Developing Key Competences at School in Europe, Eurydice Report

« Better adapting European education and training systems to the  needs of our economy and modern society is at the centre of  education policy debate at both national and EU level. As we  work to overcome the effects of the economic and financial  crisis, the importance of skills for growth and prosperity has  been reaffirmed. »
This cross-country report has been produced in support of the European Commission’s Communication on Rethinking Education (European Commission 2012a). The main  objective of the report is to present the findings on some of the challenges that European countries face in the implementation of the key  competences approach, and to identify problem areas and common obstacles. Based on research evidence and national practices, the report will also outline a range of measures that have the potential to effectively address these challenges.

Digital Disruption, a project to improve young people’s critical digital judgement skills

Digital Disruption is a specialist education project that develops and distributes the tools and training to improve young people’s critical digital judgement skills. Digital judgement combines ‘traditional’ critical thinking skills, such as source verification, with ‘new’ knowledge about how the digital world works, such as understanding search engines and YouTube.
Digital judgement skills are especially important for young people. They both trust and use the Internet more than any other generation, but are not always savvy, critical consumers of online content. This is no surprise. The older generations, often knowing even less about the Internet, are not in a position to provide the leadership and teaching young people need. Formal education also struggles to fill this void, as teachers lack the training and materials to do so.
To face this problem, Digital Disruptiom create and supply the tools and training that young people need to be savvier through real engagement and co-creation with young people. Digital Disruption arms young people with the skills they need to engage with the Internet on their own terms.
The initiative also equip educators with the skills and resources they need, yet often lack, to effectively teach digital judgement in the classroom.

Visit the project website
Related news: In the Digital Age, Why are So Many Young People Confident, but Not Competent Internet Users? And What are the Implications?

European e-Skills Week stakeholders opening conference 19 March 2012, Brussels

The Stakeholders opening conference of the European e-Skills Week 2012 will take place on 19 March in Brussels, Belgium.  It will bring together all stakeholders – such as high-level public authorities, key industry representatives and research organisations – to discuss the current situation and needs of the e-Skilled workforce.

The event will feature a plenary session on e-Skills policy in practice, as well as panel debates on the topic of e-Skills with both young people and ICT professionals.

Venue:  European Economic and Social Committee (EESC)
Address: Jacques Delors Building, JDE 62 (6th floor), 99 rue Belliard, B-1040
Time:  19 March, 10.15 – 19.30
Click here to register

Roundtable Meeting in Norwich – 7 April 2011

In the context of the Pro Internet project, a Roundtable Meeting on the “Needs of the Internet Industry Making Offer and Demand meet in Training and Education” took place in Norwich on 7 April 2011.

Its main conclusions were:

  • The most exciting prospects for new job creation are in combining traditional skills and competences with internet-based skills and competences.
  • Managers in large and small organisations still need to become fully aware of the opportunities in using/implementing the internet in their relevant business/organisational processes.
  • Intensified collaboration between training institutions and prospective employers is necessary and should be facilitated by government.
  • A proper investigation into what is exactly meant by “soft skills” needs to be carried out.
  • Employers call for highly specialist and modular trainings. Training institutions should follow this call. Governments should facilitate the process with light rather than heavy-handed intervention.
  • An information exchange platform at European level as a best/good practice transfer mechanism and a means to provide comparability of approaches, methods, frameworks and outcomes is useful.
  • Attempts to develop a labelisation, certification and normalization activity at European level must be envisaged over the long-term and must secure the buy-in of national labelisation, certification and normalization processes.
  • Collaboration with e-Skills UK, the STEM Centre and the Hotsource network should be explored.

 The full summary can be downloaded here.

Roundtable meeting in Bilbao, Spain

GAIA and the Faculty of Engineering of Deusto University carried out a round table meeting in Bilbao, Spain, on March 30th, 2011. People from different sectors attended the meeting: Education, ICT, Energy, Consultants and Human Resources Managers.

The meeting had the valuable participation of one of the members of the expert group who prepared the report “New Skills for New Jobs: Action Now” for the European Commission, on February 2010, Professor Julia González, Vice-Rector for International Relations of Deusto Univerysity and General Coordinator of the Project Tuning Educational Structures in Europe.

Prof. González explained the importance of the policy initiative developed at EU level to build stronger bridges between the world of education and training and the world of work. After Prof. Gonzalez’s participation, Ligia Whyte, from GAIA presented the PIN Project, its background, and the e-Jobs-Observatory Platform.

Once the participants had a better picture of the current situation in Europe regarding education, training, e-skills, profiles and jobs, three round tables were integrated to discuss the topics.

Current situation:

From the point of view of the “Education Sector”, it is needed an investment in “competences” in a massive and intelligent way, there must be adequate incentives for individuals and employers. Employers: invest in their personnel; individuals: incentives for education and learning. It is important to make closer the worlds of education, training and employment, create the proper group of competences and establish educational programs based on profiles. It is important to anticipate necessities, and be open to talent, in this sense; it was also mentioned the value of talent from immigrants in Europe, which is most of the times underestimated in the labor market, it would be a great advantage for Europe to manage the talent flow in an adequate way instead of limiting it. Europe doesn´t have the enough and high level competences needed to guarantee the appropriate future that is looking for, and it is urgently to act immediately.

From the point of view of “companies”, the near future will demand the profiles related to “internet”, they consider what is not related to internet, “it doesn´t exist”. The profiles with a great demand will be the ones related to telecommunication and information services for other companies or individuals. The IT sector is moving fast towards the “cloud computing”.

This group considers that the future will be a mixture of two important issues: ICT and Health. The future will be the meeting point of all the different existing sectors involving/supported by ICT. For this group, it is everyday more important the development of skills and competences to fulfill the requirements of their job positions.

It was detected how important is for big companies the university degree for their job positions; meanwhile, SMEs are fine with qualification of people from VET institutions. What is agreed by both parties is that people have proper technical education, but there is a lack of soft skills, which should/must be improved.

Regarding the sectors, professions and jobs of the future, it was defined:

Ø Sectors: Energy, Health, Robotics and Information.

Ø Professions: The ones related to: Search Engine Optimization, Marketing specialized in Internet, Internet Security, e-Content Development, Copy/Internet Journalist, Social Community Manager

As mentioned previously, poor development of “soft skills” is one of the most important issues faced by companies. People should be more flexible, creative, able to adapt to constant changes and positive attitude.

It was also detected the growing necessity for companies that employees be able to work in multidisciplinary fields. As an example, it was mentioned how many times lawyers are not able to manage properly the basic ICT tools necessary for daily tasks. In the same way, how employees working in the field of e-content development don’t have the proper knowledge of law to avoid any legal inconvenience for the company.

Participants representing companies, considering the issue of “soft skills”, mentioned that a way of improving this situation, educational organizations should encourage their pupils to think in a global way, in order to be more flexible to changes, to adapt easier to them. Implementing team work, and also encourage them to get practices by their own, instead that schools find a place for their practices.

Conclusions:

Ø Europe doesn´t have proper and enough competences to guarantee a proper future; it is clear the importance and need to work and define competences.

Ø The sectors that will have more demand in the future will be: Energy, Health, Robotics and Information.

Ø The ICT sector is moving to the Cloud Computing.

Ø The professions for the future are the ones related to: Search Engine Optimization, Marketing specialized in Internet, Internet Security, e-Content Development, Copy/Internet Journalist, and Social Community Manager.

Ø The labor market needs people with strong soft skills and able to work in multidisciplinary fields.