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Digital Skills for a Stronger Europe – All Digital Week 2021 launched!

On Monday 22 March 2021 ALL DIGITAL launched its annual All Digital Week campaign with a high-level online stakeholder event titled “Digital Skills for a Stronger Europe” highlighting and discussing a range of topics relating to the importance digital skills in a post-pandemic Europe.

The Covid-19 pandemic has presented humanity with a huge challenge to our known infrastructures – education systems, healthcare provision, social support, businesses and community cohesion. Society is tired of it all, and misinformation is one of the few things flourishing. At the same time, we have all been forced to learn new digital skills. New skills to continue learning, teaching, working, running a business, communicating with loved ones, and even discerning what information we can trust.

During All Digital Week hundreds of events across Europe support educators to ‘be a digital hero’, boosting citizens’ employability, helping them to access healthcare and government services, increase their social connections, and counter disinformation. Events will also help businesses to become more resilient focusing on social media and efficient homeworking.

Prof Achilles Kameas, Chair of ALL DIGITAL welcomed delegates to the event, gave a brief overview of our work and members.

Peter Palvolgyi, ALL DIGITAL CEO, introduced All Digital Week to delegates with a summary of its history, scope and relevance.

Stefano Scarpetta, Director for Employment, Labour and Social Affairs at OECD, gave a keynote address with detailed statistical insights from the OECD on how, and more precisely who the pandemic has affected with further fascinating reflections on post-pandemic digital skills needs and trends. See the presentation

European Commissioner Mariya Gabriel, in her audio message provided her reflections on the work of ALL DIGITAL, the Digital Education Action Plan, and the funding of the Recovery and Resilience Facility. Commissioner Gabriel noted, “Over the last 10 years you and the digital competence centres have made an extremely valuable contribution to the development of digital skills of European people making inclusion your motto.  It is exactly on the point of not leaving anyone behind that I would like to focus. Your work supporting the 43% of Europeans lacking digital skills, helping them fully participate in the digital society is inspiring. And even more, so as you are widening the concept of inclusion, to reach out to all Europeans living in urban and rural areas.”

In 2020 the European Commission consulted stakeholders and published the Digital Education Action Plan, which sets out wide-ranging principles, priorities, and actions to take Europe forward with digital skills. Commissioner Gabriel concluded with the call to action, “Let’s work together to make sure we do not turn our back on those who are not yet benefiting from the digital transformation, but on the contrary, we provide continuous and targeted support“.

A panel discussion then followed, which brought together high-level speakers from the EU Institutions, stakeholders and industry. Prof Achilles Kameas and Peter Palvolgyi moderated the discussion with the four panellists, asking a range of questions deriving from the Digital Education Action Plan and from ALL DIGITAL’s own Manifesto.

Veronica Mobilio, Policy Officer at DG Education, Youth, Sport & Culture, EC, was asked to consider how the COVID-19 crisis can be to be a ‘turning point’ for how technology is used in education and training, and how broadly digital education can be seen to be more integral to all education and training. Victor Negrescu MEP, Vice-Chair CULT Committee on Education & Training, was asked about how we can capitalise on the good intentions of citizens with respect to digital skills training in a post-pandemic world and how the Resilience and Recovery Facility will benefit the Digital Education Action Plan. Simon Delakorda, Director of the Institute for Electronic Participation, considered how all citizens can benefit for digital skills training and support, with no one left behind, and on the role of NGOs in this. Finally, Angeliki Dedopoulou, EU Public Affairs Senior Manager with Huawei, was asked about the initiatives that Huawei are doing to support citizens digital skills development, and about the policy recommendations that industry would have in this area.

Finally the event concluded with a short presentation by Ekaterina Clifford, Communication Manager of ALL DIGITAL with a campaign video and All Digital Week 2021 overview, how people can get involved, and stakeholder events that would take place during the week.

Watch the video