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80% of students in EU countries use digital resourses

´Opening up Education´ to boost innovation and digital skills in schools and universities

Redacción

 To help kick-off the initiative, the Commission today launches a new website, Open Education Europa, which will allow students, practitioners and educational institutions to share free-to-use open educational resources.

Between 50% and 80% of students in EU countries never use digital textbooks, exercise software, broadcasts/podcasts, simulations or learning games. Most teachers at primary and secondary level do not consider themselves as ´digitally confident´ or able to teach digital skills effectively, and 70% would like more training in using ICTs. Pupils in Latvia, Lithuania and the Czech Republic are the most likely to have internet access at school (more than 90%), twice as much as in Greece and Croatia (around 45%).

Higher education also faces a digital challenge: with the number of EU students set to rise significantly in the next decade, universities need to adapt traditional teaching methods and offer a mix of face-to-face and online learning possibilities, such as MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses), which allow individuals to access education anywhere, anytime and through any device. But many universities are not ready for this change.

A joint initiative led by Androulla Vassiliou, Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, and Neelie Kroes, Commission Vice-President, responsible for the Digital Agenda, Opening up Education focuses on three main areas:

  • Creating opportunities for organisations, teachers and learners to innovate;
  • Increased use of Open Educational Resources (OER), ensuring that educational materials produced with public funding are available to all;
  • and Better ICT infrastructure and connectivity in schools.

Initiatives linked to Opening up Education will be funded with support from Erasmus+, the new EU programme for education, training, youth and sport, and Horizon 2020, the new research and innovation programme, as well as the EU structural funds. For example, Erasmus+ will offer funding to education providers to ensure business models are adapted to technological change and to support teachers’ development through open online courses. All educational materials supported by Erasmus+ will be freely available to the public under open licences.

The impact of Opening up Education will be boosted by recommendations due to be published next summer by the high level group for the modernisation of higher education. The group, launched by Commissioner Vassiliou and chaired by Ireland’s former President, Mary McAleese, is currently assessing how higher education can make best use of new modes of teaching and learning.

This initiative also ties in with the Grand Coalition for Digital Jobs, a multi-stakeholder platform tackling the lack of ICT skills and up to 900,000 unfilled ICT-related vacancies.

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