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Coronavirus proved need for digital skills

Published : 29 Oct 2020, 01:20

  DF Report

Press Release Photo: Mostphotos.

Although most Finnish teachers are well versed in the basic digital skills, there is a need for further training, said a University of Helsinki press release quoting a survey report.

The coronavirus pandemic has pushed European countries to assess their digital needs and invest more in teaching the skills associated with digital literacy.

Last spring, the Europe-wide Youth Skills Programme surveyed the views of European education and labour market specialists on the digital skills of citizens and the development of those skills.

In many countries, the quality and effectiveness of measures aimed at improving digital skills are considered insufficient and the related offerings unequal.

There is great variance both between and within individual countries in the availability of the tools, resources, and education needed for acquiring digital skills.

The specialists, representing Finland, Estonia, Germany, Italy, Poland, and Portugal were interviewed in May 2020, when the coronavirus crisis had already had unparalleled effects in both Europe and elsewhere in the world.

Many of the interviewees believed that the crisis can serve as a wake-up call for governments to reassess their digital needs and invest more in education offered to all, thus providing a potential boost to digital literacy.

In Finland, the Youth Skills Project is coordinated by the University of Helsinki. It’s Professor of Education Katariina Salmela-Aro, the national project leader, considers it important that digital skills are taught in school. School should spark an interest in developing digital skills, and the development of teachers’ digital skills should be brought to the fore.

“At the same time, the significance of key socio-emotional skills is increasing in the digital environment. Grit, curiosity, resilience and cooperation skills are needed in the digital environment now more than ever,” said Salmela-Aro.

Salmela-Aro emphasises the necessity of digital skills for people to feel they are part of the society. These are skills that can be learned just as well by younger and older people, and the time for investing in them is now.

The report also included various recommendations targeted to different groups.