Call for Action on Digital Education and Digital Opportunity Scheme Launched at Educate to Create Conference in Bulgaria

European CommissionOn 19 and 20 April, CEPIS attended the Educate to Create conference in Sofia, Bulgaria. The conference was organised by the Bulgarian Presidency of the EU and the European Commission.

Throughout the two-day event, the digital skills gap and the lack of women in ICT dominated the discussions. The lack of skills for teachers, the lack of both basic and advanced digital skills and competences, the deficit of professionals across Europe, and the severe underrepresentation of women in digital – all of these subjects were discussed by major stakeholders from European institutions, academia, government, and the private sector. The European Commissioners, Tibor Navrascics and Mariya Gabriel, both reminded the attendees about some depressing statistics. 80 million Europeans lack basic digital skills, including 15% of young people; there are 350,000 unfilled digital jobs, only 20% of ICT graduates are women – the list was long.

Two countermeasures were showcased in the event: one was the Sofia Call for Action, where stakeholders committed to contribute to overcoming these challenges. The other was the European Commission’s Digital Opportunity Scheme, the initiative that will give more than 5,000 students internships in ICT professions relating to AI, cybersecurity, blockchain, machine learning, web design and others.