Commission urges Member States to recognise skills gained outside school and university

As part of its strategy for creating jobs and growth, the European Commission has launched an initiative to boost the recognition of skills and competences gained outside school or university.
The Commission’s proposal aims to increase job opportunities in particular for the young unemployed and those with few formal qualifications such as older and low-skilled workers. It also seeks to increase access to higher education, especially among mature students.
Through this recommendation, the Commission is urging Member States to establish national systems for the validation of non-formal and informal learning by 2015. This would allow citizens to obtain a full or partial qualification on the basis of skills and competences acquired outside formal education. 

Towards a European Cloud Computing Strategy

Cloud computing represents a paradigm shift away from today’s decentralised IT systems. It is already transforming providers of IT services and it will change the way other industrial sectors provision their IT needs as end users, as well the way citizens interact with their computer and their mobile devices. Cloud computing, although in its early days, is already a commercial reality and the adoption rate of cloud computing services is growing.
The EU needs to become not only cloud friendly but cloud active to fully realise the benefits of cloud computing. Besides allowing for the provision of cloud computing in its various forms, the relevant environment in the EU has to address the needs of the end users and protect the right of citizens. At the same time, it should allow for the development of a strong industry in this sector of Europe.

Digital Trends 2012 Conference, Enabling Mobile Technology, Athens, 14th December 2012

Since the ICT sector is radically influenced by Mobile Technology, the ICT department is called to design or adopt the appropriate applications that will improve customer experience and increase the competitiveness of products and services.Given the increasing tendency of businesses to outsource the design and the development of Mobile applications, while at the same time disregard the resources of ICT and the role of CIO, Digital Trends 2012 will help ICT Directors to formulate a comprehensive strategy for the adoption of Mobile Technologies.
Following the successful organization of the European conference “Digital Trends 2011”, Digital Trends 2012 is a unique opportunity for professionals to get the appropriate know-how on the effective use of Mobile Technologies. To meet distinguished professionals, in a one-day conference and a half-day workshop, and to be informed about the emerging and unprecedented world of Mobile.
Event Organizer: Manolis Labovas (Assistant Marketing&Program Manager at ΕΔΕΠ – HEPIS). More information about the topics you may find here.

«State of Art» in the field of Green IT

In Europe energy is mostly provided by a mix of fossil energy sources and nuclear power with small addition of renewable sources such wind, solar, hydroelectricity…Last studies shows that 10% of the total electricity produced is use by computers in large parts of the world.
Reducing footprints from IT industry is one of the main aims of the European Commission and from the governments of member states. The IT industry has started from last years to develop a more sustainable approach and reduce footprints of the industry.
This move starts since the conception of the devices, organised and designed to produce less wastes, less sub products, and of course less consumption of electricity. For this purpose Green IT specialists are engaged in companies to support the “Green Approach”. The benefits for the IT industry stay in less costs of production, less waste to retreat and of course, when devices consume less electricity this costs less for the companies. This is the “Win-Win” Green approach! To sustain this strategy, more and more companies try to engage specialists, of Green IT, or specialists who are able to support the green implementation.
Few training organisations such universities or high schools provide specific teaching for green. It is why a consortium of different organisations dealing with IT, and trainings are studying the Green IT market needs, define European Specialists Profiles for Green ICT, and will provide training guidelines to training organisations to train the future specialists of the sector.
The first findings by analysing the working field are clear, Green IT competences are transversal; Technical competences are the basic to integrate companies with green objectives. Those competences can stay in designing, organise new devices, or process, but to be efficient specialist have to do their work with a long term perspective on how to manage the technical change in the line of the global strategy of the company. They also have to understand the business of the company and to stick with it. Also a very important competence is to deal with change resistance inside the company or with customers and network of the company! This is not the most easy to acquire but is decisive in the recruitment process : ability to analyse, to assess, to teach, to guide colleagues, and customers, to deal with ability and psychology with partners and members of the team is absolutely decisive. The European Specialist Profiles for Green IT professions show the most important competences in this emerging field who take more and more space in the business area.
Author: Francois Adoue
Maison de la promotion Sociale
Director of e-Jobs Observatory
Région de Bordeaux , France

«En matière de Green IT, on reste trop dans l’opérationnel, pas dans la stratégie, encore moins dans la gouvernance»

