CESI Secretary General Klaus Heeger on an updated EU Digital Education Plan: Investment in digital education infrastructure needed, but face-to-face learning must remain the centre of education as much as possible

As part of a public consultation, CESI has issued key priorities for an updated EU Digital Education Action Plan, which the European Commission is set to publish later this year, incorporating the experiences of the COVID-19 pandemic.

CESI Secretary General Klaus Heeger said: “Consequences of Covid-19 for the education sector have indeed been particularly dramatic. Most teachers were neither equipped with mobile work devices nor work e-mail addresses and had to make use of their private devices.

Professional, functioning and efficient digital communication structures and platforms –between pupils and teachers, between headmasters and teachers, as well as among teachers themselves– had or have still to be set up. Moreover, concepts for digital teaching and learning were missing almost everywhere.”

In its statement, CESI consequently called for:

• boosted public investment in education to support digital infrastructure and connectivity and access to IT tools and internet for all students and teachers – as a basic and technical prerequisite for high-quality remote teaching and learning that may still be necessary in the foreseeable future in many places in Europe.

• guaranteed high-quality and inclusive training and lifelong learning for teachers and trainers in necessary digital skills, to be delivered during the working time

• constructive dialogue among all actors and stakeholders in the sector (schools, teachers, students, families, trade-unions) and systematic exchanges of best practices on how to better shape digital education, to the mutual benefit and advantage of all

Klaus Heeger added: “At the same time, face-to-face learning must remain at the centre as much as possible, as the ‘human factor’ in education is essential for effective and successful learning.”

CESI consequently also called for the development of digital learning and teaching tools and methods complementary to school-based and face-to-face learning as a key priority for an updated EU Digital Education Action Plan.

More information about the consultation is available on the European Commission’s website. CESI’s full consultation statement is available here.