Brussels, 24 May 2000
Commission adopts "eLearning" to adapt our education and training systems to the knowledge economy and digital culture
At the Lisbon European Council on 23 and 24 March 2000, the Heads of State and Government set the Union the objective of becoming "the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-driven economy in the world". Europe which enjoys one of the highest levels of education and has the necessary investment capacity still lags far behind in the use of the new information and communication technologies. eLearning is designed to enable Europe to catch up by intensifying its efforts. It implements and extends into education and training the eEurope action plan, including in particular the guidelines for employment.
Announced last March (see IP/00/934) by Viviane Reding, Commissioner with responsibility for education and culture, the eLearning initiative which the Commission adopted today on the basis of her proposal, in agreement with Mr Liikanen and Ms Diamantopoulou, is designed to mobilise the educational and cultural communities and the economic and social players in Europe. It adds a European dimension to measures in progress or being prepared at local, regional and national levels. This Commission communication will be discussed at the forthcoming Council meeting of Education Ministers on 8 June. eLearning sets Europeans several types of objectives:
Objectives for infrastructures
Objectives for training people at all levels
Objectives in terms of educational content and networking of schools
The eLearning initiative, with clear and short deadlines, requires the Member States, the Council and the Commission to take measures in areas for which they are responsible. The Commission will produce a system for benchmarking action taken (in particular by means of progress reports) which will be submitted to the Education Council. It will back Member States' efforts: to support steps taken locally, the Commission will focus Community instruments and programmes on attainment of the shared goals. This mobilisation will be concentrated in three areas:
Existing programmes are currently being reshaped in order to make the initiative a success. A Commission staff paper will be presented in October 2000 setting out all the actions to be taken at Community level to implement the initiative. eLearning will also be included in the European Social Agenda to be adopted by the Nice European Council in December 2000. The Commission is planning to set up an eLearning Internet site to stimulate exchange of experience and to provide easy access to all methods linked with the new learning contexts which are emerging and constantly being improved.