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Rural Vision
News article31 May 2023Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development, Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy2 min read

European Commission proposes measures to boost digital skills

The European Commission has adopted two proposals for Council recommendations as part of the European Year of Skills, to enhance digital education and skills development. The proposals aim to support Member States and the education sector in providing accessible and high-quality digital education and training for European citizens. 

The first proposal on “key enabling factors for digital education” addresses the lack of a comprehensive approach to digital education and training and on the conditions that need to be in place for digital education and training to be possible. It urges Member States to bridge the digital divide, exacerbated by the COVID-19 crisis, and ensure universal access to advanced and inclusive digital education. By investing in infrastructure, governance, teacher education, and innovation, a robust and holistic digital education framework can be established. This proposal for a recommendation recognises that school connectivity is uneven and that internet connections in schools are still rare, in particular in rural and remote areas. It also recalls the Union’s target to reach gigabit connectivity everywhere, including in rural areas, by 2030.

The second proposal on “improving the provision of digital skills in education and training” focuses on how to teach digital technologies, addressing varying levels of digital skills across different population groups. Member States are encouraged to integrate digital skills throughout all levels of education and training. This involves setting incremental objectives and implementing targeted interventions to reach priority groups. The proposal also emphasises the importance of supporting IT in schools, fostering the development of digital skills among adults, and addressing bottlenecks in the IT industry. This second proposal also acknowledges the need to further support digital skills development including by addressing the gap between rural areas and cities and the high impact that age, socio-economic background and education have on the level of digital skills.

The Commission stands ready to support the implementation of both proposals by facilitating mutual learning and exchanges among Member States and all relevant stakeholders through EU instruments, such as the Technical Support Instrument. The Commission also promotes digital education and skills through cooperation within the European Digital Education Hub and through EU funding, such as Erasmus+ and the Digital Europe Programme, the Just Transition Fund, the European Regional Development Fund, the European Social Fund Plus and the Recovery and Resilience Facility, Horizon Europe, and NDICI-Global Europe. Additionally, a pilot project for the European Digital Skills Certificate will be initiated to enhance the recognition and awareness of digital skills across the EU.

If you are interested to learn more, you can refer to the press release.

The Rural Pact Support Office organises on 8 June a dedicated webinar on digital skills in rural areas that will provide practical examples of actions that can be taken on the ground.