Digital in education and skills – Pre-legislative synthesis of national, regional and local positions on the European Commission’s initiative

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Series Details PE 739.270
Publication Date December 2022
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This briefing offers a pre-legislative synthesis of the positions of national, regional and local governmental organisations on the European Commission's forthcoming initiative, 'digital in education and skills'. It forms part of an EPRS series offering a summary of the pre-legislative state of play and advance consultation on a range of key European Commission priorities during its 5 year term in office. It seeks to present the current state of affairs, examine how existing policy is working on the ground, and identify best practice and ideas for the future on the part of governmental organisations at all levels of the European system of multilevel governance. EPRS analysis of the positions of partner organisations at European Union (EU), national, regional and local levels suggests that they would like the following main considerations to be reflected in the discussion on the forthcoming European initiative on 'digital in education and skills'.

* As part of the digitalisation of education and skills, a number of innovative learning tools and platforms have been devised in many European States and regions. Still the search to improve the digital experience in skills education through better provision of online services and material is ongoing. Digital skills innovation and the creation of new online material is necessary in order to avoid 'digital fatigue'.

* Issues of digital divide arise in terms of age, gender, disability, social strata, wealth and ethnic background. These divisions require attention and action as they create a two-tier society and cause further social exclusion.

* The digital divide also has a territorial element. Certain EU regions with particular geographic characteristics, such as peripheral, insular and cross-border areas, and mountainous and depopulated regions are lagging behind in both broadband provision and digital skills development. The growing digital divide between urban and rural areas is another challenge.

* A lack of qualified personnel with digital skills remains a hindrance to further digitalisation. Additional resources need to be invested in various sectors to train IT personnel, and school and university staff, to create new teaching material and online platforms. It is important to promote broadband connectivity, train all sections of the population and provide vocational training.

* The EU has an important role generating policies and developing strategies in digital affairs. EU funds also contribute significantly to the development of the digital dimension in education and skills.

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