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European Commission


Member of the European Commission responsible for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth

Access to education – anytime, anywhere and through any device

Press conference remarks - Education, Youth, Culture and Sport Council /Brussels

25 November 2013

Today Ministers were able to discuss our Opening up Education strategy for the first time. I am pleased to say that they strongly support the Commission's plans to help schools and universities deliver the digital skills which 90% of jobs will require by 2020.

We know that there is a great shortage of technology and technological skills in many education and training institutions today.

For example, more than 60% of 9 year olds do not have the digital equipment and fast broadband they need at school and fewer than 30% of children aged 10-15 are taught by "digitally confident" teachers with good access to ICT.

Universities also face serious challenges in this area. With the number of EU students set to rise significantly in the next decade, universities need to adapt traditional teaching methods and offer a mix of face-to-face and online learning possibilities. This gives greater urgency to MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses), which allow individuals to access education anywhere, anytime and through any device. But many universities are not ready for this change.

Opening up Education can play a central role in helping education and training systems to address these challenges.

Initiatives linked to Opening up Education will be funded with support from Erasmus+, the new EU programme for education, training, youth and sport, and Horizon 2020, the new research and innovation programme, as well as the EU structural funds.

For example, Erasmus+ will support teachers’ development through open online courses. All educational materials supported by Erasmus+ will be freely available to the public under open licences.

I am also very happy that the Council endorsed our Communication on European higher education in the world. The internationalisation of higher education benefits everyone. It improves the quality and competitiveness of European higher education and gives students, researchers and university staff the opportunity to study, train or work in another country.

I welcome the fact that Ministers of Youth will today adopt Conclusions on enhancing the social inclusion of young people who are not in employment, education or training.

Today 14 million people aged 15-29 are excluded from the labour market and education in Europe.

I strongly believe that youth work can help reduce early school leaving, prepare young people for the job market and that it is an effective way to reach out to young people at risk.

We will continue to support youth work and social inclusion for young people under the new Erasmus+ programme.

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