With 60% of people reporting no experience with distance learning before COVID-19, developing and implementing the “Digital Education Action Plan” is a flagship priority of the current European Commission. Bearing in mind that 1 in 5 young people across the EU fails to reach a basic level of digital skills, and less than 40% of educators feel comfortable with digital technologies, how should the new Recommendation on Online and Distance Learning address issues of effectiveness and inclusivity?
CULT Action Plan
Motion for an Action Plan by the Committee on Culture and Education
Submitted by: Rana Aliosmanoglu (NL), Melanie Azetmüller (AT), Meri Bourhaleb (NL), Agnese Calcina (IT), Emilia Göbl (DE), Dhruv Maggon (SE), Harsh Mishra (NL), Mariana Sousa (PT), Tiemen Tolsma (NL), Mika van Uum (NL); Aarni Rantanen (Chairperson, FI)
The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed Member States to switch to a distance learning format. This is a pertinent issue at this moment, as there is a lack of resources and guidelines for actors in this area. These issues consequently result in safety and inclusivity shortcomings in education. What is more, educators and students might experience a lack of motivation and productivity and might also experience mental health complications in the long run.
The European Youth Parliament recommends taking the following actions on the
Individual and local level
- Invites schools to raise awareness about the importance of mental health within their educational curricula by:
- setting up a mental health support platform,
- creating an educational day for mental health awareness in schools;
- Urges schools to facilitate continued on site learning for students with difficult learning environments prioritising:
a. Individuals from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds,
b. Individuals from rural areas where there is a lack of internet infrastructure,
c. Individuals with learning difficulties
- Encourages schools to involve students in making important decisions regarding digital learning strategies;
- Requests Member States to create a network of medical professionals to consult in the creation of mental health support platforms for students;
- Proposes Member States to provide teachers with workshops, which will be held annually across all Member States, that shall include information on online interactive and non-interactive platforms;
- Further suggests the Member States recognise the European Digital Skills Certificate (EDSC) for attending digital upskilling courses, awarded for attending courses at least every two years;
- Calls upon Directorate-General for Education, Youth, Sport and Culture (DG EAC) of the European Commission to establish a regulatory body in cooperation with Member States’ Ministries of Education to investigate the privacy and security of any educational platforms;
- Suggests the European Commission to initiate an independent advisory council that would:
- review and certify voluntarily submitted educational curricula on their mental health awareness standards,
- certify appropriate socialising platforms for school use;
- Directs the European Commission to set up a Digital Learning Fund for Member States’ Ministries of Education, to provide digital tools for those in need.
The vision of this action plan is threefold. Firstly, tackling the current issues with online and distance learning by firstly ensuring that there is enough money for institutions to adequately support online distance learning. Secondly, raising the awareness of mental health problems whilst destigmatising receiving mental health support. Thirdly, stimulating Member States to adhere to a harmonised standard of distance learning. Ultimately, we aim to ensure that there is a safe network for students and teachers is in place which also meets the educational needs of students and teachers alike.