In Europe we have education placed high on the political agenda, indeed the first single EU-level strategy embracing both education and employment ‘Youth on the Move’ has recently been launched as a key facet of the Europe 2020 agenda!
Are we doing enough to keep Europeans ahead in education?
We know that education is critical to long-term global competitiveness. But are we focusing on education correctly to bridge the gap between ‘learning’ and ‘earning’? How can we better prepare our children for the digital world that awaits them in the job market? These issues will be the focus of Microsoft’s event entitled “ICT- Are we doing enough to keep Europeans ahead in education”, being held on 4th October in Brussels. The event will bring together policy makers and thought leaders who are interested in the state of e-education and the platform for innovative learning. Francesc Pedró, senior researcher, OECD, Marc Durando, Executive Director, European School Net and Stefan Sjöstrøm, General Manager, Public Sector, Microsoft will all contribute among public and private experts to look at an effective framework to prepare youth for the 21st century workplace.
The benefits of ICT in education reform have been widely acknowledged, Europe must now look to fully capitalize on its ICT potential by placing a greater emphasis on the use of ICT in schools. In the past decade, our lives have undergone a digital transformation that has changed the way we engage in almost all sectors of the economy. And the changes have just begun! New ICT opportunities and trends are being developed every year. For example, we are currently seeing ICT applications moving from desktop computers to the internet, through cloud computing. This is a veritable revolution in how IT services are delivered, allowing users to scale and virtualize resources over the Internet.
ICT is indeed on Europe’s radar, with important initiatives such as the Digital Agenda laying the foundations for smart, sustainable growth. This focus must be reflected in how we educate our youth. To keep up with our new digital reality, we must rethink the skills with which we are equipping our children as the knowledge economy lies in their hands. New Innovative pedagogical approaches in our schools will allow Europe to build a future generation that has ongoing access to relevant training and skills aquisition to take on the new challenges of the digital economy.
To keep up with a competitive digital economy through e-education, Europe can draw inspiration from many international initiatives. Some regions, such as Latin America, have implemented comprehensive ICT programmes in schools, like the one-to-one computing vision, an initiative which refers to equipping each child of the programme with a computer, whether the technology is a PC, a laptop a netbook or another device to be utilized for learning.
Computers, software and the internet have to be fully and naturally integrated into the education process. Transforming education fit for the 21st century cannot be achieved without the support of technology and digital skills, which enables students to build their first steps as a future knowledge worker. Better ICT integration in our schools will help Europe keep its leading position in education.
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