Documents considered by the Committee on 28 March 2018 Contents

6Digital Education Action Plan

Committee’s assessment

Politically important

Committee’s decision

Cleared from scrutiny

Document details

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions on the Digital Education Action Plan

Legal base

Department

Education

Document Number

(39443), (5459/18), COM(18) 22

Summary and Committee’s conclusions

6.1The European Commission has adopted a Digital Education Action Plan.73 It follows European Council conclusions of 14 December 201774 which highlight the need to address the skills challenges linked to digitalisation, cybersecurity, media literacy and artificial intelligence.

6.2The Action Plan outlines a range of actions that the Commission will seek to implement, in partnership with Member States, stakeholders and society, by the end of 2020, organised into three priorities:

6.3More information about proposed actions is provided in the background section of this Report. Some of the more specific proposed actions include launching an online self-assessment tool for teachers, and providing a framework for issuing digitally-certified qualifications and validating digitally-acquired skills, which would be aligned with other EU regimes.

6.4The Action Plan will be implemented as part of the European cooperation in education and training (ET2020) process. ET 2020 is a forum for exchanges of best practices, mutual learning, gathering and dissemination of information and evidence of what works, as well as advice and support for policy reforms. Through it, the Commission will launch a dialogue with relevant stakeholders on how to implement the proposed actions.

6.5The Digital Education Action Plan is a non-legislative document which outlines the Commission’s vision as to how education and training systems can make better use of innovation and digital technology and support the development of relevant digital competences. Proposed actions will be taken forward through the existing European cooperation in education and training (ET2020) process.

6.6The Government is supportive of the Action Plan. The Minister of State for Apprenticeships and Skills (Anne Milton MP) observes that it is a non-legislative document and does not have any direct policy or financial implications for the UK. The Minister also observes that the Prime Minister supported the December 2017 European Council conclusions75 on this subject. The Minister also indicates her support for the Commission’s three priorities, and states that much of the Commission’s analysis is in line with the Government’s own thinking.

6.7The Minister states that the Government supports the need to improve gender diversity in the digital sector, and adds that the Government announced in the Autumn Budget that it would invest in improving the teaching of computing and seek to drive up participation in computer science qualifications, particularly among girls.

6.8In view of the limited policy and financial implications of this non-legislative document for the UK, both pre-and post-Brexit, we now clear the proposal from scrutiny.

Full details of the documents

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions on the Digital Education Action Plan: (39443), (5459/18), COM(18) 22.

The proposal76

6.9The Communication sets out the European Commission’s proposal for a Digital Education Action Plan. It follows the European Council conclusions of 14 December 2017 that highlight the need to address the skills challenges linked to digitalisation, cybersecurity, media literacy and artificial intelligence.

6.10The Action Plan outlines European initiatives that the European Commission, in partnership with Member States, stakeholders and society, will seek to implement by the end of 2020, as part of the European cooperation in education and training (ET2020) process. It has a specific focus on initial education and training systems and covers schools, vocational education and training (VET) and higher education.

6.11The Action Plan proposes three priorities:

Priority 1: Making better use of digital technology for teaching and learning

6.12Actions proposed under this heading include:

Priority 2: Developing relevant digital skills and competences for the digital transformation

6.13Proposed actions include:

Priority 3: Improving education systems through better data analysis and foresight

6.14Proposed actions include:

The Minister’s letter of 28 February 201877

6.15The Minister of State for Apprenticeships and Skills (Anne Milton) notes that this is an area where the EU has limited competence, as the EU’s role in education and culture is defined as supporting and supplementing Member States’ action at national and devolved level.

6.16In line with this, the Minister notes that Action Plan is not a proposal for legislation, but outlines action to be taken by the European Commission which will not have a direct impact on UK policy.

6.17She also notes that:

6.18The Minister notes that the proposal has no financial implications for the UK.

Previous Committee Reports

Eight Report HC 71–vi (2015–16) chapter 13 (13 July 2016).


73 Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions on the Digital Education Action Plan COM(2018) 22 final.

74 European Council meeting—Conclusions (14 December 2017).

75 European Council meeting—Conclusions (14 December 2017).

76 Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions on the Digital Education Action Plan COM(2018) 22 final.

77 Letter from the Minister, DFE, to the Chair of the European Scrutiny Committee (28 February 2018).

78 European Council meeting—Conclusions (14 December 2017).




3 April 2018