Today, the Commission is launching an EU-wide open public consultation to ensure that its forthcoming new Digital Education Action Plan will reflect the EU’s education and training experience during the Coronavirus crisis. The pandemic saw the widespread closure of schools and universities with a switch to distance and online learning and the use of digital technologies on a massive and unprecedented scale. The consultation will help draw lessons from the experiences and inform the proposals of the Action Plan, which will be of key importance in the COVID-19 recovery period.
Margrethe Vestager, Executive Vice-President for A Europe Fit for the Digital Age, said: “The corona crisis has challenged us in many different ways. Parents, teachers and students alike, have had, without any warning, to switch rapidly to e-learning. This open, public consultation will give the opportunity for all to tell us about the challenges that they have experienced, but also about what they have learned and what solutions have been found. It has been a steep, real-time, learning curve and we are keen to hear more about the findings. The Digital Education Action Plan will build on these lessons in order to put forward a coherent and well-tailored European vision and set of impactful actions for digital education.”
Margaritis Schinas, Vice-President for Promoting our European Way of Life, said: “The crisis amplified existing socio-economic inequalities and pointed to digital education divides that need to be urgently addressed. The public consultation on the new Digital Education Action Plan gives citizens the opportunity to share their views and experiences and shape the European agenda for digital education.”
Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, said: “Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we witnessed the largest disruption to education and training in Europe’s recent history. 100 million students, teachers and education staff globally have been affected, and many of them have turned to digital education to continue the academic year. For many, this has been the first time they have fully used digital technologies for teaching and learning. With this public consultation, we would like to understand and learn from all these experiences. We are all part of this discussion- let us work together and ensure that the new Digital Education Action Plan paves the way for truly inclusive and high quality digital education in Europe.”
The public consultation seeks to gather the views of all citizens, institutions, and organisations from the public and private sectors, willing to share their views and experience of the unprecedented crisis and their vision for digital education in Europe. The consultation will be available in all EU official languages as of 9 July and will run until 4 September. A series of online outreach events during the summer, to gather additional views on digital education and the COVID-19 crisis experience, will complement the process.
Digital transformation is one of the European Commission’s priorities as set out in its flagship strategy A Europe fit for the digital age. High quality and inclusive education and training are a key part of reaching this ambition and ensuring that all Europeans are prepared to live and work in the digital age. In order to deliver on this vision, the European Commission will put forward in September 2020 a new Digital Education Action Plan. The new Action Plan will be a key instrument in the COVID-19 recovery process, taking into consideration the lessons learnt from the crisis and reflecting the long-term vision for European digital education.