digital Education Action Plan "will be to close the digital skills gap and make digital literacy a reality for all.” To that purpose, the document presented on September 30, which has benefitted from an extended public debate (June-September 2020), puts forward two priorities: fostering the development of a high-performing digital education ecosystem and enhancing digital skills and competences. The first objective will need specific measures: a strong and extended infrastructure, digital capacity planning and development, digitally competent teachers, and high-quality learning content through user-friendly tools and platforms. The enhancement of digital skills will pursue the implementation of basic digital skills and competences from an early age and advanced skills in order to increase the number of digital specialists.
The European Commission assumes the responsibility of launching a dialogue with EU members, of developing a European Digital Education Content Framework and supporting digital transformations at all levels of education. The Commission will also create a European Digital Skills Certificate recognized across Europe by governments and employers and develop ethical guidelines on artificial intelligence and data usage in teaching and learning for educators.
The Covid-19 crisis has shown the disparities between urban and rural areas, the difference in digital competences between generations and the fact that most universities and schools were not prepared to face an unprecedented shift to online learning. The Digital Education Action Plan confronts these challenges in a coordinated effort to assure the passage from emergency-focused solutions to a more sustainable and equitable digital education.