The EU Structured Dialogue on Digital Education and Skills was announced in October 2021 and is based on the priority of the European Commission and Member States to develop a digitally skilled workforce, digitally empowered citizens as well as a strong digital education system.
Because policy development is a key activity in planning for effective interventions for the betterment of society, this type of structured dialogue is an important best practice activity, and the EC is commended for embarking on it. Policy contributes to the formulation and refinement of policies related to digital skills development. This may involve creating frameworks to enhance digital literacy, designing educational curricula, and promoting lifelong learning opportunities. In this context, focussing on best practices, the sharing, through structured dialogues, of successful strategies in digital skills development can involve highlighting effective educational programs, industry partnerships, and innovative approaches to fostering digital literacy.
In general terms, the structured dialogues on digital education and skills seeks to address the following aspects of policy development.
Assessment and Analysis: Understand the current state of digital skills across various demographics, including assessing the existing skill gaps and identifying specific areas that require attention.
Stakeholder Collaboration: Facilitate collaboration among various stakeholders, including government bodies, educational institutions, industry representatives, and civil society, to collectively address digital skills challenges.
Resource Allocation: Identify and allocate resources, both financial and human, to initiatives that promote digital skills training and education. This could involve securing funding for educational programs, infrastructure development, and research in the field.
Inclusion and Diversity: Ensure that digital skills initiatives are inclusive and accessible to diverse populations. This includes addressing barriers to entry for underrepresented groups and promoting diversity in technology-related fields.
On 5 July, 2022, ICS Secretary General, Mary Cleary, participated in the Irish bilateral meeting of the ‘EU Structured Dialogue’.
Among the key points presented by ICS was the emphasis on digital literacy and that advanced digital skills cannot be achieved without a digitally literate population. Mary Cleary also stated that there must be a national work environment that attracts more people into the IT professional workspace. She also mentioned that we must make sure that the goal of having 20 million IT professionals by 2030 will translate into 20 million professional people who are working and operating at the highest levels of quality. Standards is a very important part of professionalism, and frameworks such as the European e-Competence Framework (e-CF) are helping to build strong professional practices that gives society the ability and the wish to trust the IT profession.