Brussels, 4th December 2020
European Parliament to vote on ECSWE proposals
On 25 February 2021, the CULT Committee votes on the future of digital education in Europe. ECSWE has lobbied for an age-appropriate approach .
On 30th September 2020 the EU’s new Digital Education Action Plan 2021–2027 (DEAP) was launched. We have actively participated in the public consultations calling policy-makers at EU and national level for an age-appropriate and development-oriented implementation of the plan. Our concerns were however not reflected in the European Commission’s text. We therefore call on policy makers to better reflect the developmental needs of children in the plan’s 7 year implementation-period.
What are the limitations of the plan? Our main concern is the narrow approach that exclusively focuses on “digital education”, leaving little room for holistic ICT and media curricula that integrate analogue and digital technologies in a coherent approach. We question the approach to encourage digital education from an early age, without a solid evidence-base pointing towards a positive effect of digital technology on learning outcomes and student well-being. The new EU-benchmark measuring the digital competence of 8th-graders will put more pressure on governments and schools to implement technology-based learning from an early age. We are therefore highly concerned that the plan further elevates already worrying levels of screen-time among kindergarten and primary school children.
While we share the goal of digital competence development for every learner, the Action Plan’s call for an early start greatly differs from the holistic and development-oriented approach to ICT and media education promoted by Steiner and Waldorf schools in Europe. Read more on our stand-points in the position paper below.
For this reason we are actively following both the further development and implementation of the DEAP at EU level. Recently, we have reached out to Members of the European Parliament suggesting changes to the Parliament’s Initiative report on shaping digital education policy that provides the Parliament’s reaction to the plan. The results have been promising so far. Our first analysis of the recently tabled amendments shows support on key issues across different political groups. Furthermore, on the invitation of ECSWE, S&D rapporteur Victor Negrescu has hosted a workshop on ICT and media education during this year’s Lifelong Learning Week in which he both publicly expressed his support for an age-appropriate approach and encouraged continued lobby efforts in this direction.
By signing and promoting the ELIANT petition for the right to screen-free daycare institutions, kindergartens and primary schools you are helping us to continue the constructive dialogue with decision-makers and keep this momentum until the crucial vote in the Parliament’s Education Committee in February and the Plenary in March 2021.
Note: This article was updated on 28 January 2021 to reflect the postponed votes in the CULT-Committee from 26 January to 25 February 2021.