15% of Youngsters in EU Countries Lack Digital Skills, Report Says

For the ninth year in a row, the European Commission has published its annual Education and Training Monitor, which analyses the evolution of education and training in the EU and its Member States, as well as presents strategies on how the education systems could contribute to society and the labour market. 

According to a press release issued by the European Commission, this year, the Monitor is focused on teaching and learning in the digital age, especially after seeing the importance of digital solutions on teaching and learning during the Corona pandemic, Erudera College News reports.

Regarding this issue, the Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth Mariya Gabriel expressed delight that digital education will be the focus of Education and Training Monitor this year, claiming that they are committed to increasing digital literacy in Europe because it is necessary to make big changes in digital education.

“Just recently the Commission proposed a package of initiatives, including the new Digital Education Action Plan 2021-2027, which will strengthen the contribution of education and training to the EU’s recovery from the coronavirus crisis, and help build a green and digital Europe,” she said.

Despite the investments of member states in digital infrastructure for education and training in recent years, the survey has revealed that a lot of people do not possess enough digital skills.

Data has shown that in all the surveyed countries, more than 15 per cent of pupils do not have sufficient digital skills. Whereas, another evidence from OECD shows that lower secondary teachers across  EU countries on rare occasions receive training on the use of information and communication technology for teaching.

In the annual Commission’s assessment on how European Union’s education systems are dealing with challenges in education, progress has been noted in reducing early school leaving, and increasing engagement in all education sectors, starting from early childhood to tertiary education.

Among others, the Monitor also highlights the challenge of helping youngsters gain the basic skills, as around one in five 15 year-olds is showing lower levels of competence in reading, math and science.

“Given the impact of socio-economic background on pupils’ performance in basic and digital skills, it is critical to tackle disadvantages in education and training, and to reduce the digital divide among pupils,” the press release reads.

According to Monitor’s latest data, the EU member states have kept the public spending on education at around 10 per cent of the total public spending.

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