European Commission published today its annual Education and Training Monitor. The Monitor analyses how education and training is evolving in the EU and its Member States. This year, the 2020 Monitor has a special focus on teaching and learning in the digital age. The coronavirus crisis demonstrated the importance of digital solutions for teaching and learning and highlighted existing weaknesses. The report will be presented during today’s Digital Education Hackathon.
Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, Mariya Gabriel, said: “I am delighted that digital education is the lead theme of this year’s Education and Training Monitor, the Commission’s flagship report on education in Europe. We believe it is necessary to bring about deep changes in digital education and we are committed to increasing digital literacy in Europe. 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.”
Despite Member State investment in digital infrastructure for education and training in recent years, large disparities persist, both between and within countries. Contrary to the commonly held view that today’s young people are a generation of ‘digital natives’, survey results indicate that many do not develop sufficient digital skills. Across all surveyed countries, more than 15% of the pupil population have insufficient digital skills. In addition, evidence from the OECD indicates that lower secondary teachers in EU countries only rarely receive training on the use of information and communication technology (ICT) for teaching, and that teachers report a strong need for professional development in the use of ICT skills for teaching.
In its annual assessment of how education systems in the European Union are tackling the major challenges in education, the Commission highlights progress in reducing early school leaving, and increasing participation in all education sectors, from early childhood through to tertiary education. The Monitor points out, nonetheless, the persistent challenge of equipping all young people with basic skills. Around one in five 15 year-olds is demonstrating an insufficient level of competence in reading, maths and science, to participate fully in society. 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.
Recognising that proper investment in education contributes to economic growth and social inclusion, EU Member States have maintained public spending on education at around 10% of total public spending, according to the Monitor’s most recent data.
The Education and Training Monitor analyses the main challenges for European education systems and presents policies that can make them more responsive to societal and labour market needs. The report comprises a cross-country comparison, with 27 in-depth country reports.
Education remains high on the EU’s political agenda. On 30 September, the Commission adopted two initiatives that will strengthen the contribution of education and training to the EU’s recovery from the coronavirus crisis. Setting out a vision for a European Education Area to be achieved by 2025, the Commission proposed new initiatives, more investment and stronger Member State cooperation to help all Europeans, of all ages, benefit from the EU’s rich education and training offer. The Commission also adopted a new Digital Education Action Plan, reflecting lessons learned from the coronavirus crisis, and devising a plan for a high-performing digital education ecosystem with enhanced digital competences for the digital transformation.