English Summary: 
« In terms of Green IT, we are too much operational ,
not strategical, much less leader. » 
Today, many businesses are considering relocating their data
center in a new building, or in a specialized host. « It is often a
question of risk management and financial optimization which leads to Green ICT.
Anyway, it moves … « 
We need to consider and evaluate all business requirements to
assess the environmental impact (positive or negative) of the project. We need
to increase the maturity of Green IT in organizations, leaving the datacenter
to move towards real sustainable approach.
Full Article in French:
«En matière de Green IT, on reste trop dans l’opérationnel, pas dans la stratégie, encore moins dans la gouvernance».
Les entreprises et organisations sont à la peine. Elles envisagent le Green IT en termes d’infrastructures, mais rarement au-delà. Peu de vision, donc. En cause, sans doute le manque de contraintes. Sans réglementation, pas d’obligation! On se contente de parer au plus pressé et d’agir trop souvent uniquement au niveau du datacenter. 
N’empêche, tout n’est pas gris au pays vert: il y a des réflexions en cours. Aujourd’hui, nombre d’entreprises songent à relocaliser leur datacenters dans un bâtiment neuf, ou à l’héberger chez un prestataire spécialisé. «C’est très souvent une question de gestion des risques ou d’optimisation financière qui conduit au Green IT. Quoiqu’il en soit, ça bouge…» 
Mais il serait vain de réduire la réflexion au niveau du datacenter. Quid des serveurs? Quid des applications? «Partons des utilisateurs, des ressources nécessaires et remontons vers le datacenter. Indirectement, on fera la chasse aux applications obsolètes, aux fonctionnalités inutiles, aux données redondantes, aux serveurs fantômes et mal utilisés. Reconsidérons en même temps le stockage à travers l’archivage: plus de 50% des fichiers ne sont jamais utilisés! Bref, une véritable cartographie s’impose; elle donnera corps à un projet d’urbanisation.»
Cette approche est la seule viable, comme le montre le schéma ci-dessous:
En clair, il est nécessaire de prendre en compte et d’évaluer tous les éléments constituant les demande du business afin d’évaluer l’impact environnemental -positif ou négatif- du projet. Il faut augmenter la maturité du Green-IT au sein des organisations, quitter le datacenter pour évoluer vers une réelle approche durable comprenant cinq domaines.

A la clé, une série de «quick wins» qui généreront
un ROI immédiat, une maîtrise des émissions de CO2 et une anticipation des
problèmes ou risques à venir, ce qui renforcera l’image de l’entreprise et la
satisfaction de ses employés et clients.
Aujourd’hui, les décisions sont trop morcelées, prises
sur base des compétences des différentes directions, alors qu’un projet Green-IT
stratégique concernera et fédérera toute une organisation. 

Safer public e-services require citizens and businesses in Greece

The Observatory for Administrative
Reforming of Information Society S.A., analyzed and presented the results of a
study on the development of e-government services for the citizens and
businesses in Greece. In general, Greek people appear to be satisfied by the e-
public services, but they have also highlighted significant weaknesses that
need to be dealt immediately. The aim of the research conducted was a quantitative
approach of the benefits the end-users acquired from the existing online
services and their satisfaction level from the e- services provided. Click here to download the study (in Greek).

e-start of the school year: Backwardness?

e-books, iPads, Interactive whiteboards, serious games and other e-tools seem to guarantee us an e-start of the school year in France. Really? There are still several barriers:
– The teachers/professors: Many don’t want to use e-tools because of their lack of technical knowledge. Only one out of three French professors was using e-manuals!
– The editors: In 2004, the 4 main editors of school manuals fight each other to gain the market. They create proprietary formats mutually exclusive. In 2009, they understand that e-manuals have to be compatible and build the WizWiz portal where students can find e-manuals of more than 60 editors. They enter now in competition with e-editors and serious games developers.
– The Schools: e-tools such as iPad or Interactive Whiteboard are expensive for a school budget. They also have to take into account indirect costs such as technical support and electricity.
– The Politicians: In the midst of an economic crisis, they finance a wide range of equipment with little regard for the impact on school’s administrations.
The top4 of the fears of teachers about e-tools:
– Lack of maintenance: 32%
– Fear of a breakdown in the middle of his lesson: 27%
– Insufficient training: 24%
– Lack of knowledge about the e-tools: 17%
Source: L’Ordinateur Individuel, Sept. 2012, n°252, p.10-11

47% say their companies do not offer enough training to hone their employees’ language and communication skills

A recent study by The Economist « Competing across borders: how cultural and communication barriers affect business » reveals the importance of languages for businesses. Two-thirds of respondents say that differences in language and culture make it difficult to gain a foothold in unfamiliar markets.
Some 47% say their companies do not offer enough training to hone their employees’ language and communication skills, and 40% believe there is not enough emphasis placed on recruiting or selecting people who are suited to cross-cultural environments. Misunderstandings rooted in cultural differences present the greatest obstacle to productive cross-border collaboration
Interestingly, linguistic diversity – or the lack of it – is considered by some margin to be a greater business challenge in Latin America and southern Europe than elsewhere. For example, 38% of those surveyed in Brazil and 40% in Spain believe the difficulty in communicating in non-native languages to be a significant hindrance to effective cross-border relations.

6th BITKOM Annual Conference on Green IT taking place in Berlin

The 6th Annual Conference of the BITKOM will be hosted in cooperation with the German Federal Environment Ministry and the Federal Environmental Agency on the 26th September 2012 in Berlin. Its main focus will be on the subject: « Green-IT along the value chain ». 
For several years now, the term “Green IT” is associated with innovation and an obvious reduction of the energy consumption of ICT products. Although the energy consumption of products of the ICT sector is still one of the most important components in rating their environmental friendliness, for a holistic view additional aspects are of importance, too. 
The conference aims at identifying the role of Green IT today on every step of the value chain and to determine which challenges are still ahead for the sector. 
The venue will be Jerusalemkirche, Berlin-Mitte.

Launch of the « Education at a Glance 2012 » – OECD Indicators

On the 11th of September the new report « Education at Glance 2012 » (EaG 2012) was launched by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

The report presents a thorough analysis on the structures of the finances and the performances of educational systems in the 34 OECD member countries and key partner countries. The main focus of this year’s publication is: 
  • the effect of the economic crisis on education;
  • how education affect the economy and employment rates and
  • what are the incentives both for the society and individuals to invest in education.

More information about the « Education at Glance 2012 ».