‘Opening up Education’ improving digital education in Europe
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A new EU initiative will help give young people the computer skills they need to prosper in the 21st Century. More than 60% of nine year olds in the EU are in schools which are still not digitally equipped.
By 2020 more than 90% of Europe’s jobs will require computer skills, reflecting the ever-increasing role that technology plays in our lives. Despite this, many schools and universities do not have the resources, connectivity or equipment to keep pace with this change.
To combat this and help ensure that Europeans are able to compete in the digital age, the EU has launched the ‘Opening up Education’ initiative. It focuses on making more resources available for students, organisations and teachers and improving IT infrastructure and connectivity in schools.
The new EU initiative forms part of a wider EU plan to broaden IT skills in Europe. Despite the increasing role that digital technology plays in today’s society, only a limited number of us understand the workings behind our smartphones and laptops.
Launching the new strategy, EU education commissioner Androulla Vassiliou commented: “It’s not enough to understand how to use an app or programme; we need youngsters who can create their own.” This will give young people the skills they need for future employment, as well as generating creative, enterprising people for the European job market.
One of the concrete tools the Commission is introducing is a new website, Open Education Europa. The site will enable students, teachers and the general public to use and share free digital resources.
All educational materials produced with EU funding will be freely available for users on the site. The site will also provide a platform for teachers and students to discuss and promote better use of digital technologies in teaching, and share best practice.
‘Opening up Education’ will address other issues in digital education in Europe. There will be increased support for training teachers in how to use digital technology in the classroom, and funding to improve access to broadband and IT facilities in schools and universities.