On 29 March, EIF and MEPs Brando Benifei and Victor Negrescu hosted a debate to discuss the growing need for digital skills to participate in modern society.
In his opening remarks, MEP Brando Benifei stressed the importance of basic digital skills to participate in modern society. Investing resources in education and training will be key to creating a more innovative and cohesive society where no one is left behind.
Ilaria Cristiani, member of the council of the municipality of Pavia, presented a collaboration project between FacilityLive and her municipality. The project’s mission is to instill e-skills to students from an early age. The collaboration between public institutions and private can be fundamental to this end.
In terms of cultivating digital skills there a lot of emerging models of partnerships. Ilona Kish, Director of Public libraries, explained how libraries are currently working with CISCO in order to find ways they could deliver their online training programmes to hard to reach groups, such the unemployed or migrants.
Lucilla Sioli, Head of Unit "Knowledge Base" DG CONNECT European Commission, considered that we need to make sure society is equipped with the right skills, 37% of the European workforce does not possess basic digital skills. In her view, educational systems need to be modernised and universities need to become more flexible in order to adapt in a quicker manner to new education and training necessities.
Laurentiu Bunescu, CEO Telecentre-Europe, promoted the “Get Online Week” a campaign aimed at raising awareness of the importance of e-skills all across Europe. This year the campaign will focus on cybersecurity so people learn to use the internet safely, and on e-services and employability so the young and the unemployed improve their chances of finding a job acquiring sought after computer skills.
For MEP Victor Negrescu, digital skilling is a political issue that should be on the political agenda. In his opinion giving access to citizens is not enough, citizens need to be trained on how to use the internet but also on how to protect themselves from the threats of the web.
In this #EIFAsks video, MEPs Brando Benifei and Victor Negrescu, representatives of the European Commission, Public Libraries and Telecentre-Europe talk about how to develop digital skills in Europe.