Progress on the European Commission's 2021-2027 digital education action plan

Briefing 16-03-2023

In a rapidly changing and increasingly digital world, the COVID-19 pandemic has further increased the need to develop the use of technology in education and training. Appropriate skills and competences, as well as digital infrastructure and equipment, are key in this regard. When adapting education to the digital age, ensuring equity and inclusion is crucial, too. The 2021-2027 digital education action plan (DEAP), the European Commission's flagship initiative adopted in September 2020, calls for high-quality, inclusive and accessible digital education supported by reinforced cooperation and exchange at EU level. The two strategic priorities set out in the plan are the development of a high-performing digital education ecosystem and the strengthening of citizens' digital skills and competences. Several actions were put forward to support these priorities. Implementation of each of these actions is already on track or completed. For instance, the Council adopted its recommendation on blended learning approaches in November 2021, and the Commission published ethical guidelines on the use of artificial intelligence and data in teaching and learning for educators in October 2022. In the second quarter of 2023, the Commission is expected to present proposals for two Council recommendations, namely on the enabling factors for digital education and on improving the provision of digital skills in education and training. In 2024, the Commission is due to carry out a comprehensive review to evaluate the DEAP's outreach and impact and, if necessary, propose additional measures or modifications. In its March 2021 resolution on shaping digital education policy, the European Parliament acknowledged the DEAP's extended scope and ambition. At the same time, it urged that digital transition funds be used to increase education systems' digital capacity, and stressed the need to close the digital divide and ensure quality digital education based on a lifelong learning approach. According to Parliament, financial support for teachers' professional development is also crucial.