Presentation of the New Digital Education Action Plan 2021-2027 adopted by the European Commission

22. 10. 2020.

European Commission presented the new Digital Education Action Plan at the webinar on Monday, October 19th.

The European Commission adopted a new Digital Education Action Plan 2021-2027 on September 30th, as a key document of the European Commission in its efforts for digital transition in Europe. This Action Plan builds on the first Digital Education Action Plan adopted in January 2018, which lasts until the end of this year. The scope of the new action plan is more ambitious, has a wider scope and does not only apply to formal education, but also has a longer duration, until 2027.

The Action Plan was presented by Georgi Dimitrov, Project leader ‘New Digital Education Action Plan’ and Deputy Head of Unit 'Innovation and EIT', Directorate-General 'Education, Youth, Sport and Culture', European Commission. In his presentation, he pointed out that the pandemic has further highlighted inequalities and differences in society, especially in access to education, and that this situation should be seen as an opportunity and a challenge to adapt education and training to the needs of the digital age.

Work on the Action Plan started before the pandemic and is based on the political guidelines of the President of the European Commission, including the need to unlock the potential of digital technologies for learning and teaching and the need to develop digital skills for all. In his presentation, Mr. Dimitrov stressed that the education and training system is increasingly part of the digital transformation and can harness its benefits and opportunities; however, it needs to manage effectively risks it brings.  The pandemic affected the whole world, especially affecting education, but it also accelerated the shift to online education and use of digital technologies and based on the lessons learned so far we could learn.

Veronica Mobilio presented the results of stakeholder and public consultations held over several months. For more than 60% of teachers, pupils and students, the forced transition to digital education in extraordinary circumstances was the first encounter with online teaching. The information gathered indicates that COVID-19 has led to the widespread use of digital learning methods in education throughout the European Union, but this has happened hastily and often in an unplanned manner.

95% of respondents believe that the pandemic has led to a turning point in the application of technology in education and training. Respondents also believe that digital skills and competencies of teachers are the most important component of digital education, followed by vision and strategy for using digital technologies, digital resources and materials and infrastructure. More than half of the respondents (62%) believe that they improved their digital skills and competencies during the pandemic and 50% of them believe that they should improve them further in the future. As the areas for future progress identified are digital content development, Internet safety, and privacy and ethical standards.

Finally, Yves Punie presented the research related to COVID-19 and the strategic priorities of the Action Plan prepared and in progress by the Joint Research Centre at the European Commission. The Reports can be found on the JRC website          .

As a reminder, the Action Plan has two long-term strategic priorities:

i. developing a high performing digital education ecosystem

ii. enhancing digital competencies for the digital transformation.

Recording of the webinars is available on the EDEN website.

EDEN webinar screenshot