Digital skills and competences and successful digital education and training: fit for the digital era

Today, the Council has adopted a set of recommendations on the key enabling factors for successful digital education and training, and on improving the provision of digital skills and competences in education and training.

With this package, the Council is addressing the need to make education fit for a genuine digital transformation and able to keep pace with the times, while providing the necessary skills and competences that are – and will be – necessary in this new reality.

Four in five people to have basic digital skills by 2030

The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the need to improve the digital readiness of education and training systems in terms of resilience, accessibility, high-quality and inclusiveness. What is more, under the Digital Decade commitment, the EU’s target is for 80% of the population aged 16-74 to have at least basic digital skills by 2030.

Against this backdrop, and in the context of the European Year of Skills (2023), it is more relevant than ever to focus on the needs of education and training when it comes to digital transformation, taking action at all levels (pre-primary, primary, secondary and vocational education and training, higher education, adult learning), in a lifelong learning perspective, and for all groups of the population (e.g. young people, adults and professionals).

Digital skills and competences

The Council recommendation adopted today on digital skills and competences recommends that member states agree on national, and where appropriate regional, strategies or strategic approaches for digital education and skills and competences, inviting them to:

  • set or review national objectives for the provision of these skills and competences
  • take measures targeting ‘priority or hard-to-reach groups’
  • strengthen digital skills and competences in primary and secondary education
  • promote the teaching of digital skills transversally in different subjects
  • enhance digital skills and competences for all students in higher education, providing learning opportunities across levels and disciplines
  • give adults opportunities to acquire digital skills and address the shortage of ICT professionals

Successful digital education and training

At the same time, the Council recommendation on the key enabling factors for successful digital education and training focuses on how to make education and training systems fit for the digital age. It provides guidance on how to prepare people to use technology creatively, safely and responsibly, based on an understanding of how it functions.

Among other measures, it calls on member states to:

  • integrate digital technologies into teaching and empower teachers to use them
  • support the development of digital educational tools, including research into the impact of artificial intelligence
  • take cybersecurity measures in education and training, including awareness raising
  • invest in connectivity, digital infrastructure and digital accessibility in education and training

Next steps

Both recommendations were adopted today and they will be published in the Official Journal of the European Union. The European Commission will monitor their implementation across member states; it will then prepare and send a report to the Council within five years.