According to the European Commission’s data, education throughout the European Union is far from reaching the digital penetration which is needed to guarantee that students acquire the digital skills that are increasingly indispensable. The Commission states that by 2020, 90% of the jobs will require wide digital knowledge from job seekers. These skills need to be gained since a very early education stage and consolidated later on.
To face all these challenges, the European Commission launched the “Opening Up Education” project on September 25th. There are three objectives set:
To promote Innovation for organizations, teachers and students by granting support in developing new business and educational models and ensuring that open online resources are available.
Access to Open Education Resources (OER) in order to strengthen its centrality by ensuring that all educational materials supported by Erasmus + program are available under open licenses; encouraging partnerships between content to increase the supply of OER; and launching the Open Education Europa portal, which will be introduced below.
Fostering Connectivity and Innovation by promoting research on cutting-edge learning technologies, applications, services and resources.
Although there is public interest and even enthusiasm about such an initiative towards a digital revolution, it still has a long way to walk. Actually, no budget has been allocated yet to the project, except that it will be funded by the Erasmus + and Horizon 2020 programs. The Erasmus + program (2014-2020) has been set aside €19 billion, whereas the Horizon 2020 budget is still under consideration.
In the meanwhile, the Open Education Europa portal has been launched. There are many resources available to organizations, teachers and students such as Massive Open Online Courses and platforms to exchange good practices and experiences. So far, that might give just a taste of what is yet to come: the will to undertake the modernization and digitalization of education in the European Union.
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