A new set of initiatives will be implemented by the European Commission to improve the poor rate of digital literacy among European adults, which the Commission says currently stands at just over half of the population.

The Digital Education Plan aims to improve knowledge and innovation in the age of rapid digital change and will see EU schools provided with adequate facilities to execute the required development, the Commission has stated.

“The digital age is expanding into all areas of our lives, and it is not just those who work in IT that will need to be alert of the digital transformation,” said Mariya Gabriel, EU Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society.

The digital skills gap is real. While already 90% of future jobs require some level of digital literacy, 44% of Europeans lack basic digital skills,” she said.

The plan is a follow-up to the Gothenburg Social Summit on 17 November, where Heads of State and Government met to discuss the challenges posed to education by rapid digitalisation, data privacy and the spread of fake news.

It will build on 2006’s Recommendation on Key Competences — a plan to improve educational development to cope with evolving labour markets — to promote innovation in the areas of science, tech and engineering.

The Commission laid out a number of concerns including a low rate of digital literacy among the European population, absence of efficient broadband at schools and a staggeringly low number of women in ICT professions.

Key aspects aimed at tackling these issues include rolling out high-speed broadband to schools and educational institutes, initiating a public awareness campaign, and scaling out a self-assessment tool on the use of technology, titled SELFIE.

The Digital Education Plan will consist of three key objectives: making better use of already-existing technologies; developing skills needed to operate in the modern digital environment, and; improving education through data analysis.

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