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According to the European Commission’s recently published ‘Digital Agenda Scoreboard 2012’, nearly half (47 per cent) of European workers do not feel confident that their level of computer and/or internet skills are currently sufficient if they were to look for a job or change job within a year.
This ‘Scoreboard’ charts the progress of the various aims of the European Commission’s Digital Agenda for Europe (DAE), a flagship initiative launched in 2010 as part of the EU’s strategy ‘Europe 2020’ to turn Europe into a smart economy with sustainable and inclusive growth by 2020. One of the central components within the DAE is the action area to address the digital skills deficit in Europe, which has the potential to jeopardise Europe’s competiveness and levels of employment and innovation.
Other findings of the ‘Scoreboard’ show that marginal progress has been made in relation to access to, and use of, computers and the internet by European citizens. Despite this, a lack of skills is still cited as one of the main reasons why Europeans do not use the internet, and nearly 30% of Europeans feel that they possess low-level internet skills.
In addition to these skill levels being detrimental to Europe’s current progression toward becoming a smart and sustainable digital economy, the ‘Scoreboard’ also returns findings that this situation is likely to persist in the future, as currently only 1 out of 3 students in Europe is taught by teachers for whom participation in ICT training is compulsory.
If Europe’s teachers do not possess the ICT skills to effectively use technology, not only are the multiple benefits offered to education by technology going to waste, European school-goers will be at a significant disadvantage to their contemporaries worldwide, and Europe’s long-term competitiveness will be likely to suffer.